EFFECT OF BCAAS ON MUSCLES APPEAR TO BE DOSE DEPENDENT
Natural Bodybuilders are always looking for a quicker way to build more lean mass and it does appear that supplementing with BCAA’s offer a great deal more than many of the overly hyped up supplements available on the market. However, looking through some of the research it does appear that the potential muscle and performance gains including fat loss are dose related. Let’s have a look at some of the recent studies.
BCAAs The researchers performed an experiment on 54 fit students, of whom most did running or cycling in their free time. The subjects followed a training program consisting of continuous sessions of 30 and 60 minutes and interval training consisting of four-minute sets. They did this for a period of 11 weeks.
Most of the studies in which lab animals or humans were given BCAAs focus on markers. The researchers looked at molecules that are assumed to reveal how much muscle protein organisms build up or how much fat they break down. But there are few studies in which researchers have just directly measured the amount of strength or muscle bodybuilders built up.
Study One exception is the study that Mike Spillane presented in 2013 at the annual meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In that study he got 19 men to do, for the first time in their lives, weight training for eight weeks. Half of the men took 4.5 g BCAAs half an hour before and half an hour after the training session. So they took a total of 9 g BCAAs per day.
At the end of the trial the subjects who had taken BCAAs had built up more lean body mass than the subjects in the placebo group. What’s more, the subjects in the BCAA group had lost a little bit of fat mass, while the subjects in the placebo group had gained a little bit of fat. But the differences between the groups were not statistically significant.
Another study Four years previously, Jim Stoppani presented a comparable study, also at the annual meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In that study 36 experienced bodybuilders trained for eight weeks in the same way and followed the same diet.
The researchers divided their subjects into three groups. During the training period one group was given a supplement containing 28 g fast carbohydrates, another a supplement containing 28 g whey, and the third a supplement containing 14 g BCAAs.
The study showed that the BCAA group built up more muscle mass and strength than the other groups. In fact the BCAA group showed an increase of 4kg in 2 months!
It does appear that the benefits from supplementing with BCAA’s are somewhat dose dependant based on the studies above. Also timing may be an important factor, supplementing both before and after workouts and possibly during with an intra workout drink.
Reference: J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009; 6(Suppl 1): P1.