furthermorefrom-Equinoxarrowblackblack-2arrowindicator-arrowsearch-iconfacebook-icontwitter-iconpinterest-iconinstagram-iconemailclose-iconquote-iconfurthermore-logofromEquinoxfrom-Equinox-1micplay

Daily wisdom: Take BCAAs with protein

The supplement is more effective with all nine essential amino acids.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, and health stories.

TODAY'S TOPIC: THE RIGHT WAY TO SUPPLEMENT FOR GAINING MUSCLE

THE SCIENCE

According to a recent studypublished in Frontiers in Physiology, BCAAs (branched chain amino acids that are sold widely as a dietary supplement for building muscle) activate cellular pathways to increase muscle-building when taken right after a workout. However, they were 50 percent more effective when taken with a complete protein such as whey or casein.

EXPERT INSIGHT

“BCAAs (leucine, valine, and isolucine) are three of the nine essential amino acids that the body needs daily from food, since they cannot be synthesized from other amino acids,” explains Kristen Ziesmer, MS, R.D., a sports dietitian and owner of Elite Nutrition and Performance in Columbia, South Carolina. “Leucine in particular has been largely studied as the primary amino acid responsible for muscle growth, and is also found in large quantities in dairy, specifically whey protein.” Still, there are six amino acids missing in the BCAAs, which is why combining them with a complete source of protein, such as whey, enhances their effectiveness. Ziesmer adds that athletes shouldn't overlook carbohydrates, though. They work with protein to further muscle-building and fat loss following a hard workout.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you're getting your protein quota throughout the day and want to supplement with some extra BCAAs, it may help you reach your goals faster, especially when combined with a complete protein (i.e. a whey shake) and some carbs.