The pros and cons of BCAA

BCAAs Magical Supplement or Marketing Gimmick?


Buying supplements and integrating them into your training  program can be confusing and if not done right costly. With no true regulation of the products in the industry, it can be hard to look past the marketing. BCAA’s are often a simple addition to any training program. There are 20 amino acids, 9 are essential and of those 9, 3 are BCAA’s. Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine. It accounts for about 35% of muscle protein. Magical supplement or marketing gimmick … here are the pros and cons.The pros and cons of BCAA


  1. BCAAs are know to help in muscle mass gain. Leucine has been widely researched and has been found to stimulate protein synthesis. When combined with weight training, the two activate the muscle building pathway called mTORC1. Besides its ability to build, it also has the ability to increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis.
  2. Extra Energy! Don’t like using stimulants, BCAAs may be your solution. Besides aiding ATP use, Isoleucine is responsible for facilitating glucose uptake in cells, allowing for a quicker glycogen restoration and leucine is known for facilitating fat metabolism. BCAAs have been found to inhibit the onset of both central and peripheral fatigue during exercise, so you can go stronger for longer. BCAAs are used as an additional energy source during prolonged exercise. Even after your body has used its glycogen stores, you can pull power from BCAAs in your muscles.
  3. Hold off muscle breakdown.  Vegetarians, stand up. The Leucine amino acid, is very important in protein synthesis.If you are unable to get enough protein, adding BCAAs will help keep your body in an anabolic state or at least help keep you from a catabolic state.


  1. Sleeping problems. If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to think twice. BCAAs compete with tryptophan, you know the Thanksgiving sleep aid. However, there are some sources that say otherwise so test it for yourself.
  2.  Vitamin B depletion.  BCAAs need the presence of Vitamin B. That in mind, getting a quality Vitamin B (B6 is usually mentioned) supplement may help. Eating food that has a nice serving of B6 is also helpful, Turkey breast, grass fed beef, chicken, tuna, avocados, pistachios are all great sources.

Do we need BCAAs

BCAA are just three essential amino acids. Technically, any time a complete protein is being ingested, That is a serving of BCAAs. The people who benefit most from BCAAs are those who are on restrictive diets or vegetarians, workout in the morning but are unable to eat prior to.

BCAAs can be very effective and helpful but in specific situations. Though the use of BCAAs won’t hurt you (in most cases) it shouldn’t be on the list of supplements needed if money is an issue.


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Written By: Kirill Vaks

Fitness Specialist




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