Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is one of the 'must take' supplements for building muscle. The three proteinogenic BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids required by mammals. Among the proteinogenic amino acids, there are three BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. It is therefore hardly a surprise to hear that the BCAAs are vital for optimal muscle growth, endurance and the reduction in muscle soreness.
It has been well documented that exercise-induced muscle damage decreases muscle function and causes soreness and discomfort. BCAA supplementation has been shown to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle protein breakdown.
Supplementing with BCAAs prevents a serum decline in BCAAs, which occurs during exercise. A serum decline would normally cause a tryptophan influx into the brain, followed by serotonin production, which causes fatigue. BCAAs also help to reduce the muscle soreness and damage that occurs after intense exercise. BCAA also boosts muscle growth via numerous growth pathways. Thus consuming a standard dose of BCAAs before and after exercise is virtually essential for optimal muscle growth and performance. If you exercise longer than one hour, consider pausing for a BCAA drink during your workout.