The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) for Muscle Preservation

I've been using Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) for over a year now and my overall opinion of them is "Useful, but not necessary."


"Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) refers to three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
BCAA supplementation, for people with low dietary protein intake, can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. It can also be used to prevent fatigue in novice athletes.

Leucine plays an important role in muscle protein synthesis, while isoleucine induces glucose uptake into cells. Further research is needed to determine valine’s role in a BCAA supplement. Supplementing BCAAs prevents a serum decline in BCAAs, which occurs during exercise. A serum decline would normally cause a tryptophan influx into the brain, followed by serotonin production, which causes fatigue. 

BCAAs are important to ingest on a daily basis, but many protein sources, such as meat and eggs, already provide BCAAS. Supplementation is unnecessary for people with a sufficiently high protein intake (1-1.5g/kg a day or more)."

The best use of supplementing with BCAA's is if you train fasted in the morning (like Ol' Yeargain), if you go several hours without protein intake, or if you're dieting for an extended period of time (several Ol' Yeargain did.)

The Following are some basic reviews of three specific brands I've tried of BCAA's and given you some of my thoughts and shared some affiliate links if you feel like giving them a try.


Cellucor is pretty tasty. I've tried the fruit punch flavor and it tastes a lot like sugar free koolaid or a more subtle crystal light. If you buy it from the store it's generally one of the more expensive brands, but amazon generally has some decent prices that make it more competitive. Also, cellucor is a great sponsor and they give out affiliate links that are around 25% off. You just got to look for them.


The first time I tried the dymatize BCAA's I tried the blue raspberry flavor, and it clumped up quite a bit when I put in a scoop on top of the water already in the shaker bottle. I was very displeased with the result and immediately purchased the brand that's listed below. However, whenever I ran out of that I turned to my old container of dymatize and put the dry ingredients in first with some ice and water, shook it thoroughly and found it to be quite delightful.


Scivation was my first introduction to the BCAA game and it's still my favorite. It's generally priced the best in most stores that carry it and I've found the taste to be quite mild and pleasing, not like you're chugging Gatorade or koolaide first thing when you get up and train. I've tried strawberry kiwi, raspberry blue, watermelon madness, and they're all pretty good so far. My favorite might be raspberry blue...but it's not like I sit up in the middle of the night craving it. It's just pretty tasty.

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

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