Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) have side-chains with a branch and are part of the nine essential amino acids. There are three BCAAs – leucine, isoleucine and valine.
The supplement industry shows great love for BCAAs because they play an important role in muscle construction and have to come from an external source – two great reasons to make BCAA supplements and sell them to the boys fighting gravity. Cool, until you learn that animal protein is full of BCAAs anyway. 80-100 grams of meat, fish or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese contain about 1.7 grams of leucine, 1 gram of isoleucine and 1 gram of valine.
If you are eating foods high in protein, you don’t have to buy BCAA supplements. Furthermore, most supplement addicts are already taking whey protein which also contains plenty of BCAAs. This further negates the need to take BCAAs.
The fitness industry is pretty smart. The supplement lords try to isolate everything that supposedly builds muscle mass and sell it. If they could, they would sell each amino acid separately.
Life Before BCAAs
Natural and unnatural bodybuilding would remain absolutely the same even if all BCAA supplements disappear from the planet. Their impact on the muscle game is close to zero.
1. Professional bodybuilders don’t rely on BCAAs to build their powerful physiques. If anything, professionals laugh at BCAAs.
2. BCAAs are simply isolated amino acids found in food. Therefore, they are as effective as food at best and cannot produce steroid-like results.