T Nation


reading this weeks article on surge and the role of BCAAS i began to wonder -if ingesting BCAAS directly increases protein synthesis- should i be supplementing w/BCAAS? I supplement with about 140 g whey isolate per day so do i get enough BCAAs or

  1. should i take a BCAA supplement?
    2)Also i read once that Poliquin recommended large doses of BCAAs to gain LBM. Anybody know what this protocol was?

BCAA tabs are great but they are expensive. Whey isolate is not the same as BCAA tabs. These are a hydrolyzed source and are absorbed at a much greater level, some studies say up to 16x as effective. I’m not sure about that, but nonetheless they do work. You will however need at least 0.2g/kg bw of BCAAs according to Poliquin, if I’m not mistaken off the top of my head. So if you weigh 180lbs, that’s about 80kg. 80kgx.2=16g. So this person would need at least 16g of BCAAs. However, he has also said that 20-40g is ideal to get optimal results, so even if you are under 200lbs go with the higher range. Are they worth the money? They can help preserve muscle when one is dieting down but probably not as essential when growing.

Read John Berardi’s “Solving the Post Workout Puzzle”. It gives a good insight on BCAAs.

On a related note, does anyone know if proteins like Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Hydrolyzed Whey etc. are complete sources of protein (i.e. contain enough BCAAs)? Or, are they incomplete?


so does anyone supplement with BCAA caps here? If thats Poliquins rec should i be downing 20-40 caps of BCAAs. As far as whey as a source of BCAAs if it is more readily absorbed shouldnt that negate the need to supplement with BCAA caps?

i take BCAAs, i notice a great increase in by ability to recover from workout to workout. I take capsules and a powder, not the cheapest supplement around.

Use a BCAA powder.

Optimum makes a 5000mg container of BCAA’s that is unflavored. I simply dumped that into to a huge container with 2 bottles of Surge. I also add 20-40 grams of Glutamine to this shake.

Gabe, you take 140 of whey a day? Man, that’s a lot! Why do you do this?

40 grams of extra BCAA’s is absolutely nuts! It reminds me of the glutamine dogma…

BCAA’s are definately one of those “icing on the cake” supplements that will only be useful if everything else is in line.


I sometimes mix BCAA’s into my during/post workout beverage. None of the little supplements really help all that much. Give it a go and see if it is worth it for you. For me… I’d just drink more protein.

David -
Why do you say 40g BCAA is overkill?

I can say from personal experience that recovery with a powder BCAA is superior.

I take Surge PWO, after every workout. My recovery is superior when I take the BCAA during the workout and Surge, after. If its a leg day I split the Surge- 1/2 before, BCAA during, and 1/2 after.

Gabe, you missed my point. You cant just replace BCAAs with whey powder because of the retention properties. The 20-40g of BCAAs should be taken in during your workout. To get the same effect, you would have to down between 320 and 640g of whey protein. Do you see the difference quality and absorption makes?

Ok i misread your post i thought you were saying the opposite. To DB: i take 60 grams whey w/flax + fish oils for 2 P+F meals. I take another 40 grams pwo meal w/dextrose. Thats why so much whey.

Gabe, using whey protein in your p+f meals is useless. Whey protein is highly insulinemic and not anti-catabolic at all. Save the whey for post workout when you need to refill glycogen. Most people don’t realize that you don’t even need to add carbs to this in order to refill glycogen, whey protein alone will do the trick so why would you use this for p+f meals. Change this to a milk isolate/casein or use egg protein for a single source protein if you must.

Atreides, I’m thinking that 40g of BCAA’s is overkill because THAT’S A LOT OF FREAKING BCAAS. :slight_smile:

Seriously though, we really have no data on what dosage to take, and they aren’t cheap enough to just mess around with high dosages (though not everyone falls into his category). Just my opinion… no dogma, no worries.

Loopy, you’re contradicting yourself by saying that whey stims insulin but isn’t anticatabolic. Insulin aside, as shown from the figures in the article this week, amino acid levels are elevated for over 3 hours after isolate consumption, which is also anticatablic (but isn’t great for the last meal of the day).

Hope this helps!

There’s a difference between being anti-catabolic and being anabolic.

How is whey not anticatabolic-doesnt it increase protein synthesis? Also are you saying whey causes an insulin response? I think all proteins have their place and i usually do use a blended protein (such as grow) but the protocol im currently following calls for whey.

bulk bcaa powder is really cheap. the cheapest i’ve found is 1000 grams for 40 bucks. if you take 20 grams per day that will last you almost 2 months.

i take bcaas as part of the whole package, i’ve been getting great results for a while now…do i attribute this to bcaas?..no, not just to them…but it’s a piece of the puzzle and it sure seems to help…

thats mad… in the uk it’s at least ?76/hg, so about 130$!

Make sure those amino acids are free-form.

I get mine from Jo Mar Labs. Fast service and quality aminos.