Often, the supplements game is thought of as a man’s world. Wrong! So you think BCAAs are strictly off limits for women? That’s a bit of a misconception – women are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits BCAAs provide.
With so many options out there, what are the best BCAA supplements for women? I’ve taken a look at the choices and found the best products on the market.
What are BCAAs?
Let’s do a quick rundown of a few basic facts. BCAAs are “branched chain amino acids”. Amino acids are the all important building blocks that make up protein.
Protein helps build muscle and as we are all well aware, muscle is crucial when it comes to fitness, strength and performance.
BCAAs are a combination of three essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured within the body, so can only be acquired through dietary sources or alternatively by taking supplements.
There are nine essential amino acids in total but the three that make up BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These branched chain amino acids make up 35% of muscle protein and are the most important when it comes to building and maintaining lean muscle.
Leucine is by far the most crucial amino acid. Research suggests it’s the main BCAA which is primarily responsible for stimulating protein synthesis in the body to build muscle.
Isoleucine is said to increase energy levels and regulates glucose in the blood. It also has similar functions as to those of leucine.
Valine helps stimulate the central nervous system. It also helps prevent muscle breakdown by supplying extra glucose to the areas required when doing physical exercise. So this amino acid gives support to the recovery and muscle building process.
As you can see, by combining these three amino acids the potential benefits are endless. If you are looking to maximise your workout results, you seriously need to consider adding BCAAs to your regime
How Much Protein do You need?
As mentioned, essential amino acids cannot be made within the body, so you need to get them via external protein sources. The recommended daily allowance for adult women is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. This would amount to 50 grams of protein per day for an average woman at 63 kilograms
These allowances are based upon what your body needs to complete basic daily functions. It comes as no surprise that when you increase your activity levels, you must increase your protein intake.
Research suggests that strength athletes need to increase their protein levels between 1.4 grams to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Endurance athletes need to increase their protein levels 1.2 grams to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
In simple terms, an active woman with an average weight of 63 kilograms could need 113 grams of protein per day.
Where Can You Find All That Protein?
First and foremost, It’s very important to get protein into your diet from organic, whole food sources. Although 113 grams per day may seem like a large target to hit, protein can be found in a wide variety of food groups.
Lean red meat, chicken breast, eggs and fish such as salmon are all good sources of natural proteins.
Protein can be found in high levels in dairy products such as Greek yogurt, milk and cottage cheese.
Soy, quinoa, hemp and nuts such as almonds are also excellent plant based sources of proteins.
What are the Benefits of BCAAs?
As we said above, if you increase activity, you need to increase your protein intake in order to get those all essential amino acids. If you’re struggling to get enough protein into your diet, branched chain amino acid supplements are a great addition to help maintain and build muscle. Whatever fitness goals you have in mind, BCAAs can benefit in so many different ways.
Reduces Muscle Fatigue, Helps You Recover Faster
Recovery plays an important role in exercise and BCAAs can help you recover quicker by reducing the effect of muscle fatigue. In one recent study it was shown that taking BCAAs before exercise delayed the onset of muscle soreness. The faster you recover the sooner you can see results.
Improves Muscle Growth
There has always been a stigma attached to supplements and muscle growth. Many women seem to think muscle is just bulk, but that really isn’t the case. BCAAs increase lean muscle mass and fat loss but that doesn’t mean you will turn into the Incredible Hulk!
If you are trying to lose weight, BCAAs may be helpful in dropping those few extra pounds. It helps by delivering muscle growing/maintaining abilities without the addition of extra calories. This allows you to reduce your waistline without muscle wastage.
What are the Best BCAA Supplements for Women?
Like any supplement, the sheer volume of products available can be overwhelming. So in order to help you make an informed decision when choosing a BCAA supplement, I’ve taken a look at the best on the market and chosen five quality products to share with you today.
My pick for the best BCAA supplement for women has to be Ideal Lean BCAAs for Women. It stands out from the crowd and strikes me as a well thought out, good quality product. The manufacturer has really considered what could be beneficial for women’s health and well being, including vital additional vitamins and antioxidants that so many women need.
It’s got a good dose of BCAAs to help maximise your workouts and increase your gains on performance and recover effectively. For those counting calories, the low carb, zero sugar and special “fat loss blend” are definitely attractive. Overall, I think this would be a good choice for any ladies out there looking to add BCAAs to their diet.
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