What’s the most important ingredient when choosing a protein powder? You might have not heard of it.
When choosing a protein supplement, it is important to choose one with special amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). What is a BCAA? The body’s proteins are made up of 20 different amino acids that in different combinations make thousands of proteins in the human body. Of the 20, nine are considered essential, meaning your body can’t make them so they must be obtained through your diet. Of these nine, three essential amino acids are classified as BCAAs. All three are important for muscle growth and development.
Three amino acids – valine, leucine and isoleucine – are the BCAAs you need. They are unique amino acids because they have branched side chains and are present in very high amounts in muscle tissue in comparison to other amino acids. BCAAs are responsible for muscle mass and they help alleviate muscle fatigue caused by muscle damage. If you’re sore after exercise or simply want to build more muscle mass, you need BCAAs. These three BCAAs account for 40 to 45% of all amino acids your body needs, and 35% of the essential ones, so you need a constant and steady intake.
The body can’t make these, so a diet of dairy, eggs and meat can usually provide daily BCAA protein amounts. But what if you don’t like or don’t eat dairy, eggs and meat? This is why choosing a BCAA protein powder is a good idea.
BCAAs can also help reduce or prevent muscle wasting. The body usually balances protein breakdown with protein synthesis (rebuilding) but muscle wasting occurs when breakdown exceeds the rebuilding. It is often a sign of cancer, chronic infection and of course malnutrition.
If eggs, dairy and meat are not your thing, there is a supplement. It’s called Touchstone Super Protein and we’ll talk more about it in Friday’s newsletter.