Branched Chain Amino Acids for Muscle Development
Whey Protein is a Quality Protein With Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Muscles are built from proteins. Proteins are built from amino acids. Essential amino acids must be present in the diet for the muscles to develop. Among the essential amino acids, the branched chain amino acids (BCAAS) must be present in adequate amounts. The BCAAS include three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. The muscle proteins have disproportionately high levels of BCAAS. They comprise approximately 33 percent of the proteins in the skeletal muscles. For good results in muscle-building these three amino acids should have notable and significant presence in your diet.
Nutritional Support From Essential Amino Acids
Essential amino acids are necessary for building muscles. They are also needed for repairing the injured or damaged muscles. These amino acids must be present in adequate amounts to build the proteins needed for muscle development. Essential amino acids can not be produced by the body. They must be obtained nutritionally or by intake of supplements.
Essential amino acids, including disproportionate amounts of BCAAS, are critical for muscle development, but they are not nutritionally sufficient. Effective diets for muscle-building must include adequate amounts of carbohydrates and other nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins.
Nutritional Sources of BCAAS
There are a variety of branched amino acid-rich protein supplements in the market such as whey protein, but BCAA-rich proteins can also be obtained from normal foods which are unprocessed or minimally processed. Foods with the highest quality proteins generally have the highest levels of BCAAS. Consequently, red meats have more BCAAS compared to beans. Some BCAA-rich foods include:
Milk and milk products such as whey protein, cheese and yogurt
Meats, such as beef, pork, fish and turkey
The super-grain, quinoa
Nutritional Support From Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have protein-sparing effect on muscle-building. Carbohydrates also activate the release of insulin, a hormone that is needed for protein synthesis and muscle development. Carbohydrates are the primary and preferred source of energy for the body. If carbohydrates are not available your body will use other sources of energy, such as fats and proteins In this case, some of the amino acids can be used for energy metabolism instead of muscle-building. Therefore, amino acids would not be effectively used for muscle-building.
Another important effect of carbohydrates in the diet for muscle building is that carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that is needed for the synthesis various substances in your body, including glycogen, proteins and muscles.
Adequate Stimulus for Muscle Development
Diets, rich in essential amino acids and BCAAS, are critical for building muscles, but good nutrition alone can not lead to muscle development. Adequate stress must be applied to the muscles to make them grow. To develop, muscles must do some work such as lifting weights or pulling against resistances. You can determine the type of muscle developmental goal you wish to achieve by your work and exercise protocols.
You can build muscles for strength, stamina, mass and power. The primary determinants of the type of muscle you can develop from exercise are:
The amount of force (weight or resistance) against which the muscle works
The frequency (number of repetitions) the muscle works against the resistance
The speed with which the muscle works against the resistance
To develop endurance and stamina you would work with light weights (or resistances) and high number of repetitions. For example, if you have a four-set protocol of weight lifting, then each set would comprise of 12 or more repetitions using light weights. Large muscle mass typically can not be developed with this protocol.
For strength building, you would use heavy weights and smaller number of repetitions. Five to 8 repetitions per set with heavy weights is fine. Power development is a combination of strength building and increased speed for performing the repetitions. Large muscle mass is typically developed with strength and power training protocols.
Functionally, the muscles built from power training differs from muscles developed from strength training in that powerful muscles (from power training) can perform tasks with speed and agility. Strength-trained muscles can perform the same task but they can be slow and sluggish in their performance.