Supplements often carry the image of “doping” products or of non-natural substances with no positive effects on our body. In this column, we will develop the different supplements that you can find in your gym: their origins, effects, utilities.
Supplement of the day: BCAA
Branched Chain Amino Acid is known by the acronym BCAA. Its name comes from its molecular structure as a chain. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are 20 in number. There are certain “essential” amino acids (8 in number) so called because it is impossible for the body to produce and synthesize them naturally. When the body needs energy, it can break down muscle to take the amino acids and use them as an energy source.
BCAA includes three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine
Leucine is a source of energy. It stimulates protein synthesis and is involved in the healing of the skin and bones. We find leucine in foods such as whole grains (wheat, rice), nuts and meat. Isoleucine is involved in energy production, improves endurance levels and is a source of energy for muscles. We find isoleucine in fish, lentils and almonds. Valine helps in the body’s recovery efforts and contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system. We find valine in mushrooms, dairy products and meat. A deficiency in amino acids can lead to physical and intellectual weakness.
Why use BCAA if we can find these amino acids in our diet?
Taking supplements allows a much faster synthesis of proteins, and thus a greater and quicker supply of energy. Before an amino acid is synthesized from the diet, it must first pass through decomposition, digestion and absorption.In conclusion, I would say that if you are an athlete, if you prepare for any type of competition or if you exercise intensely on a regular basis (at least 3 times per week), taking a supplement is essential for protein synthesis and fast recovery. For an average person with a well-balanced diet, however, taking a supplement is not essential.