Ask Joe - Difference Between BCAA & Amino Acids

Q: What is the difference between a BCAA formula and a regular Amino Acid formula?

A: This is a great question. A few days ago someone at the gym asked me about branched chains amino acids.  I have answered this question many times in the past; not very many people know or understand exactly what branched chained amino acids are.  They're much more commonly referred to as BCAA's.  Don't let the complicated name scare you.  Amino acids are simply small components of protein.  When we eat a protein, our body through the digestive process breaks down protein into smaller molecules known as amino acids.  This enables the body to absorb these nutrients in their smaller state into the bloodstream for thousands of uses within the body.

Branched chain amino acids consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are important to athletes and active individuals because they are stored in very high concentrations within muscle tissue. They are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle glycogen stores and even may help to prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.  Studies have shown that BCAA supplementation can increase nitrogen retention, which may minimize the loss of lean muscle tissue during dieting an intense training. Studies also show that BCAA supplementation may increase the amount of nitrogen stored within the muscle after training.  This may reduce recovery time and aid in the repair and growth of muscle tissue.

The Research and Development team at MMSN has just released a new formula called Max BCAA that includes Vitamins B 6, B 12 and the super mineral zinc.  This product and others are available at Max Muscle authorized retailers. There are many popular BCAA products on the market. Be discerning when shopping for a BCAA. Reputable manufacturers like AST and EAS have very good BCAA formulas as well.

As I mentioned last month, I am training hard and determined to be back in shape within the next four weeks.  I'm banking on the fact that my muscle memory has not been stricken with Alzheimer's disease. So far I'm very happy with my results although I was a little sick last week and didn't train as hard as I would have liked to.

Go ahead and train heavy & train hard, eat plenty of protein and take your BCAA tablets to make sure your body recovers as quickly as possible.