Kat Hoyle Updated by Kat Hoyle

Amino acids are often known as the ‘building blocks of protein’ which, as I’m sure you already know, is a very important asset to our health and fitness.

Some of the amino acids we need are considered to be ‘essential’, which means that we have to get them from our diet, and can’t make them ourselves. Branched Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs) make up three of the nine essential amino acids. They are so called because they are the only amino acids with a branched molecular structure, and they assist the body with some very particular functions. 

The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine, and they are especially effective for muscle growth, repair and managing weight loss. They also perform several functions such as improving our capacity to heal wounds and reducing our post-workout fatigue by reducing the amount of serotonin produced in the brain. 

Branched Chain Amino Acids represent 14 - 18% of the amino acid presence found in our muscles, and up to 40% of the overall total of essential amino acids found in the body. Unlike most amino acids, which are broken down by our livers, BCAAs are broken down directly into the muscle, which is what makes them so effective in muscle protein synthesis and the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). 

The breakdown of BCAAs directly into the muscle is also thought to give an energy boost if used during a workout. That’s why Vivo Life’s Intra-Workout contains 4g of BCAAs per serving. 

BCAAs are associated with reduced levels of fatigue, both mentally and physically, in conjunction with exercise. Having higher levels of BCAAs before and during a workout can keep you moving for longer, and speed up recovery time.

Many people who use protein powders for muscle gains look for products which specifically contain BCAAs, as they are linked to increased muscle growth. Vivo Life’s PERFORM protein powder contains 6g of BCAAs per serving for increased muscle protein synthesis and enhanced performance. 

Supplements containing leucine are thought to be the best at stimulating the enzymes responsible for muscle growth. Aside from supplements, there are a number of whole foods such as hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds, which contain higher levels of leucine for a boost. 

Protein powders containing BCAAs can help to improve performance and reduce muscle damage during and after a workout. Coupled with a good diet and a workout, BCAAs can improve your fitness and recovery time - so what’s not to love!

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