Of the 20 natural amino acids occurring in proteins, L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine are known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) since they possess branched side chains in their molecular structures. These important aminos play vital roles in protein synthesis, structure & function, cell/tissue growth & maintenance, body cell functions, insulin secretion and brain amino acid uptake.
BCAAs are essential amino acids and, thus cannot be synthesized by humans and must be derived from the diet. BCAAs are found in the interior core of proteins where their interaction with other similar amino acids plays a pivotal role in determining the three dimensional structure, stability and folding of proteins as well as their functions.
BCAAs are “energy-rich”. Their metabolism produces significant quantities of bioenergy (ATP). The conversion of one molecule of L-leucine yields about the same quantity of bioenergy as does the metabolism of one molecule of glucose. The proportion of BCAAs and certain other amino acids such as L-tryptophan, L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine (aromatic amino acids) may be the main factor influencing the gross energy yield of a given protein.
BCAAs are particularly present in muscle tissue. They play critical roles relevant to exercise performance and the maintenance and growth of skeletal muscle tissues. BCAAs furnish major sources of constituents for the biosynthesis of other amino acids, such as L-glutamine and L-alanine, which are important carbohydrate precursors and fuel for the gut.
Evidence links BCAAs with the regulation of tissue building (anabolic) processes. BCAAs are reported to limit protein degradation and loss of muscle mass, spare lean body mass during weight loss, promote tissue health and muscle protein synthesis, and growth processes (anabolism). BCAAs alone may confer a distinct advantage because they contribute minimal calories and neither stimulate sugar (glucose) biosynthesis in body cells nor contribute excess nitrogen for clearance by the kidneys, which can be expected with other amino acids or following a high protein diet.
Common dietary sources of BCAAs include egg, cow’s milk, whey proteins, red meat and soy. BCAAs make up 40% of the free amino acids in blood plasma. They constitute roughly 35% of the essential amino acids in food. Dietary requirements for the three BCAAs amount to about 35% of the total requirements of essential amino acids. An adult consuming a typical North American diet ingests about 15-25 g of BCAAs per day.
Advocare Catalyst capsules are specifically designed to contain high levels of BCAAs as well as lesser amounts of several supporting amino acids. Other AdvoCare products that contain BCAAs as a component of the proteins in the products include Meal Replacement Shakes, Post-Workout Recovery Sports Drinks and Muscle Gain Protein Shakes.