The Natural Way to Enhance Lean, Sexy Muscle
Serious bodybuilders seem obsessed with what they put in their bodies. Anything that passes their lips has to pass muster first.
Early on, bodybuilders saw the benefits of a high-protein, low-carb diet. They also understood the link between DHEA and testosterone ahead of most of the world.
I’m not saying bodybuilders always get it right. But when they latch on to a supplement, it’s usually worth investigating.
Take branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), for instance. A lot of these guys (and gals) have taken supplemental BCAA’s for years. And it appears they may be on the right track.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein… and proteins are the basic building blocks of your body. But BCAA’s have a unique chemical structure that sets them apart from other amino acids.
Three of these BCAA’s are essential amino acids. That is, you need them to survive, but your body can’t make them. So you have to get them from your food. These 3 special BCAA’s are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
A number of studies have shown that BCAA’s can help inhibit muscle breakdown during exercise… and more.
For example, a Japanese team put volunteers through a series of tough exercises. The exercises focused on the big muscles in the legs – and were designed to tire the volunteers out and leave them feeling sore afterwards.
But when the volunteers took BCAA’s before the exercise, they didn’t feel as tired. And their muscles weren’t as sore later on, either.1
In another experiment, Scandinavian cyclists drank a mixture with BCAA’s or just a flavored drink during exercise. When they drank the BCAA’s, they felt 7% less physically tired… and 15% less mentally fatigued. They also performed better on a mental test after drinking the BCAA’s.2
A third experiment tested BCAA’s on long-distance runners. Swedish scientists gave some runners BCAA’s during an 18-mile race – and others a placebo. The BCAA group improved their scores on a test of mental sharpness after the race. The placebo group didn’t.
The same scientists tested BCAA’s in a marathon (26.2 miles). Runners who were already fast didn’t seem to benefit… but slower runners performed noticeably better.3
What researchers have found is that BCAA’s promote lower levels of muscle breakdown during exercise… and encourage your body to make more muscle proteins. They also appear to support the activity of key enzymes that trigger the process of building muscle.4
In other words, BCAA’s could help you hold on to the muscle you have… and even support the building of more lean muscle.
This could come in especially handy for one group… people having surgery.
After surgery, many people – especially mature adults – lose muscle mass because they can’t exercise. But several studies show that giving people BCAA’s during the recovery period can help them hold on lean muscle. In fact, in one trial, the people taking BCAA’s actually added a small amount of muscle during their recovery period!5
Anyone with liver problems or working to control their blood sugar should talk to their doctor before taking BCAA’s. Otherwise, they appear to be safe for most people.
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Shimomura Y, et al. Supplement: Branched-Chain Amino Acids in Exercise. J. Nutr. 136:529S-532S, February 2006.
2 E. Blomstrand , et al. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, Volume 159, Issue 1, pages 41–49, January 1997.
3 E. Blomstrand, et al. Administration of branched-chain amino acids during sustained exercise — effects on performance and on plasma concentration of some amino acids. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, Volume 63, Number 2, 83-88.
4 Blomstrand E, et al. Branched-Chain Amino Acids Activate Key Enzymes in Protein Synthesis after Physical Exercise. J. Nutr. 136:269S-273S, January 2006.
5 Freund H, et al. Infusion of the Branched Chain Amino Acids in Postoperative Patients: Anticatabolic Properties. Ann Surg. 1979 July; 190(1): 18–23.