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When To Take BCAA Supplements Benefits, Reasons Branched 2023

When To Take BCAA

When To Take BCAA Supplements Benefits, Reasons Branched 2023

BCAA and HMB are both excellent supplements that can make a difference in helping you achieve your fitness goals, both in and out of the gym. But it’s not a combination you often see together.

You’ll often find BCAAs either as a standalone supplement or in something like a pre or intra-workout drink, while HMB is usually found in fat burners or on its own. While both are great in their own right, you may wonder if you can combine them for maximum benefits.

That’s what you’re about to find out. We’re going to give you the rundown on why BCAAs and HMB are both great supplements to add to your stack and if it’s more beneficial to separate them or if you can combine them.

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Consider taking BCAAs up to 15 minutes before a workout. Try adding 5 to 10 grams to a protein shake to fuel your body and amplify the benefits of your protein drink. BCAA levels peak about 30 minutes after consumption.

What is the best time to take BCAA?

When to Take BCAA Supplements: Take BCAA supplements — whether in tablet or powder form — before a workout, up to 15 minutes pre-workout. But BCAAs can be taken up to three times a day, depending on serving size — so be sure to read the label.

While you don’t need BCAAs at every meal, it is essential to take them daily. It ensures you get all the necessary nutrients so your body can function at its best.

Drinking BCAAs without working out will provide little results, except in a few specific circumstances. The advantages of using BCAAs as a pre-workout still apply in the absence of exercise since the energy BCAAs provide can be capitalized on whether you head to the gym.

When to Take BCAAs

  1. Take between 4-20 g per day (at least three BCAA capsules). …
  2. Make it a habit – studies observe benefits after a week or more of supplementation. …
  3. Use anytime – before, during, and after workouts.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—designed to support muscle growth and recovery. Because they are essential amino acids, they can’t be produced from other non-essential amino acids. They must come from exogenous supplementation, hence why you’ll find many pills, powders, and other products containing BCAAs.


And if you’re into any serious fitness routine, they’re likely a staple in your bag. They’re so popular that for the body to create new muscle proteins, all nine essential amino acids must be present. Of all the amino acids, leucine plays the most significant anabolic role in muscle growth, so supplementing extra makes complete sense.

But there’s more. BCAAs may also help reduce the extent of muscle damage after training by lowering circulating creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which are both markers of muscle damage 1, 2.

When To Take BCAA

Minor damage equals a better recovery and allows you to train harder during your next gym session. And suppose you’re training in a caloric deficit. In that case, BCAAs are great to keep on hand because they take away the concern over gluconeogenesis and breakdown of muscle proteins for energy, which, during periods of fasted training, can happen. If you’re consuming adequate dietary protein, it’s not as much of a concern, but taking BCAAs pre-workout can safeguard against the possibility 3.

What is HMB – When To Take BCAA

Beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate, commonly called HMB, is a relatively recent addition in the fitness supplement world, even though it’s been around for over 20 years. It is a compound naturally produced in small quantities in the body as a by-product of leucine metabolism.

However, if you’re thinking about taking leucine hoping to reap the benefits of HMB, think again. Of the 20% of leucine that doesn’t go directly towards protein synthesis, only about 5% of that gets converted into HMB.


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But as a sole supplement or part of a pre-workout blend, HMB is excellent to keep you in an anabolic state. It helps to prevent muscle breakdown, increase workload, reduce and repair muscle damage, and indirectly increase muscle mass 4. The leucine in your BCAAs won’t provide you with much HMB, but supplementing with HMB alongside your BCAAs may give you some serious advantage.

Here’s how: When To Take BCAA

The primary benefit of adding HMB to your stack is that it helps reduce muscle protein breakdown via the mTOR pathway.

The ability of HMB to aid muscle growth comes from its ability to synthesize proteins by stimulating mRNA translation, muscle cell proliferation, 

and protein synthesis, along with an increased expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH) 5; both hormones are essential to muscle protein synthesis.


However, keep in mind that the point of HMB isn’t to increase muscle growth but rather to slow the process of muscle breakdown to conserve all that time and effort you’ve put into the gym.

But interestingly, it may also influence cortisol levels, which plays another indirect role in preserving lean muscle mass.

Cortisol is an essential hormone in the body, but it can hugely impede your ability to gain muscle when in excess. Because cortisol is inherently a catabolic hormone, meaning it breaks down muscle rather than supporting muscle growth. Research shows HMB can help blunt the adverse effects of cortisol when taken in a fasted state 6. When you keep levels in check during and after training, there’s no roadblock to protein synthesis.

Can You Take Them Together?

If you’re looking to maximize muscle growth and improve recovery, the answer is 100% yes. But remember that the benefits of BCAAs and HMB aren’t the same. BCAAs function more on the side of increasing muscle protein synthesis, while HMB functions on the side of preventing muscle breakdown. Naturally, they seem like a match made in heaven.

When To Take BCAA

Ultimately, however, the goal is pretty similar. To preserve lean muscle stores and increase muscle building capacity. So, taking HMB before your workout in something like Burn Lab Pro will keep you in an anabolic state during your workout and help boost fat loss while taking BCAAs either.

When should we take BCAA?

When Should I Take BCAA Supplements? To prevent further fatigue, it’s best to take BCAA supplements before a workout, up to 15 minutes pre-workout, or during your training.

Should I take BCAA every day?

Research has shown supplemental BCAA intake to be safe for healthy adults in doses of 4-20 g per day, with prolonged information one week or more showing more significant benefits than acute (short-term) intake. Aim for 2-3 g leucine between meals, before, during, or after workouts to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

How often should you drink BCAAs?

BCAAs are generally supplemented 2-4 times daily; around the time of your workout is beneficial, but you can also take a BCAA drink before bed on an evening or first thing on a morning when you wake up to make sure your body has enough essential amino acids.

BCAAs: What are Branched Chain Amino Acids, Benefits and Differences

Let’s talk about BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids. Its benefits, when to take it, how to do it, its parts, and everything you need to know.

Some are better known than others within the wide range of sports supplements that we can buy today. Whey protein in general, BCAA in particular, or the well-known creatine is most consumed.

Today we will focus on branched-chain amino acids. Although they are present in typical whey protein supplements, they can also be purchased and consumed in isolation due to their reputation for enhancing recovery after training or muscle gain.


Article index

  • 1 What is BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • 2 When to take BCAAs
  • 3 How to take BCAAs: quantity and dosage
  • 4 Benefits of BCAAs
  • 5 BCAAs and EAA or Essential Amino Acids: Differences from BCCAS
  • 6 Potential Dangers of BCAAs

What is BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids

Essentially, BCAAs ( Branched-Chain Amino Acids ) or branched-chain amino acids are:

  • Valine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine

They can be found both in the usual diet and in whey protein supplements and in isolation in the form of a specific supplement.

There are non-essential amino acids, synthesized by the human body itself, and essential amino acids, which must be obtained through diet or supplementation. In this case, the BCAAs are essential amino acids and must be obtained externally.

The importance of these three essential amino acids is that they are responsible for building a third of the skeletal muscles in the human body. Hence its fame as a supplement to improve muscle mass.

These amino acids are not just protein “building blocks” but are also signaling agents: they help activate metabolism so that muscle begins to be built through the well-known mTOR pathway; in fact, this metabolic pathway is much more sensitive to leucine than to any other amino acid.

Despite their vast consumption, they are only recommended in particular cases, and they are not valid for much in most cases.


When to take BCAAs

Before continuing, in the Diario Runner podcast, we talk about this supplement. You can listen to it on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or in your favorite app; here is the episode:

The best option is to take them from the diet and not as a sports supplement. In this case, the best sources of BCAAs are red meat, chicken, fish, shellfish, dairy, and eggs.

In the case of following a vegetarian diet, BCAAs can find in soybeans, beans, lentils, whole wheat, or nuts.

And, if you want to throw away supplements, standard whey protein also contains all of the BCAAs; in fact, it is 25% BCAAs.

It is only advisable to take them in the form of supplementation in some instances, such as low-calorie diets with few carbohydrates and fasting workouts, where there is a danger of loss of muscle mass due to having little glycogen and few amino acids in the blood at those times.

How to take BCAAs: amount and dosage

In these cases, it is advisable to take 4-8 g of BCAAs half an hour before training to minimize the risks of loss of muscle mass.

On the other hand, whey protein could provide the same benefits in these cases, but BCAAs has some peculiarities:

  •  Faster: They are free amino acids and do not need to be deferred, so they reach the blood quickly to be redistributed and used by the muscles.
  •  Fewer calories: Compared to whey protein, the caloric intake of BCAAs is not significant, something that can be important in periods where you want to burn fat.

Benefits of BCAAs

The primary function of BCAAs is to contribute to muscle recovery ( study ) through the formation of proteins, providing essential amino acids or “building blocks” on the one hand, and activating metabolic pathways such as the mTOR above.

However, that is not its only benefit, as there are a few more:

  • Preserve muscle glycogen since the same BCAAs can be used as fuel. ( study )
  • Improve sports performance, both in aerobic and anaerobic sports. ( study )
  • Reduce muscle pain after workouts.
  • Improve the functions of the immune system, contributing to the production of other amino acids. One of them is glutamine, a non-essential amino acid created by the body and the most abundant at the muscular level.


BCAA and EAA or Essential Amino Acids: Differences from BCCAS

As we have commented, the BCAAs would be the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), all of the essential amino acids, whose function is to maintain muscle tissue glycogen and prevent muscle protein breakdown.


On the other hand are the EAA or essential amino acids, which would generally group all essential amino acids. The BCAAs would be three of the eight essential amino acids.

Together, the EAAs are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine
  • Lysine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Training
  • Histidine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophan

All these essential amino acids must be obtained from the diet or, failing that, through supplementation. The human organism cannot manufacture them by itself. BCAAs are only a part of EAAs, and the latter is necessary to lead to complete protein synthesis and, of course, include all BCAAs.

Potential dangers of BCAAs

As with other sports supplements, BCAAs are not for everyone. Although at the moment, most studies have been carried out on animals, the researchers speculate that there could be harm in humans as well if they are consumed in excess.

On the one hand, excess BCCAS in rats is detrimental by causing accumulation of blood ammonia. This substance is not suitable for humans, although there is not enough evidence.


On the other hand, some studies in mice suggest that an excess of BCAAs would compete with tryptophan, another essential amino acid related to serotonin, a hormone with crucial functions in mood and appetite.

At the cardiovascular level, other studies have suggested that excess can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It has already been recommended that reducing the dietary consumption of BCAAs would help lose weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes accordingly. Here we talk about running to lose weight.

Even when it comes to muscle mass, some studies have found no benefits with BCAA supplementation: neither do they increase muscle mass, protein synthesis, nor performance, and they don’t seem to reduce fatigue either.

In these cases, all researchers have advised increasing the protein from the diet and not resorting to supplements such as BCAAs. They would only recommend in particular cases.

So, in summary, the ideal formula would be to carry out a healthy diet with the appropriate amount of macronutrients and proteins, always using natural proteins. And, if you want to use supplementation, BCAAs would only be recommended in particular cases; general whey protein would suffice in almost any subject.


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Do BCAAs do anything?

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are necessary, meaning they can’t be produced by your body and must be obtained from food. BCAA supplements have been shown to build muscle, decrease muscle fatigue and alleviate muscle soreness.

When should I take BCAA for best results?

To prevent further fatigue, it’s best to take BCAA supplements before a workout, up to 15 minutes pre-workout, or during your training.

Should BCAAs be taken daily?

Research has shown supplemental BCAA intake to be safe for healthy adults in doses of 4-20 g per day, with prolonged information one week or more showing more significant benefits than acute (short-term) intake. Aim for 2-3 g leucine between meals, before, during, or after workouts to maximize muscle protein synthesis.


How often should you drink BCAAs? When to Take BCAA Supplements

We recommend taking BCAA supplements about 15 minutes before exercising when it comes to timing. If you accept these supplements as part of your daily nutrition and lifestyle, it is safe to take them up to three times a day, depending on the size of the serving.

Should BCAA be taken on an empty stomach?

However, with this type of supplement, you don’t have to worry: It’s better to take BCAAs without food in your stomach. When you take a BCAA supplement, you want the amino acids to take effect as quickly as possible, whether you’re taking them before, during, or after your workout.

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You might find it challenging to follow a diet or workout regimen or need help staying motivated. However, it could also be muscle fatigue that’s slowing you down. Sometimes people are not equipped with the right tools to accomplish their goals. You should consider adding branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to your routine.

What exactly are BCAAs? What do branched-chain amino acids do, and how do they impact your fitness goals? When is the best time to take BCAAs as part of your exercise routine?

Keep reading to find out. We’ll answer all these questions about BCAAs and more to help you determine if taking a branched-chain amino acid supplement will benefit your fitness goals.

What Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

First, start with the basics: what are branched-chain amino acids?

BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. Your body needs these amino acids to rebuild and grow new muscle.

There are a total of 20 different types of amino acids. The body only produces 11 naturally. You need to get the other nine through your diet or supplements.

These nine essential amino acids include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

To maintain muscle mass your body needs leucine, valine, and isoleucine, or branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. BCAAs comprise roughly 25% of the body’s muscle protein. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t make these amino independently, meaning you must get them from food or supplementation.

Leucine is critical for muscle protein synthesis and preventing muscle catabolism. During exercise, leucine diminishes. It would help if you replaced it through your diet or supplementation. Leucine helps stimulate protein synthesis, allowing the body to build more muscle. It also inhibits the breakdown of muscle tissue.

Accomplishing Your Fitness Goals: Why Take BCAAs?

How exactly will BCAA supplementation help you achieve your fitness goals? There are a few different ways supplementation can support your routine.

For starters, BCAAs can help reduce the fatigue you experience while exercising.BCAAs help limit the entry of tryptophan into the brain. Your brain uses tryptophan to produce serotonin, and too much serotonin can contribute to exercise fatigue.

BCAAs may reduce muscle soreness and enhance the muscle recovery you experience after working out. After exercising, it’s common to experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is a form of exercise-induced muscle damage. It can impact your recovery time and fitness goals.

Taking branched-chain amino acids may help. BCAAs can attenuate exercise-induced muscle damage caused by DOMS. This study shows a significant decrease in DOMS following post-exercise BCAA supplementation.

Consider using branched-chain amino acids to promote muscle building after exercise as well. Protein that contains BCAAs can stimulate protein synthesis in the muscles. It can also keep muscle protein from breaking down, to begin with.

If you’re planning on a long workout, try BCAA supplementation.BCAAs can help provide you with energy. Otherwise, levels of glucose (your muscles’ primary energy source) can drop low.

Amino acids help you burn more fat. In particular, consider combining leucine with glutamine. This amino may help reduce excessive fat and normalize visceral fat, benefiting anyone looking to lose extra pounds.

As a bonus, BCAAs can give your immune cells a boost.

Plus, BCAAs are convenient and portable. You can only sometimes carry fish, chicken, or other protein sources. BCAA supplements are easy to store, transport, and digest.

When to Take BCAAs

Now that you know more about branched-chain amino acids, let’s discuss adding them to your routine. When is the best time to take BCAA supplements? The answer may be dependent on your desired benefits.

Pre-Workout BCAA Supplementation

Consider taking BCAAs up to 15 minutes before a workout. Try adding 5 to 10 grams to a protein shake to fuel your body and amplify the benefits of your protein drink.

BCAA levels peak about 30 minutes after consumption. Therefore, time your BCAAs to kick in when needed most to maximize their fatigue-reducing benefits. Taking BCAAs before a workout also acts as an additional energy source for your muscles after depleting your glucose.

Post-Workout BCAA Supplementation

Otherwise, consider taking BCAA supplements after your workout when your body needs protein for building muscle and reducing muscle catabolism. Taking BCAAs after working out can minimize muscle breakdown, reduce muscle soreness, and jumpstart muscle repair.

The bottom line, choose when to take BCAAs based on your distinct goals. Taking BCAAs before a workout will delay fatigue and give your muscles extra energy. Taking BCAAs afterward will help your body repair, rebuild, and refresh your muscles.

BCAA Tablets Vs. Powder

BCAAs are widely available in both tablet and powder form. Tablets are easy to swallow before and after workouts. Powders are best mixed with your favorite protein shake or an electrolyte drink.

Either type of BCAA will perform the same functions in your body. BCAA powder will flood your muscles with amino quickly. However, capsules are typically the simplest to transport.

Whichever type of BCAAs you prefer, consider using a BlenderBottle® ProStak® shaker bottle, which comes with attached containers to make carrying both powders and pills easy.

Ready to Try BCAAs?

Taking BCAAs is one way to support your fitness goals. In review, amino acids may help suppress muscle protein breakdown while stimulating protein synthesis. You can take BCAAs before or after working out to reduce fatigue and help repair your muscles.

Want to experience these benefits for yourself? A BlenderBottle¬Æ shaker is the tool to mix perfect protein shakes, BCAAs, or any supplement to fuel your fitness routine. 

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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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