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BCAAs, Amino Acids, and Protein

One thing I am not completely understanding is what the difference between BCAAs, amino acids, and proteins are. I know protein is made up of amino acids, so are the amino acid pills like pre-digested protein?

The one that really confuses me is the distinction between BCAAs and amino acids. What is it about BCAAs that stops catablolism of muscles? Why are they better than amino acids or regular protein??

[quote]mj1 wrote:
One thing I am not completely understanding is what the difference between BCAAs, amino acids, and proteins are. I know protein is made up of amino acids, so are the amino acid pills like pre-digested protein?

The one that really confuses me is the distinction between BCAAs and amino acids. What is it about BCAAs that stops catablolism of muscles? Why are they better than amino acids or regular protein??
[/quote]

OK do K will give a breif run down a google and LOTS of reading will fill anything else needed.

amino acids yes they are what makes up protein. There are a variety of them amions and they all serve pruposes from mucles building to fuel for vital functions of organs the brain etc.

So yes protein is digested broekn down into the small single amino acids enter the blood and are nused to fuel various processes.

EAA’s essential amino acids (there are 9 including those labeled BCAA’s) these are ones that must be taken in through diet the body cannot prodcue them.

BCAA’s these have a special standing in muscle building as BCAA’s are metabolized in the muscle, rather than in the liver. As in thet are used to fuel and reuild the muscles. so this is why bthe build muscle and halt catabolism.

Why are they special in pill form as opposed to food. pill form you get them NOW in a large amount no digestion needed. you get large amounts of JUST the BCAA’s that are used by muscles for muscles.

So say you just had a killer workout and did significant damage. You then eat a steak well that steak has to be digested and slowly release aminos of ALL forms into the blood stream. Where as if you take BCAA’s you get those aminos that are wanted right then by the body to aid in recovery and rebuilding of the damage done. Its a question of optimal and ok.

this should start to directly or indirectly answer all your questions above

Hope that bhelps,
Phill

Functionally, I believe the difference is in the concentration/total amount. Just a simple google search and some calculations will reveal that for a 160 pound male, one only needs approx 4g BCAA/day. This is readily provided by food. From the recommendations I’ve read, 10g or so per day is “optimal” for training. Why this is so is not quite clear to me, and I assume this is a big part of your question.

However, the same reasoning is basically observable with Power Drive - which is basically Tyrosine - and Beta7 which is beta alanine. Both of these are non-essential. The logic I believe of supplementing with them is the following:

  1. It is very difficult to get high amounts in food.

  2. While these amino acids can be synthesized from others, there is a negative energy cost to do so, and therefore the body will choose not to do so when it can. Hence supplementing with them provides the abundance needed for extra synthesis of specific proteins (eg, dopamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline for Power Drive, carnosine for Beta7).

But I am no bio major, so corrections are welcome.

Wow, thanks Phill- as always you clear it all up. :slight_smile: