Branched Chain Amino Acids
Sometimes blog ideas come easily (like my love letter to running yesterday) and sometimes I spend hours reading articles trying to figure out what I can contribue to the blogosphere. Today has been one of those long days of reading and not knowing really what to say. I’ve gone from this article on the 11 benefits of alcohol to this study on how the FDA allows claims on supplements that have yet to be proven. I’ve started two blog posts and then decided they weren’t good enough. I’ve read some more and finally after a few too many articles, I’ve picked a topic – branched chain amino acids. I know, you didn’t see that one coming did you?
BCAAs are often touted to help repair damaged muscles, decrease muscle soreness and increase muscle function. Some data shows that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. A 2006 study concluded that the intake of BCAA may promote an anabolic hormone profile (causing muscle repair after workouts) while also decreasing the likelihood of training-induced muscle damage.
The study I read concluded that “BCAA before and following damaging resistance exercise reduces indices of muscle damage and accelerates recovery in resistance-trained males.”
More times than not, my post intense workout food includes whatever I can find in my kitchen. I’m so hungry that I go straight for the hummus and sweet potato chips. Complex carbs, right? I completely understand that this is not the best option and I need to be fueling for recovery, but more times than not, I fail at proper post workout nutriton. Perhaps it’s time I paid a little more attention to BCAA post workout.
BCAA come in a supplement form but I’m horrible at remembering to take supplements. My kitchen counter has a few too many bottles of supplements and vitamins that I never look twice at. Well maybe the Advil when I hurt, but that’s about it. Luckily BCAA can also be found in some of my favorite foods. According to this article on Livestrong, some good sources of BCAA include poultry, red meats, dairy products, beans, brown rice, soy protein and nuts. Since I workout right before dinner, maybe it would be better to snack on some almonds and cashews (my favorite) instead of sweet potate chips – especially after speed workouts and tempo runs.
I’m curious, does anybody else take BCAA post workout? Have you noticed any benefits? I don’t know that I would take the supplement route but I do think I am going to be more aware of consuming foods with BCAA. If they help with muscle soreness and recovery, then it sounds good to me.