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BCAAS: What Are They and Do I Need Them?

BCAA - what are they and should I be taking them?

BCAA, short for Branch Chain Amino Acids, are a form of amino acids.

There are over 80 different amino acids, but our bodies use only 20. There are 11 amino acids that are non-essential aminos - these are still used by the body but don’t need to be taken in supplement form, as the body makes it on its own!

The remaining 9 are essential aminos, which are consumed through food or supplementation. The 3 most important amino acids for muscle building are;




These three are called branch chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs. BCAA’s are key amino acids for modulating muscle protein metabolism, leading to an increase in muscle protein anabolism (building cells). Protein is made up of amino acids therefore when you consume any form of protein, it’s broken down into amino acids for use by the body for repair.

Supplement companies will tell you that BCAAs are vital for muscle growth, but in reality, BCAAs are a broken down form of protein. Supplement companies suggest that BCAA supplements are metabolised directly in the muscle - however science and research shows that if you consume a well balanced diet with sufficient protein intake, the bloodstream ALREADY contain these amino acids to flow to the working muscles and promote recovery during the workout. Hence why consuming protein is SO important!

By just consuming BCAA without aiming for moderate-high protein targets, you are missing out on a huge aspect of muscle gain. The only time research suggests you need BCAAs while working out is if you are exercising on an empty stomach and glycogen and energy stores are low.

A recent study by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2021) have concluded that...

“The proposed benefits of BCAA used in the marketing of supplements appear to be at odds with the overall state of the current literature, which does not support the efficacy of supplementation on muscular strength and hypertrophy”.

In conclusion, BCAA sadly are a big marketing ploy which are most definitely not necessary for you to reach your goals. Save your money on BCAAs, eat a high protein diet and train hard! I will do another blog post on protein and how much you need to consume!

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