BCAAs are branched amino acids said to be essential since they cannot be synthesized by the body and must therefore be provided through food and supplementation in order to obtain the benefits.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs are made up of three amino acids which are leucine, isoleucine and valine. On the food supplement market, BCAAs are one of the most popular supplements and the most used by athletes and more particularly by bodybuilders. However, there are different strengths of BCAAs and in this article we will determine what is the best ratio for optimal results.

Why take BCAAs during training?

The consumption of BCAAs can be interesting during the training since they can increase your energy reserves by preserving those of glycogen contained in the muscles. Indeed, BCAAs will be used as a primary source during physical exertion, thus leaving your glycogen reserves intact. To image, it’s like having two energy stores which allows you to train longer while maintaining the same intensity.

The leucine in BCAAs is an amino acid that has an anti-catabolic role, that is, it helps fight muscle breakdown. In addition, BCAAs can promote better body composition and therefore help you burn more fat especially if you are on a diet or dry. In fact, with a calorie deficit, BCAAs are even more important for keeping your muscle mass as much as possible while providing more energy in order to compensate for the lack of carbohydrates.

Intense training such as strength training puts stress on the muscles and the body, and you may develop muscle soreness. Consuming BCAAs can reduce the risk of muscle soreness to help you recover better between your sessions.

What is the best leucine ratio for BCAAs?

The ratio of BCAAs is determined by the leucine content to the other two amino acids, isoleucine and valine. In fact, on products regardless of brand, it is always the first digit of the ratio that displays the leucine content. For example, TheProteinWorks BCAAs have a 2: 1: 1 ratio of leucine, which means we get 2 parts leucine to 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine. But there are formulas with a much higher leucine content like BCAA 8: 1: 1 Zero from BioTech USA which provides 8 parts of leucine compared to the other two or even BCAA 20: 1: 1 Xplode Powder from Olimp Sport Nutrition which has 20 shares of leucine compared to isoleucine and valine.

We can therefore conclude that the higher the leucine content, the more effective the BCAAs will be, but in reality, BCAAs at a 2: 1: 1 ratio are more than enough to reap the benefits of BCAAs. We therefore recommend that you take BCAAs at a ratio of 2: 1: 1 or even 4: 1: 1 or even 8: 1: 1 but beyond that, you may not have any additional benefit. Be aware, however, that BCAAs are present in our diet and more particularly in the sources of protein that we consume during our meals.

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