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 and in the fitness industry. Are these supplements really necessary?
Supplements are never necessary, they aren't the make or break of your results. But for those who are active on a regular basis taking these 3 supplements can improve your athletic ability, physique and overall health too!
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 helps burns more fat and calories which can help you with your overall fitness or weight loss goals.
Supplementing with BCAA's can help stimulate new proteins in the body (protein synthesis) and prevents muscle breakdown by providing the necessary building material for muscle gains (amino acids).
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. PVL fermented branched chain amino acids is a great brand as it is sourced from fermented vegetables.
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 as it feeds a specific muscle fibre type which help increases strength output power.
TIP! Creatine is known for pushing water into the muscles (giving a more defined look).
Creatine is recommended to take 30 minutes before your workout so the molecule can enter the cells and start its job! Taking 3 - 5 g of either form per day is recommended on most packaging.
The most popular forms are creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride.
I personally recommend 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.
GLUTAMINE & FITNESS:
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 drop by up to 50 percent! Supplementing with glutamine will replenish and rehydrate your muscles aiding recovery quicker.
Taking glutamine during a workout can help with the absorption of the BCAA's and Creatine as well.
There are many forms of clean Glutamine on the market. IronVegan fermented L-Glutamine powder is a great brand as the fermentation helps with overall digestion and the absorption of the glutamine, even better and an easier job for your gut! 5g a day is usually recommended on most packaging.
IRONVEGAN Fermented L-Glutamine
I personally recommend powdered forms of BCAA's, Creatine and Glutamine since powder form provides better absorption, a larger quantity per serving and less accumulation of capsules. Mix well in water.
TAKE AWAY MESSAGE:
Supplements ARE SAFE TO USE but if you have any health conditions, always ask your health care practitioner if these are right for you.