Amino acids, BCAAs in particular, have benefits for before or during your workout, and after as well. The time immediately following exercise is ideal for triggering muscle synthesis, preventing muscle damage, and starting the recovery process. It also is an ideal time to reduce fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is the breakdown of muscle fibers, including the physical separation of the fibers that comprise the muscle structure (2). This breakdown could impact your next workout or training session.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) contain 3 of the essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids go directly into the bloodstream and to your muscles instead of being metabolized in the liver.
See: What Are BCAAs?
Leucine is the key to muscle building because your body uses Leucine to activate Muscle Protein Synthesis and muscle cells, which supports muscle building and repair. Research has determined that Leucine is responsible for initiating the muscle recovery process after training. In other words, Leucine helps the body stop breaking down muscle and start to rebuild it.
Isoleucine works with Leucine by stimulating the muscle to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, which fuels the muscle-building process. Valine helps prevent the breakdown of muscle by supplying muscles with extra glucose responsible for energy production during physical activity.
A study conducted at East Tennessee State University had collegiate distance runners on either placebo or supplementing with aminoVITAL® (4). The study showed a significant difference in the soreness athletes reported between weeks supplementing with aminoVITAL® vs placebo. In other words, amino acids can help you feel less sore.
Muscle Protein Synthesis
Working out activates both muscle breakdown and muscle synthesis systems. However, post-workout muscle breakdown exceeds muscle synthesis until you ingest leucine. Leucine activates mTOR, which stimulates protein synthesis and muscle tissue growth. By consuming BCAAs immediately after exercise, your body can initiate muscle repair and growth.
While BCAAs are in food and protein supplements, your body takes too long to digest them to receive the full benefits after a workout. In pure form, BCAAs are not bound to other amino acids like in whey protein, for example. Meaning, they can be digested and absorbed quicker, making them more available to impact protein synthesis.
Muscle Protein Breakdown is not so bad as long as you give your muscles what they need. Muscle Protein Breakdown allows damaged muscle proteins to break down into amino acids and recycle most of them into new functional muscle proteins (3). In other words, muscle protein breakdown is part of building muscle.
It is worth noting that repairing muscle damaged by exercise is essential for exercise recovery and muscle building. For MPS and muscle growth to occur, the muscle must have an exercise-induced micro-injury (your workout). Then, there needs to be sufficient protein or, more specifically, amino acids (1) to replenish your muscles.
In short, if you’re breaking your muscle down, for you to get the results you want, you need to build them back up. The best way to do this is with amino acids and rest.
Take BCAAs 30 Minutes After Exercise
Studies suggest the best time to supplement with BCAAs is within the first 30 minutes after exercise.
If you are looking for an amino acid supplement to aid in muscle recovery, try aminoVITAL Rapid Recovery. Rapid Recovery contains amino acids (BCAAs, Glutamine, and Arginine), electrolytes, and complex carbs to help your muscles recover faster. And, Rapid Recovery is clinically proven to reduce next-day muscle soreness.