Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are a beneficial supplement for anyone trying to build muscle and speed up recovery. Since they can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, they provide rapid support for our muscles – an essential for anyone living an active lifestyle, not just bodybuilders or extreme endurance athletes.
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What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are most commonly referred to as the “building blocks of protein.” In addition to helping protect muscles by promoting lean growth and repair, they also assist in reducing muscle soreness.
There are 20 different amino acids in the body, 9 essential and 11 non-essential. Non-essential amino acids are produced by the body and therefore do not need to be consumed through our diet. Essential amino acids however, must be found in food because they cannot be produced by the body.
11 Non-Essential Amino Acids:
9 Essential Amino Acids
Though all BCAAs are necessary for muscle protection, the three highlighted above (isoleucine, leucine + valine) are crucial for maintenance, healing and recovery. Together, they make up 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscles. 
Let’s take a look at these three BCAAs a little closer:
Isoleucine: Known for its ability to help heal muscle and increase endurance, it is broken down for energy within the muscle tissue and helps regulate blood sugar.
Leucine: The most effective BCAA for preventing muscle loss. It is quickly broken down and converted to glucose which prevents the body from consuming muscle as energy during workouts. It is also the primary amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis post-exercise recovery. 
Valine: Similarly, it helps in the prevention of muscle breakdown by supplying extra glucose during workouts. It also assists in the removal of excess nitrogen from the liver and transports it to other tissues in the body as needed. 
Main Advantages of Taking a BCAA Supplement
It’s true, you can get your required amount of BCAA through your diet. But for those who find they are getting fatigued during workouts or are sore for days following, it may be worth a try!
Especially if your goal is to reduce body fat and gain lean muscle, you will benefit by taking a BCAA supplement. Your body starts to interfere when fat percentages begin to get low (aka dieting) because it goes into “survival mode.” This causes muscle catabolism; basically, the body begins to break down muscle to convert into an energy source as a way to store fat. By taking supplements, you can help direct your body into burning just fat without the loss of that hard-earned muscle!
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