Going Vegan with Your BCCAs (even if you’re not vegan)
A report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that athletes and fitness enthusiasts who exercised at the gym regularly used supplements with amino acids. In a report entitled, “Is Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplementation an Efficient Nutritional Strategy to Alleviate Skeletal Muscle Damage? A Systematic Review” the NCBI says, “Branched chain amino acids (BCCAs) – i.e., leucine, isoleucine, and valine – account for almost 50% of the essential amino acids in food and 35% of the total content of essential amino acids in muscle proteins”.
The ingredients used in producing supplements with BCCAs are considered unfit for consumption by vegans. With a steadily growing population of vegans, the need for a natural BCAA powder became urgent. Fortunately, the Vegan BCAA powder that is now available in the market caters to their need.
What are BCAAs?
Muscle protein is comprised of twenty amino acids. BCCAs are three of the nine Essential Amino Acids (EAA). They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These essential amino acids are not produced by the body but are obtained only from the diet or from supplements. BCCAs have a unique capacity to stimulate the synthesis of muscle protein. Natural BCAA powder, BCAA without artificial sweeteners, and vegan BCAA are available now.
What are the benefits of BCAAs?
Here are the most popular health benefits of BCAAs. The benefits remain the same for vegan BCAA, natural BCAA powder, and BCAA without artificial sweeteners.
- Help building muscle
One of the most prominent reasons for athletes and the health-conscious to consume natural BCAAs or vegan BCAAs after their workout is for increasing muscle protein synthesis. But BCAAs need the other EAAs in order to give maximum result.
- Manage exercise fatigue
Rigorous exercise causes exhaustion and fatigue but it happens at different times for different people. Intensity of the workout, its duration, fitness level, and nutrition intake will determine how soon you tire. BCAAs can help reduce the fatigue you experience by giving you a boost of energy.
- Reduce soreness of muscle
The most widely-discussed topic post-workout is about muscle soreness. This is also called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which usually lasts for three days. BCAA can decrease break down of protein and also decrease muscle damage.
- Stop muscle wasting
Muscle proteins in our body are continuously broken down and then synthesized. If protein breakdown is more than its synthesis (or break down), muscle wasting occurs. Use of natural BCAA powder or vegan BCAA prevents muscle protein break down hence reducing muscle wasting.
- Improve health of people with liver diseases
Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease. It has been observed that use of natural BCAA supplements can benefit those suffering from this condition. BCAA supplements can also protect them from liver cancer.
When should you consume BCAA supplements?
Timing and dosage of BCAAs matters. Keep the dosage at 5-10 grams. It is critical to take the BCAAs around the time for workouts. Add natural BCAA powder, vegan BCAA, or BCAA without artificial sweetener to your post-workout as well as pre-workout shakes for maximum result. If you aim to build mass, take a dose of BCAA first thing when you are up. This will stop the muscle breakdown process that turned on when you went to sleep. You can also have a dose of BCAA any time you need a boost of energy.
What are dietary sources of BCAAs?
There are several whole protein food sources to obtain BCAAs such as: soy protein, eggs, whey, milk proteins, brown rice, baked beans, Brazil nuts, whole wheat, beef, fish, chicken, almonds, cashew nuts, lima beans, lentils, corn, and chick peas. Since BCAAs are not produced by the human body, these dietary sources are very important to fitness and exercise recovery.
My BCAA powder is sourced from what!!!
Most BCAAs available in the market are found to have animal fur, feather or human hair in them. This is because manufacturers need the keratin found in these sources to synthesize BCAA amino acids. Vegans cannot use such products and were at a disadvantage when it came to consuming BCAA supplements. But there are many vegan BCAAs and natural BCAA powders available now. These vegan BCAA supplements are formulated to build lean muscle, boost energy level, and recover fast with potent vegan ingredients. If you choose to use a plant-sourced amino acid supplement be sure to look fo the following features:
- Sourced from Non-GMO plants
- If the source of BCAAs is not non-GMO then you could inadvertantly be supporting the use of glyphosate (GMO crops are often modified to be resistant to glyphosate). Leading to the proliferation of this herbicide into the food chain.
- Low heavy metals verified
- Plant-based supplements can often be high in heavy metals beacuse they extract heavy metals from the soil. Make sure your supplements are tested and verified for low heavy metals. High heavy metals in nutritional supplements is far more common than people realize and could turn your supplement toxic.
- Free of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners
- Artificial Sweeteners such as Acesulfame Potassium can be a source of carcinogens like Methylene Chloride....yes the same carcinogen found in paint thinner. It can be introduced during the chemical process used to make the sweetener.
About the Author
Joanne Tull, former Fitness America, Fitness Canada and Fitness Universe finalist. Joanne is a Co-Founder of Nutrology, the naturally based sports nutrition company that has innovated clean label nutritional products used by thousands of athletes, including elites in the NFL, MLB, NHL and Professional Boxing. Having appeared on ESPN, Fox Sports and TSN after finishing a storied athletic career as a state champion, collegiate and national level gymnast. Joanne’s common sense approach to nutrition will educate and motivate people on how to live a healthy lifestyle while balancing career, kids and fitness goals.