Branched Chain Amino Acid Formula (BCAA)
Branched Chain Amino Acid Formula (BCAA)
Contributed by Michael P. Ciell, RPh, Chief Science Advisor
After many months of research and development, Ideal Protein is very pleased to announce the launch of our new, very unique branched chain amino acid formula. This formula is very different from other BCAA supplements currently on the market and was specifically formulated for use, both in the weight loss phases of the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Protocol and in maintenance (particularly with patients or clients who want to exercise and/or build muscle mass).
The product is offered in a powder form (fruit punch flavour) and is supplied in boxes containing 14 packets.
Recommended intake is one packet per day mixed in 8 oz. (250 ml) of cold water. Each packet contains:
L-Leucine: 1824 mg
L-Isoleucine: 456 mg
L-Citrulline: 1500 mg
L-Valine: 456 mg
Vitamin C: 1000 mg
L-Glutamine: 456 mg
Beta-Alanine: 500 mg
L-Alanine: 363 mg
The Branched Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine)
Let us recall that we do not absorb protein as “protein”. Rather these large molecular structures must be digested into single amino acids (AA’s) or to dipeptides (2 AA’s) or tripeptides (3 AA’s hooked together). Upon absorption in the gut, these molecules go directly to the liver (the liver gets “first dibs”). Here the liver synthesizes many of the proteins the body needs (immunoglobulins, clotting factors, albumin, etc.). It absolutely needs vitamin C to make proteins (i.e. vitamin C “hooks the amino acids together” in the protein chain). Most animals make their own Vitamin C. Humans are one of the few species that cannot make it, thus we must get it from our diet. If there is insufficient vitamin C a condition called ‘scurvy’ results (the body cannot make proteins nor can it keep its tissues in proper repair and the poor individual ‘bleeds from every pore in his body’).
After the liver takes what it needs, the remainder of the AA’s are exported via the systemic circulation to all the other cells of the body. The exception is the BCAA’s! These three essential AA’s, once absorbed, are taken up directly by the skeletal muscles of the body to be used as building blocks for muscle tissue. Many feel L-leucine is the most important of the BCAA’s as it is the chief activator of the ‘mTOR’ system (mammalian target of rapamycin). This basically is the system, which turns on the building of muscle.
Leucine is the only AA that has the capacity to directly stimulate muscle protein synthesis; however, the body also needs L-isoleucine and L-valine too. Moreover the precise ratio of these three amino acids is 4:1:1 (4 leucine to 1 of each isoleucine and valine) to achieve maximum muscle synthesis – the exact ratio we have in our supplement! For maximum strength development a minimum of 4 grams of L-leucine must be consumed per day. While the vast majority of IP foods contain at least 2 grams of L-leucine, adding the supplement – particularly in maintenance – will ensure patients or clients are getting ample amounts of this very important essential AA. Finally the BCAA’s seem to help improve insulin sensitivity, metabolic rate, blood sugar and increase the production of the growth hormone.
Beta Alanine & L-Citrulline
Beta alanine is the same AA as L-alanine but in a different molecular configuration. This AA is the ratelimiting precursor of carnosine in the body. Increased levels of carnosine in muscles decrease muscular fatigue during strenuous exercise and increase muscular endurance (they let you work out harder and longer). Supplementing with carnosine directly is not as efficient as taking beta alanine as 60% will be digested before it can be put to use (it’s also more expensive).
L-Citrulline (the name comes from citrullus – Latin for watermelon – a common dietary source of this AA) is converted into L-arginine and nitric oxide in the kidneys. These compounds are very important in cardiovascular health. They relax arteries and arterioles (lower blood pressure) and improve blood flow and are very important when exercising. Research has also shown L-citrulline may work synergistically with L-leucine to further increase mTOR activity!
L-Alanine & L-Glutamine
L-alanine and L-glutamine are the two AA’s involved in gluconeogenesis. Under conditions of carbohydrate restriction (when we are not getting enough glucose to support those tissues that can only use glucose for fuel), the liver can and will transform L-alanine into glucose and the kidneys will transform L-glutamine into even more glucose. The body takes these AA’s from your muscles and that is why we lose some muscle mass during the first few weeks of Phase 1 (after 3 weeks, when we are fully ketoadaptive, the body slows this process down as now most of the cells can efficiently use the ketones as an alternative fuel source). As Dr. Tran mentions, “the role of ketosis is to spare muscle”. However, if we supplied the body with more L-alanine and L-glutamine, particularly in the first 3 or so weeks of the weight loss protocol, wouldn’t that be great? If you have the BCA device, you may see less loss of lean mass in the beginning weeks of the protocol (they will still lose some pounds of lean mass due to depletion of glycogen and the water attached to it).
Use of the BCAA Supplement During Phases 1 to 3
Patients or clients may use this supplement (1 packet per day) during any phase of the weight loss protocol. However, it is highly recommended in the following situations:
• Give 1 packet daily during the first 2 to 3 weeks one of Phase 1. This can help reduce muscle lost during gluconeogenesis at the beginning of the protocol.
• Add 1 packet daily if your patient or client continues to lose an exaggerated amount of lean mass after week 3.
Maintenance: The Ultimate Pre / Post Workout Supplement!
For patients or clients who want to start a training schedule following the weight loss protocol or for World Class Athletes looking for the best pre/post workout supplement, here it is!
• Place 10-12 oz. (300-360 ml) of cool water in a shaker. Add 1 packet of the BCAA supplement and shake. Open shaker and add 1 packet of Ideal Complete, shake again. Consume ½ before your workout, the other half immediately after your workout or simply have the whole shake right after your workout. With 22 grams of high quality protein, the exact ratio of BCAA’s, vitamin C (for protein synthesis) and L-alanine and L-glutamine (for those following a very low carb diet).
CA - Revised April 4, 2017 © COPYRIGHT 2017 – LABORATOIRES C.O.P. INC. / IDEAL PROTEIN OF AMERICA - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ®/TM/MD/MC TRADE MARKS OF LABORATOIRES C.O.P. INC. / IDEAL PROTEIN OF AMERICA