BCAA's, Creatine and Glutamine - What Do They Do?
What do they do? What are the benefits? Should I be taking them?
BCAA's, Creatine and Glutamine are some of the most popular sports supplements on the market. Are supplements really necessary? If you have read my blog posts before you would know that I'm a full believer of using supplements when the time and place is needed.
For those who are active on a regular basis taking these 3 supplements can improve your athletic ability, physique and overall health too.
I personally use powdered BCAA's, Creatine and Glutamine since powder form provides better absorption, a larger quantity per serving and less accumulation of capsules in my gut! I drink them combined together (easier to get all 3 down the hatch) during my workout. You can find more about when is the best time to use these supplements.
What are BCAA's? BCAA's are called branched chain amino acids. If you didn't know, amino acids are the building blocks of protein! Specifically, branched chain amino acids are made up of 3 amino acids that the body cannot produce which must be sourced from food; L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine.
Now first off, why would you need more amino acids or protein in your body? Protein has several functions all the way from building muscle to hormonal function. BUT on the fitness side of things, building muscle (don't be scared by that phrase, muscle is good) burns more fat which can help you with your fitness/weight loss goals!
Supplementing with BCAA's will help create new proteins in the body (protein synthesis) and prevents muscle breakdown by providing necessary building material for muscle gains! 5 - 10 g per day is usually recommended. Drinking branched chain amino acids during your workout or post workout is the best recommend time for consumption.
Tons of branched chain amino acids on the market are sourced from quite an unfriendly source... chicken feet and chicken feathers. Yup, you heard that right and I am not playing around! It's a cheap and convenient source (since feet and feathers aren't commonly found on a menu).
Find a friendly source of BCAA's like found in fermented vegetables. I personally used PVL fermented branched chain amino acids since I genuinely know they are a reputable Canadian brand and are true to there source!
Theres a lot of controversy about Creatine. Is it safe? Yes!! Our body naturally makes it on its own. But creatine supplements do have warnings for those who may have kidney problems - if this is you always ask your health care practitioner.
Creatine is used for many chemical reactions, but specifically in the production of ATP! ATP is a major energy source in the body (more then less used for short bursts of energy).
Having larger amounts of creatine in the body enhances the conversion of energy letting us train at a higher intensity and is beneficial for strength/power training.
Creatine feeds a specific muscle fiber type which helps increase strength output power. Soon enough you'll be saying.. "ouuuu I didn't know I could lift that."
FYI Creatine is known for pushing water into the muscles (giving a muscley look).
Taking 3 - 5 g of either form per day is recommended and effective for. Creatine is recommended to take 30 minutes before your workout so the molecule can enter the cells and start its job!
The most popular forms are creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride.
I personally use creatine hydrochloride since some studies have shown it has the ability to hold less water retention in the stomach and more in the muscles aka. less bloat!
SD Pharmaceuticals Creatine HCL
L-Glutamine is another important amino acid! My favourite one out of the bunch.
This amino acid is critical to healing the digestive system and gut. Glutamine is anti-inflammatory and is a vital nutrient with the repair and growth of your intestinal lining.
It coats the intestinal cell walls and protects them from any damage from food or environmental waste/toxins.
MUSCLES: After an intense workout your body becomes stressed/inflamed and at this time your muscles require more glutamine than a normal amount. Glutamine levels can actually drop by up to 50 percent! Supplementing with glutamine will replenish and rehydrate your muscles aiding recovery quicker.
Taking glutamine during my workout helps with the absorption of the BCAA's and Creatine too!
I take 5 grams of IronVegan fermented (everything I use is fermented ha) L-Glutamine powder daily combined with my other 2 powders.
The fermentation helps with overall digestion and the absorption of the glutamine, even better and an easier job for your gut!
IRONVEGAN Fermented L-Glutamine
*These supplements ARE SAFE TO USE but if you have any health conditions, always ask your health care practitioner if these are right for you.*