T Nation

On the Topic of BCAA's & Protein

So I got on my pedestal last week and I went on a rant while at the supplement store about how  HMB was just a byproduct of Leucine and that came in protein powder and how both HMB and/or Leucine and/or BCAA's bought separately were a waste of money if you were taking a protein powder because they were already found in there........ 

and then about 1 week later I am sitting in my Exercise physiology class here at college and my professor mentions how leucine is pretty much the most important amino acid for muscle protein synthesis and my mind gets to thinking…

Is taking HMB/LEUCINE/BCAA’s on top of normal protein supplementation worth the time/money? I logged on to our schools library webpage which gives us access to all sorts of medical journals and looked up leucine and muscle mass and all sorts of studies appeared describing how supplementing with leucine contributed to muscle mass, but none of them compared the leucine group with a group already supplementing with whey protein (or casein or natural high protein foods or whatever).

So my question becomes: can somebody more enlightened than me set me straight: If I am already supplementing with a protein powder (and trying to get my diet in order, except for some cheat meals and beer binges every once and a while) is there any value to ALSO supplementing with BCAA’s of one form or another?

All I will say on the matter is to look up some of the stuff Justin Harris has written both at the DC site, over at Elitefts and I think maybe his own site, he goes into great detail the reasoning behind supplementing with Leucine and BCAAs separately.

I will not try and summarise it here as my own explanation will probably be incomplete at best.