by Dr. David Minkoff March 08, 2023 5 min read
Wow, those are some big claims in that title.
But note the, “over time,” part of the title. Because, no, it isn’t immediate.
But, yes, BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids, do contribute to building fat over time, as well as reducing muscle gains… and kidney trouble, and type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, and obesity, and…
Here. Let me explain.
We know about protein and collagen and amino acids.
Protein is composed of amino acids — nothing but amino acids — and collagen is a type of protein.
When we eat protein and collagen, our digestive system breaks it down into individual amino acids and then our cells build these back up into new protein and collagen for muscle, skin, bone, hormones, etc.
But… there are specific amino acids our bodies use for this and aminos our bodies don’t.
These are called essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are the amino acids your body cannot make on its own, hence the word essential. Instead, we need to get them from outside food sources.
Non-essential amino acids are the amino acids your body can make on its own — when it has all of the essential amino acids.
But that’s the trick. It must have all of the essential amino acids at the same time in order to make each of the non-essential amino acids.
If it doesn’t, then it can’t make non-essential amino acids and it can’t make new protein or collagen.
Not any. It’s physically impossible.
This is where you hear about complete proteins and incomplete proteins.
Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids. So your body can break them down, get all of the EAAs from them, and build new proteins and collagen from these.
Incomplete proteins only have some of the EAAs. So your body breaks them down into individual amino acids, but, as some of the EAAs are missing, your body can’t make any new protein from them.
This is why we have certain food combinations such as beans and rice. Individually, neither have all of the essential amino acids. But together they do. So our body can break them down, get all of the EAAs, and make new proteins.
BCAAs are an “incomplete protein.”
Well, they’re not a protein at all. They’re three of the EAAs.
So, when taken, they don’t give the body what it needs to make new protein, and so can’t be used.
And that’s the problem.
Your body doesn’t just need all of the essential amino acids to build new protein and collagen. It needs them all at the same time.
You see, both fat and sugar (carbohydrates) can be stored by the body so they can be used later on.
But not amino acids. They’re in the blood stream for about 2-3 hours. And if they’re not used in that time, they go through a process called gluconeogenesis.
This is where the amino acids themselves are broken down. From here they’re converted into sugar, fat, or other energy forms.
These are the actual calories in any protein source. The amino acids that weren’t used to build new protein, but were converted to sugar or fat.
So when we consume BCAAs, which are only three of the essential amino acids, our body can’t do anything but convert them to energy. That’s what you feel in the gym when you take them — a sugar rush.
You may as well have eaten a candy bar. At least the candy bar can be immediately broken down into sugar.
BCAAs can’t. They first need to be broken down in the liver before being converted into sugar.
But breaking down amino acids also releases nitrogen waste and ammonia.
This is fine, it happens all the time, but with natural proteins it happens much less.
With natural proteins only part of them have to be broken down in the body.
But with BCAAs it’s all of them.
When taken often, this creates quite a bit of strain on our liver and kidneys.
This is that ammonia smell some people have when they sweat — too many unused amino acids overloading their liver and kidneys.
This is also where the idea that too much protein is toxic comes from.
Protein isn’t toxic. Amino acids that weren’t used to make new protein, but were instead broken down, releasing nitrogen that strains the liver and kidneys… those are toxic.
Good marketing. That’s the first reason.
A lot of influencers these days will promote many things for the right amount of money, even if they don’t use the products themselves (which they often don’t).
But it’s the claims which can be tied to the individual amino acids that make BCAAs look so attractive:
“BCAAs stimulate the building of protein in muscle and possibly reduce muscle breakdown.”
“Valine is needed for your muscle fibers to fire, for tissue repair, and for the maintenance of proper nitrogen balance in the body.”
“Leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis and may be the dominant fuel involved in anabolic (tissue building) reactions.”
“Isoleucine is essential for blood sugar regulation, muscle development and repair, and energy regulation.”
This sounds great.
And all of it is true… if your body receives all of the essential amino acids at the same time.
Does that make sense?
You need the BCAAs for sure. But unless they’re combined with each of the other essential amino acids, they’ll just be converted to sugar or body fat.
Over time this really does put a strain on your body.
Plus, this added sugar raises cortisol levels, a hormone that prioritizes the building of body fat and breaking down of muscle. So you have to work harder to build muscle and keep body fat levels low.
BCAAs are now associated with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.
I won’t get into all of that. A simple search of BCAAs side-effects will give you much more than you wanted to know.
But it doesn’t matter. Because either way, you don’t need them. They don’t actually do anything for you.
PerfectAmino is all of the essential amino acids.
Even more, it’s the essential amino acids in the exact ratio one to another needed by the body for 99% utilization in building new protein and collagen — over twice the utilization of the highest known natural protein source: whole eggs.
Meaning, even 5 grams of PerfectAmino produce less than 1 calorie in the body, while building as much protein in the body as two eggs, or 30 grams of whey (a much lower utilized protein source).
And, PerfectAmino, unless taken in the most extreme excess, not only puts no strain on the liver or kidneys, but helps to repair tissue for improved function.
On the Lean Bulk Protocol (building lean muscle without the excess fat) we won’t be taking any BCAAs or individual amino acids.
And we won’t need to.
It’s amazing what can happen when we just give the body what it actually needs.
If you haven't read it yet, go here to read What Is Lean Bulking & Is It Possible?
Then go here for WEEK ONE of the Lean Bulk Guide & 30-Day Challenge.
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And if you have any questions, make sure to join our VIP Group where you can ask any question you have and get only the best answers.
You’re going to have so much fun on this program!The Lean Bulk Guide & 30-Day Challenge
by Dr. David Minkoff
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