BCAA Excellence

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

By Charles Poliquin


For over fifteen years, I have strongly recommended branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) for use while you train. These supplements can increase your lean body mass. I learned this trick a while ago from Drs. Serrano and Di Pasquale. I have used it with athletes who have difficulty increasing their mass.

How does it work? There could be a variety of reasons, namely:

  • Leucine is an important regulator of protein synthesis through reducing protein degradation in humans. Leucine is also very at sparing glucose as a fuel.
  • BCAAs promote protein synthesis in the fat-free body mass.
  • BCAA consumed during training raise both growth hormone and insulin at the same time, hence the increased anti-catabolism and anabolism.
  • The BCAAs, unlike the other amino acids, are used as a form of energy by muscle cells.
  • The study by Carli et al. (1992) showed that supplementing with branched chain amino acids prior to a workout not only prevents a decrease in post-workout testosterone levels, but actually allowed testosterone levels to increase following exercise.
  • BCAAs administration has an anti-catabolic effect by favouring a better testosterone/cortisol ratio.
  • BCAAs administration also reduces the exercise induced increase in the muscle concentration of tyrosine and phenylalanine, therefore indicating a decreased net rate of protein degradation during exercise.
  • There is a serious decrement in post workout soreness when you use BCAA during the training unit.
  • An Italian study on natural bodybuilders showed that 0.2 g of BCAA per kg of bodyweight 30 minutes before workout and 30 minutes after workouts lead to greater increases in lean body mass and strength in the bench press and squat.
  • BCAA decrease body fat (especially visceral fat, the fat that accumulates inside the abdomen and results in that beer gut look.
  • A group of researchers through three different studies demonstrated that BCAA supplementation might also improve exercise-induced declines in some aspects of mental functioning.
  • Prolonging endurance performance in the heat.
  • The prevention of muscle loss at high altitudes
  • One of the causes of fatigue during exercise is the enhanced conversion of the amino acid tryptophan in to 5-HTP, which makes you drowsy, and fatigued. As you may be aware, 5 HTP is sold a supplement to enhance sleep, particularly for the fibromyalgia market.

How much BCAA should you take?

I recommend taking 0.44 g per Kg of bodyweight. Take half of this dosage within 30 minutes before training. Take the other half right after training.

For example, if you weigh 90 kilograms (198 lbs), take 40 grams of branch chain amino acids. If you are on a restricted budget, use at least 20 grams. Otherwise, don’t bother. Using this type of dosage, it is not uncommon for some of my clients to gain 9 lbs of lean body mass in just 3 weeks using this protocol.

Some people have recommend taking BCAA during traditional sleeping hours, waking during the night to take some tablets. In this case, the rationale is that a greater anabolic state will be created. That idea is completely worthless. Sleep should not be interrupted no matter what! As soon as you wake up for more than three seconds, you suppress completely the production of melatonin, the restorative, anti-aging hormone.

BCAAs are best used as an « intra-workout » workout supplement.

Why is BCAA Excellence superior?

It contains the exact ratio of 4 Leucine to 1 isoleucine and 1 valine that exercises physiologists recommend for promoting exercise recovery and anabolism.

Leucine has to be the primary BCAA because it:

  • Modulates insulin signaling
  • Regulates muscle protein translation initiation
  • Donates nitrogen for alanine and glutamine
  • Prevents free tryptophan in plasma from having a downer effect on the brain and CNS.
  • Is easy to digest capsules not tablets
  • It has no fillers, just straight amino acids (750 mg per capsule)!
  • It offers 500 capsules of 750 mg for just $51.75.
    • That works to 4 dollars per 40 grams of servings.That's cheaper than most Varsol-processed protein drinks sold at your local gym


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