When I hear the word “acid”, I automatically think it is bad for you. That is not the case for Amino Acids. You probably have seen, at some point or will see, the letters BCAA and/or EAA in you CrossFit journey. BCAA stands for Branched-chain Amino Acids and EAA stands for Essential Amino Acids. BCAAs, unlike most other amino acids, are metabolized within muscle tissue, allowing them to be oxidized (used as energy) by muscle cells to produce cellular energy in the form of ATP. ATP is the primary source of energy that fuels muscle contraction and allows you to lift weights. Amino acids are essential (hence the phrase “essential amino acids”) to optimal health. There are 22 essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. Of all these protein building blocks; leucine, valine, and isoleucine are known to comprise 1/3 of the amino acids within the muscle tissue. It is, therefore, crucial for men and women to include BCAAs as part of their supplementation regimen. The body uses them to make enzymes that support biochemical reactions and hormones that influence the body’s metabolism. They also make hemoglobin that carries oxygen through the body, and antibodies that are infection fighters that help the immune system. They are GOOD for you! Amino acids play a dynamic role in repairing muscles, ligaments, tendons as well as glands, organs and more. EAA’s also serve as leaders to help vitamins and minerals to do their jobs in our bodies.
When shopping for BCAAs, as always it is best to choose the variety that fits your needs and your lifestyle. The most important consideration when buying BCAA is the company that makes it. Choose a product which is developed by a reputable brand. It is important to remember that BCAA supplementation should only be taken in prescribed amounts.