THE REAL DEAL ON BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)
Posted on October 24 2019
By Steve Blechman
Over the last couple of years, I have been a big proponent of the essential amino acid leucine for activating the anabolic trigger of protein synthesis in muscle over branched-chain amino acid mixtures containing leucine, isoleucine and valine (BCAAs). Branched-chain amino acid mixtures (BCAAs) refer to three amino acids: leucine, valine and isoleucine. Over the years, the popularity of BCAA mixtures has grown with the false understanding that BCAAs alone are most effective for increasing the anabolic drive in muscle protein synthesis. The research has shown that taking pure leucine is more effective than the combination of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine). Research has also shown that leucine alone (not isoleucine and valine) is anabolic, and enhances protein synthesis (Journal of Physiology, 2013). Research has demonstrated that isoleucine and valine limit the effectiveness of leucine when taken together! Isoleucine and valine compete for absorption into the blood and into muscle cells. All three BCAAs share the active transport system. Research in humans has shown that taking BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, valine) together can decrease muscle protein synthesis. That’s why I recommend leucine by itself over BCAA mixtures because combining BCAAs might limit the stimulation of protein synthesis because of reduced uptake of leucine in the blood and in muscle cells. Leucine (5 grams) should be taken preferably post-workout 30-60 minutes before a post-workout meal to activate the anabolic trigger of protein synthesis. Research has shown that pure leucine is more anabolic than the same amount of leucine in food. A Japanese study published on October 18, 2018 in the journal Nutrients found that taking leucine supplements alone may be better for muscle protein synthesis and more anabolic than leucine from food! Japanese researchers found that blood levels of leucine were higher from pure, free leucine taken alone compared to the same amount of leucine in a meal. Increase in muscle protein synthesis is dependent on leucine concentration. Research has shown that leucine stimulates the anabolic effect of muscle protein on its own (Wilkinson et al., J Physiol 2013). The Nutrients study stated that, “based on these findings, it is presumed that compared to the intake of protein alone or free amino acids alone, the intake of dietary protein from mixed meals may result in a lower maximum plasma leucine concentration.” However, no study to date has investigated the changes in amino acid concentrations after the ingestion of mixed meals in comparison to those after the intake of a similar amount of free amino acids (Nutrients, October 2018). The post- workout meal will provide all the essential amino acids for optimal muscle protein synthesis.
A most recent review on branched-chain amino acid intake and muscle protein synthesis in humans was published September 2019 in the journal Einstein. This is a terrific updated review! The review acknowledges that, “leucine alone is able to induce a muscle protein synthesis response via activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTOR1), a vital cell growth regulator.” The review goes on to say that, 6.25 grams of whey protein enriched with 5 grams of pure leucine was able to sustain protein synthesis up to 4.5 hours, which is the same amount found in NEW AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN! Adding 3 grams each of isoleucine and valine to the 5 grams of leucine and 6.25 grams of whey protein hindered protein synthesis. Therefore, the addition of the other two BCAAs (valine and isoleucine) may have limited sustained muscle protein synthesis! To quote that study, “Potential reasons why the suboptimal whey protein dose containing 5g of leucine and high amounts of valine and isoleucine failed to sustain muscle protein synthesis were also investigated. It was argued that BCAA may compete for the same carrier in intestinal and muscle cells. Therefore, addition of the other two BCAA may have limited sustained muscle protein synthesis due to lower leucine uptake by cells, as suggested by lower blood and intracellular leucine levels in the first hour post-intake in participants receiving this treatment. Leucine apparently stimulates muscle protein synthesis after resistance physical exercise; however, as with other BCAA, the full range of EAA must be available in levels that will not promote competition for cell carriers or limit their action.”
AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN also contains vitamin D3, which enhances the anabolic effects of leucine. Research has shown that leucine combined with vitamin D3 can preserve muscle mass. Vitamin D3 is the most active form of vitamin D and can potentiate protein synthesis and the muscle-enhancing effects of leucine!
AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is an advanced, scientifically designed protein and amino acid drink based on the latest cutting-edge scientific research! As part of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet and exercise program (aerobic and resistance training), it can help enhance protein synthesis and muscle growth and preserve lean body mass when following a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Remember, a healthy weight loss is one that enhances reduction of body fat, enhances muscle growth and preserves lean body mass. Losing muscle mass during dieting can decrease one’s metabolic rate and result in burning fewer calories over a 24-hour period.
In conclusion, AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is a better whey to lose weight and preserve lean body mass during dieting. AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is more biologically active than ordinary whey protein because of the higher amounts of leucine and vitamin D3! Remember, a healthy weight loss is one that enhances reduction of body fat and preserves lean body mass during dieting.
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