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Amino Acids & BCAA
WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS?
Amino acids are organic molecules that combine to form proteins. In order for your body to make protein, it requires 20 different amino acids—nine of which it has to get from what you eat or supplements you take.
We use amino acids to make proteins, which helps the body:
- Break down food
- Repair body tissue
- Perform many other bodily functions
- As a source of energy by the body
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
- Essential amino acids
- Nonessential amino acids
- Conditional amino acids
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
NONESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Nonessential means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we do not get it from the food we eat. Nonessential amino acids include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress.
Conditional amino acids include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
You do not need to eat essential and nonessential amino acids at every meal, but getting a balance of them over the whole day is essential.
Among those nine essential amino acids, three are termed “branch-chain” amino acids because of their specific chemical structure.
WHAT ARE BRANCH-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA'S)?
Branched-Chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine, found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. They have protein anabolic properties. These amino acids are grouped together because they are the only three amino acid to have a chain that branches off to one side.
BCAAs are considered essential because your body is unable to make them itself. Therefore, it is essential to get them from your diet or supplements.
WHAT DO BCAA'S DO?
BCAA supplements are commonly taken to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. They stimulate the building of protein in muscle and help reduce muscle breakdown.
WHAT ARE BCAA BENEFITS?
BCAA supplementation has been thought to support anabolic pathways, they can help build muscle proteins, reduce muscle weakness & soreness, help support regular blood sugar levels, promote good liver health, reduce fatigue during exercise, encourage wound healing, and stimulate insulin production.
WHAT ARE BCAA'S SIDE EFFECTS?
As BCAA's are natural compounds, therefore they are predominantly quite safe to take. However, they are not recommended for people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) ( or also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), women who are or may be pregnant and/or breast-feeding, chronic alcoholism, children and those undergoing surgery should stop taking before and after for at least 2 weeks.
WHEN TO TAKE BCAA'S?
The best time to take BCAA is either before and/or after your workout. Commonly when working out regularly, people take them in the morning with breakfast or close to their workout and then before bed to make the most of the repairing process as they sleep.
HOW MUCH BCAA TO TAKE?
Women: A minimum of 9 grams of BCAAs per day
Men: A minimum of 12 grams of BCAAs per day
Athletes, Bodybuilders and Powerlifters may benefit from supplements with 10–20 grams of BCAAs per day.