BCAA is a combination of essential branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine that are of special importance for bodybuilders and athletes because these amino acids are used by the body to build up protein.
Because BCAA’s are essential amino acids, they are not produced by the body in the same way as non-essential amino acids but are rather obtained from our diet and nutrition. That is why it is suggested that BCAA supplementation has significant importance to athletes because they can alleviate any deficiencies that the body alone cannot synthesize.
When taken before and/or during the workout, branch chain amino acids have been found to:
- Improve endurance during workout
- Improve strength during workout
- Improve recovery and reduce soreness after a workout
- Stimulate muscle growth
This works as one large unit in the sense that leucine, isoleucine, and valine are used to build and repair muscle tissue. But, it also works more independently as:
- Leucine triggers actual muscle synthesis signaling aka muscle growth.
- Isoleucine can be broken down producing several muscle fueling molecules.
- Valine reduces exercise induced fatigue by minimizing tryptophan uptake in the brain.
So, BCAAs help with muscle recovery, maintaining lean mass, and even building new muscle.
Glutamine, unlike BCAAs, is readily made by the body. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in the entire body. Glutamine is a dynamic amino acid compared to many others. It’s the most common, easy to make, and loaded up in the foods we eat.
Given 3 topics are key reasons why athletes and bodybuilders consider supplementing glutamine.
Muscle Soreness – Several studies have shown that supplementing with 5+ grams of glutamine before or after exercise reduces the intensity of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Muscle Growth – While glutamine is required for muscle growth, that isn’t the only way it shines in helping you put on more mass. That’s because glutamine is also readily turned into energy. Because of this, there is less strain on BCAAs and your muscle tissue to be turned into energy – thus preserving both the tissue and BCAA promote growth.
Endurance – Stated well above in muscle growth. Simply put, glutamine can quickly be turned into glucose, which readily fuels muscles.
Difference between BCAA and Glutamine
When it comes to muscle building for a healthy individual BCAAs are a much more beneficial tool than glutamine.
3 essential amino-acids-leucine, isoleucine, and valine you get them from the diet, your body cannot make them. These three have a pretty important role in maintaining and building muscle. On the other hand, Glutamine is also known as amino-acid, but it is not essential, your body can make it.
Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) taken before and/or during the workout but Glutamine is usually taken post-workout or before bedtime.
Glutamine has never been proven effective as a muscle builder in healthy individuals. That being said, the amino acid has been useful for rebuilding muscle still, for the general public or athletic user, glutamine appears to have no real benefit.
BCAAs, however, have shown enormous potential in this regard. As mentioned, the three amino acids work together on various mechanisms to encourage muscle growth. Leucine, sometimes called as the “main” BCAA, has a powerful and reliable influence on muscle protein synthesis. At the same time, isoleucine encourages the uptake of glucose into cells, helping to support and speed up a huge array of biological systems.
More research is needed to fully understand what valine brings to the mix but it appears to have a slight influence on muscle protein synthesis, though not nearly as potent as leucine.
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