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Old 01-29-2014, 12:47 PM   #1
LoCarbGal
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Question about BCAA (branch chain amino acids)

We've been talking a lot about body composition, building and maintaining muscle mass, and protein intake here lately, and I recall seeing a few scattered references to BCAAs around (Mike, I think you drink them with your workouts?). I want to know more.

I am wondering if this would be a good way to get the benefits of more protein, without the added calories of eating more protein. The drinks I've been looking at are sugar/carb free and have something like 10 calories per serving.

Any of you using BCAAs? How do you use them? Can you feel/tell any difference? Any particular brands? I'd be interested in any information at all!
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:19 PM   #3
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I am taking them before I work out with weights when fasting and after running. I had read that they help prevent your body from breaking down your muscle for protein. I am not sure if I have that quite right or if I am taking it correctly so hopefully someone understands this better then me! I can't tell any difference when I take it but maybe my body does.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
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A body building site I cannot link to has a great article on BCAA'S if you search for BCAA. Basically BCAA'S prevent the breakdown of muscle when eating at a deficit, dieting or fasting. So I would say for JUDDD everyone should be having them on DD's.

They also increase your rate of protein synthesis and the cells capacity for protein synthesis so you can reap more benefit from the protein you eat.

Find and read the article. Very informative.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:45 PM   #5
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Where can you find BCAAs other than online, typically. Big retail chain, grocery store, etc.? Thanks for starting this thread--one more thing I need!
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:25 PM   #6
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I'm interested as well and had done some reading, but didn't find anything compelling enough to by the supplement.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:49 PM   #7
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I specifically buy Scivation Xtend which is just BCAA's and use that before/during a workout. But my Optimum Nutrition Whey protein mix also has BCAA's in it as well, which make sense so you can better utilize the protein. I'm sure both could be found at a GNC. I can get the ON at Costco. But I usually buy both online, and end up getting better prices and free 2day shipping where I buy from.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:54 PM   #8
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The Scivation Xtend is fairly expensive, but has about 90 servings and I drink that instead of bottled water during a workout. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but I'm happy so far with my progress and I'm just going to assume it is making a positive contribution to that progress.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:02 PM   #9
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I've read a few good articles on some different bodybuilding sites, Mike. I wonder if I read the one you're referring to. They are rather convincing, and along with your endorsement, I think I'll go ahead and order some from the big A and try drinking them before/after the workout schedule I plan to start in February. Also I may drink a serving each DD to help boost "protein" intake w/o extra calories.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarygirl View Post
Where can you find BCAAs other than online, typically. Big retail chain, grocery store, etc.? Thanks for starting this thread--one more thing I need!
I'm pretty sure I've seen them at the Vitamin Shoppe, but didn't know enough about them to really look at them.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:01 AM   #11
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Mine are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I ordered the BSN Amino-X in Fruit Punch flavor.

I'm going to wait to start my intense workouts until I have it. It's supposed to ward off the fatigue you get while working out hard that makes you want to quit. I think it will also ease my mind on DDs about not getting enough protein. I suspect that has been contributing to making my DDs harder and making me want to eat more calories lately.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:34 AM   #12
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Did I read it's good for the hunger feeling? Or did I dream it?
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:50 AM   #13
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I'm not sure about that, Terri. But that would be a great effect!
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:44 PM   #14
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I go back and forth on whether "to protein or not to protein" on DDs. One of the things that attracted me to ADF in the first place was the promise of lower IGF-1 and its possible anti-aging effect. Lowered IGF-1 comes from protein restriction, not calorie restriction, and I've read some posts on Mosley's 5:2 forum where people that ate protein on DDs didn't see a drop in IGF-1.

On the flip side, I don't want to run the risk of muscle loss by doing a full fast on DDs over a long period of time.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:31 PM   #15
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In the absence of protein, BCAA's will prevent the breakdown of muscle. So on a DD where your protein is lower it should help to maintain your LBM. And then on your UD's load up on the protein. That is what I usually did to offset the low protein on a DD. Also doing low carb for me made that much easier because I could replace carbs calorie for calorie with protein.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:34 PM   #16
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Mike. Exactly what I'm hoping for!
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:16 PM   #17
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I got a bottle of BCAA today! I was sold by reading it can help people maintain lean body mass even when cutting calories.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:45 PM   #18
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Since we're both having body composition tested, and trying to retain/gain LBM, this should be an interesting experiment, Christina.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:53 PM   #19
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I agree!

I've only taken the BCAA capsules twice so far, but both times I felt a sense of well being shortly afterwards. That wasn't something I was expecting, so I don't think it was the placbo effect or anything like that, but it could be a coincidence. Interesting, though.

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:41 AM   #20
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I took one scoop pre-workout, and then another post-workout this morning. And have had nothing else so far today except water and black coffee. I feel great! I really like the fruit punch flavor and it's slightly effervescent. I want to believe that this will really help!
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:07 AM   #21
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Here's a question for anyone who knows. My BCAAs say each serving is 10g of amino acids. So is that equivalent to 10g of protein?
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCarbGal View Post
Here's a question for anyone who knows. My BCAAs say each serving is 10g of amino acids. So is that equivalent to 10g of protein?
BCAA's are just a subset of the essential amino acids, so they are protein.

I'm still concerned how BCAAs would affect IGF-1. Most muscle head type sites claim that BCAAs stimulate IGF-1 (good for muscle growth, bad for aging and for cancer). However, most actual research papers I found claim that BCAAs maintain muscle while suppressing IGF-1, so they propose that they are good for cancer treatment (they don't treat cancer, just help prevent the wasting).

I decided that since I don't eat on DDs, this might be a good thing to try. I found a 250 g bag (25 10g servings) by Bulk Supplements for $19 and free shipping. It isn't the best price per serving but fairly painless cost-wise, so I figured I could try it and if it seems like it helps, I can get a better price.
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:42 AM   #23
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Dr Sara Solomon is an ex pro body competitor who ate 6 meals a day when preparing for comps and went on record to say she wrecked her metabolism so badly that she was living on 800 calories a day with hours of cardio and not losing. She switched to alternate day fasting and now does 20 minutes exercise a day and is in the best shape ever. She advocates BCAA's on her fast days so if you do an internet search for her you may find some of the science behind the BCAA's.
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:01 PM   #24
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Thanks guys. Mojo, I've been reading Dr Sara, and she's partly why I decided to try the BCAAs. I'll research her site more carefully.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:36 PM   #25
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I've been a little bit worried about losing LBM with fasting so I bought the Scivation Extra. Question for Mike or others who are using it: how much? Just one serving (scoopful) per day? Only on down days or with exercise? Can you take too much of it?

By the way, I bought the blue raspberry flavor and it's very tasty.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:40 PM   #26
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FWIW, whey protein is 25% BCAA, so, personally, I would only use the expensive BCAAs on DDs, where you don't want the extra calories from the whey.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:31 PM   #27
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I used to have it on both days when I was still doing DD's. Now I just have it during training mostly. Just one scoop in a blender bottle full of water, and blue raspberry is delicious. Whey protein does have BCAA's but I don't usually use them, as I like my protein in the for of bacon!
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:33 PM   #28
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Me too, Mike! Right now I'm getting plenty of protein, and also not doing DDs, but this is something that interests me...when I go back to rotations.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:36 PM   #29
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I used to have it on both days when I was still doing DD's. Now I just have it during training mostly. Just one scoop in a blender bottle full of water, and blue raspberry is delicious. Whey protein does have BCAA's but I don't usually use them, as I like my protein in the for of bacon!
Yeah, I should have mentioned that the protein in regular meat is 10-15% BCAA (slightly higher in fish). I just mentioned whey as it is an easy way to add protein without a ton of calories (or the cost of isolated BCAAs).
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:21 PM   #30
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I decided that since I don't eat on DDs, this might be a good thing to try. I found a 250 g bag (25 10g servings) by Bulk Supplements for $19 and free shipping. It isn't the best price per serving but fairly painless cost-wise, so I figured I could try it and if it seems like it helps, I can get a better price.
Looks like I wasted $19. That was some of the most vile crap I've ever tasted. I even kept tasting it later and kept burping it up so it wouldn't even be worth swallowing it in a capsule. Live and learn.
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