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Amino Acids (BCAA's) and your Workouts

Posted May 28 2008 8:01am

powderFirst off, lets talk about what BCAA’s are:

The idea behind BCAA supplementation relates to an occurence known as central fatigue, which holds that mental fatigue in the brain can adversely affect physical performance in endurance events. This central fatigue theory suggests that low blood levels of Branched Chain Amino Acids may accelerate the production of serotonin, which is a key neurotransmitter in the brain, and prematurely lead to fatigue.

Increases in serotonin levels in the brain may supress the central nervous system function and lead to sleepiness and fatigue. The amino acid tryptophan that circulates in the blood, is a precursor of serotonin, and can be more easily transported into the brain to increase levels of seratonin when BCAA levels in the blood are low (because high blood levels of BCAA can block tryptophan transport into the brain).

During exercise, as muscle and liver glycogen levels are depleted for energy, blood levels of Branched Chain Amino Acids may also decrease and fatty acid levels increase to serve as an additional energy source. The problem with these extra fatty acids in the blood is that they need to attach to a carrier protein called albumin for correct transport. Wjen this happens, the fatty acids displace tryptophan from its place on albumin and allow the transport of tryptophan into the brain for conversion into serotonin.

Therefore, the combination of reduced BCAA and elevated fatty acids in the blood, more tryptophan enters the brain and more serotonin is produced, leading to fatigue. Supplementing the diet with additional levels of BCAA is thought to block the tryptophan transport and, therefore, delay fatigue.

Source: <>

The eight essential amino acids include:










My husband is training for a marathon and has had some problems with very fatigued muscles. I told him that he needs to be taking amino acids before AND after his runs to keep his body from breaking down. He has just started using it, so I do think he will notice a huge difference.

I too use amino acids before AND after my workouts. I notice a lot less sore muscles and my recovery time is much quicker. I also use it to help keep the muscle growth that I have worked so hard for.

I use Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder before my workouts and it does contain amino acids. It says to have “5 grams of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) in each scoop.” The recommended dosage is 5-20 grams per day (tablets/capsules) in throughout the day or during exercise when added to a carbohydrate drink. Concentration of BCCAs should be 1 to 7 grams of BCAA per liter of fluid. When I take my Prograde Workout after my workouts, I just add my own BCAA’s. So far they have done wonders for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What supplements do you use when it comes to your workouts?

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