T Nation

BCAA and Creatine Confusion


#1

Pretty newb question here, but I’m thinking of starting creatine and BCAA. Would I be right to just mix 5g or each with water, and drink that just before and during my workout, and then another 5g of each after?

Also, can one train on just BCAAs? Ive heard they reduce catabolism, and just having to drink some chemical tasting liquid would let me sleeo a bit more (I train early mornings).


#2

TLDR. Creatine proven & cheap. Try it out for a while. BCAAs waste of time and money. Try Caffeine and Carbs.

Creatine has plenty of research backing it up. Might make a small difference. Dirt cheap anyways so may as well. Think 5g per day if you aren’t an incredibly large person.

BCAAs are all hype to get your money. Anticatabolic effects are likely to be too small to give noticeable results. Probably better to drink and cup of coffee pre workout and some fast digesting sugars e.g. gatorade to maximise performance. Carbs in the form of stored muscle glycogen is the body’s go to source of fuel for high intensity activity and if this is depleted and the levels in your blood are not there to restore it you can be damn sure your body will take from whatever it can including your gains to fuel itself and make you feel shit at the same time.

Recent meta analysis found:

“BCAAs decreased muscle protein synthesis as well as protein breakdown, meaning a decrease in muscle protein turnover. The catabolic state in which the rate of muscle protein breakdown exceeded the rate of muscle protein synthesis persisted during BCAA infusion. We conclude that the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.”


#3

What made this particular study a meta analysis?


#4

What made that study a meta analysis?

Actually could you just give a citation? One problem is that most bcaa research is on endurance activities.


#5

Hmm fair point.

I didn’t look into the studies used in the meta analysis because I was operating under the assumption that the author and peer reviewers were more knowledgeable than me both in the underpinnings of nutrition and exercise physiology and the interpretation of research on such a topic.

If indeed most studies are based on endurance training then I can see how that would skew conclusions or at least result in an absence of evidence. As always absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Here is the DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9 because tbh I hate citation and need to look up guidelines everytime I do. If you find anything that would add to the discussion pls aware us.


#6

Thanks. I’ll read more tomorrow on a full screen. The study appears to concern itself with consumption of ONLY bcaa’s alone rather than high bcaa complete essential amino acid sources.


#7

Is there a reason you want bcaas only, and not say, a drink containing all essential amino acids plus carbs?


#8

Please consider that limitation does not connote weakness.

Truly out of my depth in knowledge now but high bcaa complete essential amino acid sources sounds like Whey with some BCAA thrown in or a high end blend of aminos. Also a bit off topic considering OP is after thoughts on just BCAAs instead of buying additional powders or an expensive blend. However am personally curious as I’m always looking for ways to improve diet and training.

Am looking forward to your interpretations.


#9

Two reasons:
1- I’ve heard a lot about BCAAs, but never tried them. Nor did I find any consistent information on how to dose them.
2- I know a few websites where BCAAs are comparatively inexpensive. Won’t mention it here because I don’t mean to take anything away from biotest and their products.
3- I’ve been running AD for the last few months with good progress, which unfortunately rules out things like Mag-10, Plazma and Surge. I’d much rather be able to eat certain vegetables mostly freely then drink down my carbs at once.
4- I don’t feel the need for whey or anything like that post workout coz I eat a pretty high protein breakfast almost immediately after training. The BCAAs are to increase synthesis and decrease catabolism


#10

Sounds like you should invest in some Soviet Sports Supplements nomsayin lol


#11

I agree with your points.


#12

You don’t mean real food do you? Seemed to work for Uncle Rich


#13

Too soon bro…RIP

Whatever it takes to leave humanity behind. 8 hour arm workouts with 5% extra so 8.4hr arm workouts with Real Food (Real Food Source For Real Gains) so you can get 5% Bigger by the Day.

This got random af lel. Anyways hope you got your questions answered


#14

Was debating whether or not the joke was in bad taste or not.

Yeah, ill probably stick to Creatine. Cheaper anyways


#15

Running AD you mean Atkins?
I just saw an Atkins bar with more carbs than a serving of Mag-10 yesterday. Actually BCAA’s might be good on a low carb diet around training because they stimulate insulin which does block muscle catabolism.


#16

Im running the Anabolic Diet, which is basically a cyclic Keto diet. In terms of BCAA vs BCAA peptides I’ve never heard of the latter, and it’s pretty expensive to getbbiotest stuff shipped here to Aus


#17

So you said that Mag-10 etc were ruled out because you were on the AD, not because they were cost prohibitive. I agree that they should not be used on the AD, but the fact that they are also cost prohibitive is important.

You said that you have gotten good progress on the AD. Are you running it in a calorie defecit or a calorie surplus? It matters. I think that during the fat/protein days, there is really no reason for supplements. You should be getting high saturated fat meat, eggs and dairy with some nuts and fish and low carb veggies. It is much more important to make the AD work right than to worry about supps. Add in 6 egg yolks or beef liver which were always recommended on early versions of AD. No high linoleic acid oil IF your are gaining. If you are in a solid deficit you can actually eat more high la oils because you are going to burn everything you eat every day. Also, if you are in a calorie surplus, you should not eat big carb/protein meals on the two carb/protein days right away. In a calorie surplus on Fat+protein, your muscle cells get loaded with fatty acids for fuel and down regulate burning of glucose. Going from that state to a carb+fat meal right away will spike your blood sugar. People have tested out with bgs over 200 (over 11 mmol/dl) in going from high fat, calorie surplus to high carbs within a 48 hour period. As a result, a glucose tolerance test is not even considered to be valid if someone has not consumed at least 150 grams of carbs a day for the last 2 days. It is a little different if you are in a hard calorie defecit (500+ Kcal deficit per day) because even though your muscles will be burning fat, they will not be “fat loaded” and so there is still room to move carbs into the muscle cells right away on the 2 day carb/fat period.

Also, if you are doing the AD right, you don’t want to spike insulin during your workout because one of the important goals of the AD is to raise growth hormone levels and insulin blocks GH release during a workout. No peri workout carbs on the AD diet or else its not AD. The AD WILL cause a short term loss of muscle after a workout but over the course of days and weeks there will be an overall gain if it works for you and you do it correctly. Also the AD should be based on red meat which is already high in creatine. I suppose adding creatine may be OK but you will already be mildly dehydrated on the AD and the creatine can pull water into the stomach which will leave you dehydrated for training. You needs LOTS of water on the AD already.

Basically, if the AD works, your body is making the anabolic agents. The only thing that might help with training on the AD during the F+P days is to add some lactic acid from naturally brined vegetables. These will not turn off any anabolic hormones-they may actually enhance production.


#18

Thank you for the awesome response. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit of a fan of your responses on this forum. I’m nore or less doing AD as written- a ton of eggs, red meat, olive and fish oils and veges.

Based on the responses, I’ll give BCAAs a skip, but trial creatine for a month and see how it goes. I already have a pretty good idea of how I should be feeling on AD, so if I start feeling negatively impacted I’ll skip the Creatine.

Thanks everyone


#19

I have read multiple instances of whey protein significantly out performing BCAA for muscle protein synthesis.

Even in the context of dieting, the extra caloric content is negligible in respect to the results that are able to be incurred.

Kanda, Atsushi, et al. “Post-exercise whey protein hydrolysate supplementation induces a greater increase in muscle protein synthesis than its constituent amino acid content.” British Journal of Nutrition 110.06 (2013): 981-987.


#20

Dude

They used animals (rats),swimming for 2 hours to depress muscle protein synthesis and administered carbohydrate in both groups along with whey or aminos

Dunno if you can make those conclusions from that study lel