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BCAA: Benefits & Side Effects


BCAA supplements: should you use them?

When your aim is to build muscle, you should keep your protein levels high and aim to keep your body in an anabolic state. However, if you are following a calorie-deficit diet, your body can enter a catabolic state, which means over time your body could start to break down muscle protein for fuel. The use of BCAAs supplements can support your workout. Here, we look at some of the benefits and side effects of supplementing BCAAs into your routine:

BCAA benefits

You can get BCAA supplements in two forms: capsules and BCAA powder. They are generally best supplemented before, during and after your workout – however, you can also supplement them before bed on a night and first thing when you wake up to help boost essential amino acids in the body. Here, we look at some of the main benefits:

  • Your body can’t produce leucine, isoleucine and valine itself. Supplementing BCAAs into your regime provides your body with additional essential amino acids.
  • BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. Your body requires protein for an energy source.

BCAA side-effects

Generally speaking, BCAAs are safe to supplement into your routine. However, you should follow the product guidance on the labelling – and for vegans and vegetarians, you should check the ingredients. We recommend that you follow guidelines to suit your fitness levels and lifestyle, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is difficult to provide an exact dosage that is suitable for everyone; research suggests 0.03-0.05g/kg body weight per hour or 2-4g per hour during exercise and post workout. BCAAs can be taken up to 3 times a day depending on the serving size and concentration (so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions). The powder can be mixed with water, a cordial or sports drink for use during a workout. Tablets are usually swallowed whole with water. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not exceed the recommended daily dose.