Are BCAAs an Alternative to Anabolic Steroids?

In the usual bodybuilding locker room talk, it is quite unusual to NOT hear about the use of anabolic steroids. However, there is a new contender when it comes to muscle building supplements. Enter BCAA’s or Branched-Chain Amino Acids, this compound always inevitably comes up in conversations about muscle building. The debate on how to gain muscle goes on and this compound is really gaining in momentum in its popularity over steroids.

Branch Chain Amino Acids

It is a popular supplement for some time for bodybuilders and gym goers. It also increases muscle mass and prevents the catabolic effects of intense training. Specifically, BCAAs are a group of amino acids namely, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are all naturally occurring but gym buffs prefer taking them in capsule or tablet form as supplements.

muscle soreness after training

How are They Different From Steroids?

The key difference between steroids and BCAAs is that BCAAs does not directly enhance performance but rather aid in muscle recovery and preparation before and after a strenuous activity like a workout. Research has shown that BCAA supplementation Before and after exercise greatly reduced muscle damage due to exercise. Taking them after an exercise has shown that it modifies cytokine production – again decreasing the inflammatory process associated following physical activity. Another significant difference is that while steroids may have the side effect of you gaining fat, BCAAs are the opposite as they play an important role in glucose homeostasis and body weight reduction.

Muscle Recovery

Muscle recovery is the number one advantage of BCAA’s over steroidal supplementation. They are especially helpful after your training. They can also be found in whey supplements and in tablet or capsule form and both affect skeletal muscles. They not only aid in muscle recovery but prevent muscle catabolism as well which is great for athletes especially bodybuilders who need to eat enormous amounts of protein just to maintain their muscle mass. They just stop muscle catabolism and they can also minimize the onset of muscle soreness after training. In terms of what do muscles do under the influence of BCAAs, its the same as under anabolic steroids and some swear its the better choice, considering the effects of steroids. But what really is this BCAA?

Serotonin Production

BCAA’s also increased serotonin production by countering the enzyme tryptophan which in turn prevents serotonin production contributing to fatigue. Serotonin has a vital role in fatigue ‘Perception” among athletes and the more serotonin available for you, the better your mindset is with regards to achieving your body mass goals.

The Takeaway

BCAAs are a great addition to your arsenal of weapons in bodybuilding. These compounds can make a tremendous improvement in your overall performance and can be a boost in achieving your desired form.

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