How BCAAs Can Have you Building Lean Muscle Mass when You’re NOT Resistance Training.

Why is this cool? Well, in order to understand why a BCAAs are cool, you have to know a little about protein. We are made up of about 16% protein. That is a large percentage. We need protein in large amounts to stay alive. That is why protein is called a macronutrient.

Proteins activate most of the chemical reactions in your cells. They provide structure to your bodily workings and they help bind cells together into tissues (i.e. growing a new body and brain). A lot of our body is made of tissues.

Protein is made up of Amino Acids.

Amino acids (AAs) are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 total. 9 of them are essential (we must eat them in our diet) the rest are non-essential (we can make them with our bodies) ((so long as we are not nutrient deficient)).

BCAAs are made of 3 essential amino acids:

  • L-Leucine
  • L-Isoleucine
  • L-Valine

These 3 are especially special because, unlike the other essential AAs, they skip breakdown in the liver and go straight to work in your skeletal muscles, fat tissue and brain.

BCAAs make up about 35-40% of all of the essential amino acids in your body and 14-18% of the amino acids found in your muscles.

BCAAs are the key signal molecules that regulate pancreatic insulin[1] (a fat storage hormone) and protein synthesis.

BCAAs play a key role in protein synthesis, production of neurotransmitters and food intake regulation!!! 🙂

BCAAs are essential building blocks of protein. Proteins have many different faces and jobs. Some are responsible for movement, some proteins transport information from the outside of your cells, to the inside of your cells. Some proteins (called antibodies) protect you from disease, and some proteins actively fight viruses that have made it past your immune system and antibodies. Many of your hormones are proteins, and last but not least, proteins control your gene expression!

Who doesn’t want better gene expression?

4 Benefits of BCAAs

From left to right: Blood Cells, Fat Cells, Brain Cells. They all use BCAAs to form tissue and help the brain & body communicate
  1. They enhance muscle building and recovery
  2. They help with Sarcopenia (a loss of muscle tissue due to aging) by facilitating muscle maintenance
  3. The reduce muscle catabolism (eating itself), which helps a lot if you have just had a surgery, or if you are recovering from major trauma (mental/ emotional trauma included).[7][4]
  4. It can help with Cachexia (a weakening of the muscles do to chronic illness) by reducing the amount of muscle that is wasting away.

What Exactly Do BCAAs Do?

From left to right: Bone tissue, organ protecting tissue, fat storage tissue, skeletal muscle tissue, Outer skin tissue
  • BCAAs go straight to work in your body. They bypass the liver and head straight to where they are needed.
  • Leucine can go to work straight away in the brain. We know that leucine can signal to the body to not eat as much [5]. And this could be because the brain perceives that there is adequate protein in your system.
  • Both leucine and isoleucine supplementation improves the quality of life related to physical functioning, most likely by restoring energy generation and strength [6].
  • Isoleucine is shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which is very necessary for a happy healthy life [6].
  • Valine can help with insulin regulation and bringing more oxygen to the brain [8].
  • BCAAs stimulate lean muscle synthesis even in the absence of resistance training, making them an effective raw material for lean tissue maintenance in athletes as well as populations who are unable to exercise, but are at risk for muscle loss.
  • They can Increase energy, strength and power.
  • If you break it down, 1/3 of muscle tissue is comprised of BCAAs. Branch chain amino acids, so if you supply your body with what it needs to operate optimally, you will be feeling a lot better.

Why am I taking them?

I am taking BCAAs because I want to be a woke ass lady.

In order to become woke and stay woke, I have been doing a lot of brain exercises. I have been creating new beliefs, which create new neural pathways and I want those pathways to be built faster than normal and stronger than normal.

When your brain cells are communicating effectively and rapidly, your thoughts will be clearer, you will have more mental energy and you will be in a better mood.

So, the brain has to communicate properly with itself in order to build, it needs to be able to transmit information from nerve cells to glial cells. It does this via a neurotransmitter called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).

BCAAs play an essential role in the production of ATP. ATP is the basic fuel for our cells. If our bodies are not constantly making ATP, then we are dead.

One of the reasons the brain slows down as we age is because of insufficient ATP.

After going to 40 Years of Zen, a neurofeedback center that helped me to rewire and literally grow a new brain, they recommend taking 20 different supplements for the month following.

BCAAs were on that list and I’m sure it has something to do with needing extra cell energy after such an intense brain workout.

How and When to Take Them:

In the middle of your workout hold them way above your face and pour them all over yourself.

When to take BCAAs:

  • BCAA Powder can be taken before, during or after a workout for muscle building and repair.
  • If you are going to be working out for more than an hour sip on some BCAAs to keep your energy up.
  • If you are recovering from an physical injury take BCAAs to help heal your body.
  • If you are recovering from mental trauma take BCAAs to give you the mental clarity and better mood to help you get through this hard time.
  • When you are creating new habits, and belief systems take BCAAs to more quickly build neural pathways. [2]
  • If you can’t exercise and want to limit muscle loss, take BCAAs
  • if you are working on increasing muscle mass, take BCAAs

How to Take BCAAs:

  • Consider adding BCAA Powder to a protein drink or smoothie. This will help with even more protein synthesis.
  • I like to mix it into my water and take it to the gym or sauna and sip on it while I sweat.
  • Make sure to get BCAAs with No artificial ingredients, and no dyes. There are a lot of companies out there that add that crap to your BCAAs and you don’t want that.
  • Look for these 3 essential branched-chain amino acids:
    • L-Leucine
    • L-Isoleucine
    • L-Valine
  • found in dairy products and red meat, can be found in the protein of plant foods as well. Make sure you are getting high quality Dairy and meats.
  • Make sure the supplement that you are taking has third party testing. This ensures you are getting what you pay for and not ingesting ground up house plants. I look for the “GMP” (good manufacturing procedures), seal of approval.

My Intention for You:

I want you to know how your body works and how you can feel better. I want you to grown into old age with a functioning body and mind.

I want you to be empowered.

Co-create a supplement regimen with me…

All this information can be daunting and overwhelming. If you would like to meet with me and create a supplement regimen together that is designed to get you to where you want to go, Go here —> https://freetolovefood.com/single-sessions-and-workshops/, and schedule a “One Time Menu Creation, Meal Prep and Coaching” session. These include a personalized supplement regimen.

As always…

I love you and I am honored that you are here,

Jessica Ray


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059578/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378292/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28417264/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985239/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121631/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044187/
  7. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4939-1914-7_23
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/39973/

Published by Jessica CTNC

I am a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC). I guide women through the wonderful world of transformational science, psychology and spirituality. I remind them of how to love their bodies and love their food so that they can stop yo-yo dieting, live life on purpose, have more energy and inspire those around them to do the same.

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