T Nation

BCAA's and Weightloss

Hey everyone,

Again Im new to the whole supplements as can be seen from my Beta-alanine questions, anyway again im trying to lost weight and am still on a strict clean diet. For more recovery I was thinking of adding BCAA’s, is this a good idea if Im trying to lose weight? Again will it make me bulk up to much or can it assist in leaning me out? thanks for all the help and really glad i found this website

BCAAs will not cause you to bulk when you’re in a calorie restricted diet.
They can help preserve lean mass when cutting.

thank you very much, i really appreciate it

just make sure to take them pre, peri, and immediately post-workout, and the same goes for cardio sessions

randomly stuffing them into your mouth before you sleep or between meals as some suggest is only in your best interests if you enjoy jacking up your insulin for no reason

honestly, don’t make the mistake many do and take these things nonstop. I am supremely certain that excessive BCAA intake at inopportune times (such as middle of night) plus caloric surplus can facilitate fat gain. Take a bunch in your workout shake, totally different story, then they are great. It’s like, would you drink Surge before sleeping or middle of night? Obviously not, and BCAAs are comparably insulinogenic, so you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

but they are definitely a great tool for recovery, just use them wisely

BCAAs are not on the same level as Surge when it comes to insulin.

What’s going to cause a higher insulin spike

50g carbs plus 20g protein (13 being BCAAs)

or

4-6 g of BCAA at a time?

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
just make sure to take them pre, peri, and immediately post-workout, and the same goes for cardio sessions

randomly stuffing them into your mouth before you sleep or between meals as some suggest is only in your best interests if you enjoy jacking up your insulin for no reason

honestly, don’t make the mistake many do and take these things nonstop. I am supremely certain that excessive BCAA intake at inopportune times (such as middle of night) plus caloric surplus can facilitate fat gain. Take a bunch in your workout shake, totally different story, then they are great. It’s like, would you drink Surge before sleeping or middle of night? Obviously not, and BCAAs are comparably insulinogenic, so you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

but they are definitely a great tool for recovery, just use them wisely[/quote]

This is wrong. BCAAS between meals is highly effective when in a caloric deficit.

[quote]jsbrook wrote:

This is wrong. BCAAS between meals is highly effective when in a caloric deficit.
[/quote]

Agreed.

BCAAs cause an insulin spike, and provide leucine and increase the bio-availability of leucine. During training that’s good, in moderation. Think whatever you want, but that’s a fact.

Here’s another fact: BCAAs are approx twice as insulinogenic as pure glucose.

They don’t effect blood glucose levels to the same degree as pure carbohydrates as they only cause the initial spike, however it is a very big spike when compared to supplements or even food.

Considering how carbophobic people are and how worried they are about low-GI carbs and partitioning and such to prevent insulin spiking, there seems to be somewhat of a misconception about what BCAAS do and when to take then. You wake up in the middle of the night and throw 5g of BCAAs in a glass of water and you might as well be drinking gatorade sans the kcal.

I’ll admit I’m not 100% on BCAAs between meals while cutting, but in theory, with the above info, it seems like it makes no sense. Clearly there are differing opinions about this stuff all over the place though, and I’m not a nutritionist, just a fellow t-man who is interested in nutrition and the human body

BCAA’s are more effective when taken surrounding wokrouts cuz your muscles are more receptive to them during that period.
I’ve read that on many occassions.

I’ve been taking them between meals during cutting, but I’m not so sure it does anything.

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
BCAAs cause an insulin spike, and provide leucine and increase the bio-availability of leucine. During training that’s good, in moderation. Think whatever you want, but that’s a fact.

Here’s another fact: BCAAs are approx twice as insulinogenic as pure glucose.

They don’t effect blood glucose levels to the same degree as pure carbohydrates as they only cause the initial spike, however it is a very big spike when compared to supplements or even food.

Considering how carbophobic people are and how worried they are about low-GI carbs and partitioning and such to prevent insulin spiking, there seems to be somewhat of a misconception about what BCAAS do and when to take then. You wake up in the middle of the night and throw 5g of BCAAs in a glass of water and you might as well be drinking gatorade sans the kcal.

I’ll admit I’m not 100% on BCAAs between meals while cutting, but in theory, with the above info, it seems like it makes no sense. Clearly there are differing opinions about this stuff all over the place though, and I’m not a nutritionist, just a fellow t-man who is interested in nutrition and the human body [/quote]

AJ, this is an interesting post, one that many do not agree with. I am wondering what evidence you have for it?

Admittedly, most of the people who post here use the information they get from the T-Nation articles as the foundation of their belief - which is ultimately based on the scientific data that is sourced at the end of the articles. If it seems like many parrot the same thing it’s because we have all read the same articles and source material.

Can you source where your understanding comes from because it would be helpful to us all?

Thanks in advance!

well, just google “BCAA insulin” and you’ll see a ton of sources and info. There were a few roundtables I read that had some similar info, I posted one earlier, don’t have links to the others but here’s a thread on the exact subject: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=961653

“BCAA’s act as nitrogen carriers which assist the muscles in synthesizing other aminos needed for anabolic muscle action. In simpler terms, it is a combining of simpler aminos to form a complex whole muscle tissue[1.]. Therefore, BCAA’s stimulate production of insulin, the main function of which is to …”

[quote]actionjeff wrote:

well, just google “BCAA insulin” and you’ll see a ton of sources and info. There were a few roundtables I read that had some similar info, I posted one earlier, don’t have links to the others but here’s a thread on the exact subject:

“BCAA’s act as nitrogen carriers which assist the muscles in synthesizing other aminos needed for anabolic muscle action. In simpler terms, it is a combining of simpler aminos to form a complex whole muscle tissue[1.]. Therefore, BCAA’s stimulate production of insulin, the main function of which is to …”[/quote]

When I google it I find sources that confirm your assertion that BCAA’s may be insulinogenic. Is insulin being created the same thing as insulin being released?

I’ve also read sources that say that BCAA supplement increase the insulin response in the present of glucose.

I have not read that BCAA supplements CAUSE a release of insulin in the absence of carbohydrate solution.

What are your feelings on the difference between production and release?

What would the consequence be of taking BCAA’s while in a fasted state?

Insulin isn’t a devil hormone.

If taking in BCAAs in the absence of other nutrients, it will create an insulin response, but the likelihood of fat storage from BCAAs I would think would be almost non-existant.

However, when insulin is raised, the primary source of energy becomes carbohydrate. In a calorie restricted state, you’d argue that this is even more likely to come from the deamination of alanine in muscle tissue (read: breakdown of muscles), instead of fats as it would when insulin is low. This is all just theory though.

BCAAs are MILDLY insulinogenic. True. As a practical matter, they seem aid in preserving muscle when used between meals when on a caloric deficit, particularly if it’s big. And don’t impede fat loss. I know I feel better and train better when using them while dieting without an adverse impact on fat loss.

I don’t mean to hijack, but what is the point of taking BCAA separate from whey protein? One scoop of my protein powder has three times the amount of BCAA than 4 caps of a BCAA supplement I was looking at today.

Is there a difference?

[quote]Bujutsuka wrote:
I don’t mean to hijack, but what is the point of taking BCAA separate from whey protein? One scoop of my protein powder has three times the amount of BCAA than 4 caps of a BCAA supplement I was looking at today.

Is there a difference?[/quote]

In order to get 25-45 grams of BCAA’s you would need to consume 4 to 6 scoops of protein powder.

So it works out cheaper to take BCAA supplements vs. relying on protein powder as the source for them.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
If taking in BCAAs in the absence of other nutrients, it will create an insulin response, but the likelihood of fat storage from BCAAs I would think would be almost non-existant.

[/quote]

I’ve already asked if there evidence that BCAAs cause a release of insulin. I understand that they do help to create insulin and that when taken in the present of carbohydrates, they increase the effects of insulin. But insulin in the pancreas doesn’t impact blood sugar to the same extent as insulin in the blood stream so I’m unsure about the significance of actionjeff’s comments.