The essential Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAA are a combination of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine (4:1:1). BCAA plays a vital role in protein synthesis (reducing muscle protein breakdown) and in essential energy production.
Peak Chocolate uses only BCAAs from True Protein, Australia's most respected source of sports supplements. True's Amino Acids (unlike many on the market) are derived only from plant products, resulting in a product that is unsurpassed in quality and purity, and has no taste or smell. True amino acids are sourced from the world’s leading suppliers of pharmaceutical and research grade amino acids.
For athletes, amino acids can either be used to build new proteins or can be burned as fuel to produce energy. If the diet already has adequate protein then the essential amino acids will be used for protein synthesis, which is the ideal result for improved performance.
Essential amino acids are not produced naturally in the body (as are non-essential amino acids) but rather only obtained through nutrition and supplementation.
Among their numerous properties BCAAs are essential for a range of physiological processes. They are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle glycogen stores and help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.
Depending on your training you will ideally burn mostly fat and stored carbohydrate (glycogen) as fuel. Eventually your body will also turn to protein, particularly the BCAAs, as glycogen becomes depleted. BCAAs are released from the liver into circulation enabling skeletal muscles to break down the BCAAs for energy.
During recovery, when other fuel sources (such as carbohydrates and fats) are available, BCAA is used in protein synthesis. Athletes require protein synthesis for muscle building. BCAAs represent over 50 per cent of the total amino acids released into general circulation to be taken up by the muscles.
The greatest benefit to training athletes is the increase in metabolic efficiency or recovery that follows BCAA supplementation. Many athletes introducing BCAA to their nutrition program feel a decrease in the amount of post-exercise muscle soreness. Increased recovery enables more frequent training.
Intense athletic training can also affect the immune system. Research has shown that supplementation with BCAA can restore depleted glutamine stores and immune factors in elite athletes, leading to a reported one-third fewer symptoms of infection during the period of supplementation.