I am a bit confused as to what these two are and why athletes take them. I have done some research on these two supplements, but when I feel encouraged to buy them I always back down, because I want to eat or be as natural as possible. Excuse me here if I am not well educated on these supplements and their advantages and disadvantages, but that is why I am asking on someone's opinion about these two. Are they the same thing? Does BCAA already contain glutamine or the other way around? Should i be taking them since I do cross fit. I already take a protein shake, doesn't the protein shakes already have these things in them? Do they harm the body? Which is a better option? Anything will help. Thanks
asked byTahimy (10)
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on May 16, 2013
at 08:23 AM
BCAA are branched-chain amino-acids consisting of leucine, isoleucine and valine. You can think of them as the ultimate broken down form of the proteins you would eat through diet, only that in these case there are just 3 of those amino-acids (there are plenty of them). This tree are also essential amino-acids, that means that you have to get them from the diet, your body cannot make them. The thing is that these three seem to have a pretty important role in mantaining and building muscle so that's what they are typically used as a sports supplement. They are also used a lot by people doing intermmitent fasting in order to prevent muscle breakdown from the fast.
Whether they really work or not its debatable but at least it's one of the supps that has more evidence of being useful and not just crap. See http://examine.com/supplements/Branched+Chain+Amino+Acids/
At least its a safe supp so I guess you cannot go very wrong with it, only way to know is buy and try. I'd seek for tablet forms as powder is said to taste really ugly and the other flavored formula's that are very famous and work well have many additives... I personally prefer to stay away nowadays from this but I used Purple Wrath intra-workout and had great training sessions with it hehe.
They're typically used pre, intra and post workout because they work pretty well to prevent catabolism as well, if you were to pick just one timing some think that they work their best pre-workout or intra-workout on long trainings. If I do some weigh training and then an endurance run, I usually have them in between to help with the catabolism that comes from endurance training.
Glutamine is another amino-acid, this one is not essential so your body can make it but it also seems to be the case than many could benefit from supplemented, specially witt vegans/vegetarians as the dietary source it's mainly from red meat. It's usually taken post-workout or before bed time because of it's supposed rebuilding abilities, but not so many gym dudes know that it also seems to be pretty important aiding in healing the gut, something many paleo folks here look forward a lot.
There's some evidence that it really has legit benefits but as always this is pretty debatable. See http://examine.com/supplements/Glutamine/.
I like just not to look at literature but also make my own statistics on what the people is reporting on the net about all kind of sups. Most people are happy with both BCAA and Glutamine but it can perfectly be placebo effect. But at least not many are unpleased with them and that's also important IMO.
As for my self, I do have some belief in that they may aid but to be honest I'm not sure I could say that I could quantify any kind of improvement from taking them but I guess I'll never now.
Bottom line is that if you're considering some supps to aid in performance these two are some of the most natural and safe you could try.
on May 16, 2013
at 08:13 AM
"The research on glutamine and immune system function is actually rather mixed, some finds that it works while other work has not. It???s more likely that branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation, discussed in the next section, works as well if not better. My general feeling is that, if sufficient dietary protein is being consumed, additional BCAA is unnecessary and will have little to no effect. In most studies where BCAA had a benefit, it was on a background of inadequate protein intake." - Lyle McDonald. http://bit.ly/10UOGaV, http://bit.ly/10UOGb3
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are what your body uses by breaking down proteins during digestion.
BCAA's and Glutamine useful even when protein intake is high? http://bit.ly/103cSTK
Some people also use them during a fast to prevent potential muscle loss (whether they are really needed on < 16 hours is debatable). Whey protein already has both BCAAs and glutamine. The difference is time of digestion, that being you need to digest whole proteins (like whey) into their amino acid parts.
Glutamine is often used for gut health/healing as the intestinal cells prefer it as fuel.
Some BCAAs supplements such as Scivation XTend include Glutamine.
I once compared the BCAAs in eggs versus XTend. Scroll to the bottom of the page and see my comments: http://bit.ly/103bRuW
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) is a term used to refer to three amino acids that are grouped together due to having branched chains; these are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. http://examine.com/supplements/Branched+Chain+Amino+Acids/
Glutamine is one of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids in dietary protein. http://examine.com/supplements/Glutamine/