The benefits of vegan BCAA
These four letters are certainly not foreign to you, yet you only vaguely know what they are (except that they are popular among athletes). So if we talk to you in addition to vegan BCAA, you tend to lose track. Please do not panic, and we explain clearly, what BCAA are and their usefulness, and take stock of vegan BCAA, their differences from BCAA, and their many benefits. Let’s go!
To begin with, you should know that muscles are made up of proteins, a protein itself being made up of sequences of twenty-two different amino acids, nine of which are essential. BCAA (Branched Chained Amino Acid, in English, understand branched amino acids, in French) are precisely one of these essential amino acids and even represent about 30% of all amino acids present in our skeletal muscles (the latter allowing the motor skills).
Thus, when we play sports, our muscles have three different energy sources: they draw first from carbohydrates, then from lipids, before using proteins, and more particularly from BCAA. However, the body cannot synthesize BCAA on its own. It is essential to provide these essential amino acids through food (by consuming, for example, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, etc.) and supplementation.
In addition, BCAA unite three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine allowing protein synthesis and, therefore, muscle building. Isoleucine promotes the absorption and use of glucose. Finally, valine helps recovery during and after intense physical exertion.
The synergy of these three amino acids is therefore particularly interesting in the context of physical activity and allows:
- anabolism: that is, muscle building;
- anti-catabolism (the opposite of anabolism, therefore muscle destruction): in other words, BCAA help fight against muscle stiffness and loss;
- And recovery.
Finally, it is important to specify that the 2: 1: 1 ratio (i.e., two portions of leucine for one part of isoleucine and one portion of valine) contained in certain BCAA in food supplements corresponds to the natural ratio used by the organism for muscle synthesis.
Why choose vegan BCAA?
Now that you have a complete grasp of the subject of BCAA let’s tackle the intricacies, but rest assured, nothing too complicated! Indeed, everything we have said previously about BCAA also applies to vegan BCAA: the benefits are the same, and it is quite possible to find vegan BCAA at a 2: 1: 1 ratio. So, what are ultimately the differences between BCAA and vegan BCAA, you will tell us? Their origin, quite simply.
Also, to make BCAA, in other words of animal origin, you have to go and tap into keratin, this protein being the main constituent of feathers, hairs, beaks, and skins. It is indeed off-putting when you think about it, although the end product has nothing to do with what it originally was.
Vegan BCAA are derived from the fermentation of plants, such as soybeans, corn, sugar cane, or even peas. More expensive than BCAA of animal origin, vegan BCAA are extremely qualitative products made without chemical process and free from allergens. Vegan BCAA thus allow athletes to reconcile ethics, convictions, and diet, and to that, we say a big YES! It is for this reason that we created a Vegan BCAA with acai berry!
As you will have understood, Vegan BCAA are a safe bet. On the other hand, these amino acids do not replace a well-balanced diet.
BCAA for Vegan
What are BCAA?
BCAA is the acronym for branched side chain amino acid, which groups three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAA are essential amino acids, meaning that they must consume them through the diet.
Friends, BCAA are easy to obtain from the diet for non-vegan, but if you eliminate animal and dairy sources, supplementing with BCAA will be a good option to support your goal!
Among the BCAA, leucine is the only lively acid that we need to pay attention to because it is the only amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis (muscle building).
Why is leucine important?
Research has found things with leucine that don’t apply to other amino acids:
- During digestion, unlike other amino acids that are broken down in the intestines, leucine remains unchanged. Leucine levels then remain high in the blood to improve muscle building.
- Leucine also has a relatively easy mode of transport to cells. It works in a concentration gradient, and when leucine levels are high in the blood but low in muscle cells, it easily penetrates and boosts its muscle-building effect.
Why is BCAA Important for Vegan? Do Vegan Need BCAA?
Plant proteins have amino acids, but they are not complete proteins (meaning they do not have all amino acids). Therefore, it will be necessary to eat a good mixture of seeds, nuts, and vegetables every day to obtain the 21 amino acids.
Wanting to build mass on a plant-based diet is achievable, but vegan BCAA will be ideal for enhancing this process for the following reason.
To trigger muscle building, you need to reach a Leucine threshold.
It means that you need to consume 2-3g of leucine in your diet to allow your body to enter a muscle-building state. Compared to whey protein or animal foods, this represents double the consumption of plant-based alternatives.
A supplement like BCAA will be beneficial for vegan who:
- Maybe not eating enough to meet their energy needs.
- Are full quickly and dislike eating large meals
- Do not have meals/snacks with nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes
If you think you fall into one of these categories, then vegan BCAA can be a good option to build muscle effectively.
What is the connection between BCAA and training?
When we train, BCAA oxidize quickly, even if the protein is not used to fuel our activity. It is impossible to prevent this from happening. Therefore, it is important to consume BCAA (as stated previously, they are essential and should be consumed through the diet or as a supplement).
Are BCAA important if I train on an empty stomach?
Yes, very important! Training on an empty stomach means training in a glycogen depleted state. At night, we use many of our stores of carbohydrates (drawn from our muscles and our liver) to support normal blood sugar levels and deliver glucose to the brain. If you train before eating, BCAA will oxidize much faster.
If you want to know the reason for this oxidation, here is a simplified explanation.
BCAA are broken down into amino acids called Glutamate. Both Glutamine and Alanine can be formed from Glutamate and can be used to create new glucose for energy (a process called gluconeogenesis). This process always takes place on an empty stomach.
If you start training in a glycogen-depleted state (on an empty stomach), the oxidation of BCAA is high because there is a greater demand for the production of new glucose. So if you like to train on an empty stomach, we highly recommend consuming BCAA.
Is BCAA Worth It?
Overall, BCAA are very important when it comes to building muscle. Leucine is the amino acid that will be essential with any training done.
As mentioned, it is largely possible to get enough leucine through plant-based foods (as long as you can eat larger amounts and a good, varied mix of foods). However, taking a supplement will make sure you reach that leucine threshold and enter a muscle-building state.
If you are a very active person, this supplement should be top of your priority list.
Brewer, S. (2010). The essential guide to vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements. London: Robinson.
Burke, L., & Deakin, V. (2007). Clinical Sports Nutrition. Sydney, Australia: McGraw-Hill
MacLaren, D. (2007). Nutrition and Sport. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier Limited.
Norton, L. (2014). Maximizing muscle-building protein meals [Video file]. Retrieved from
Vegan bcaa side effects
When consumed in large amounts, BCAA side effects can include fatigue, loss of coordination, nausea, headaches, and increased insulin resistance (leading to Type 2 diabetes). BCAAs may affect blood sugar levels, so anyone having surgery should avoid them for some time before and after surgery.
The amino acids present in BCAA food supplements can modify the functioning of the liver, kidneys or even blood vessels. This can cause stomach upset like nausea, vomiting, constipation and severe diarrhea.
Until now, no serious studies attest to the presence of an adverse effect on the consumption of BCAAs. However, here are some disorders that can occur in rare cases:
The amino acids present in BCAA food supplements can modify the liver, kidneys, or even blood vessels.
It can cause stomach upset like nausea, vomiting, constipation, and severe diarrhea. If you notice these problems, quickly lower the ingested dose.
BCAAs can block certain neurotransmitters like serotonin. However, the latter intervenes in the libido. Overconsumption would therefore tend to modify mood in general. In the long run, this greatly reduces the well-being of the person involved.
Reduced motor capacity
Too high a dose of BCAAs increases the level of serum ammonia in the body. However, this substance can cause disorders in the brain that reduces motor function.
Precautions for the use of BCAAs
BCAA is the abbreviation for “Branched-Chain Amino Acid.” It is, therefore, a food supplement composed of three essential amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
These three elements cannot be synthesized by the body alone, but they are essential in bodybuilding. Indeed, many athletes use these polymers to accelerate mass gain and physical performance.
However, a question arises: whether the consumption of this food supplement does not constitute a risk—the answer in this article. The side effects of BCAAs are preventable if you respect:
Precautions for use
It is quite possible to take dietary supplements without suffering from side effects. To do this, observe the following measures:
- Consume the supplements at a fixed time to avoid the risk of forgetting or overdosing
- Seek the advice of a doctor before starting the treatment, especially if you have a chronic disorder
- Obtain a quality product for sale from an authorized store
Certainly, BCAAs are essential for the body, but they are unsuitable for some people. It is the case for:
- Pregnant women. Quite simply because some active substances present some risks for the fetus
- People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hypoglycemia, and chronic alcoholism
A word of advice: before starting your amino acid-based cure, inform your doctor, especially if you are undergoing any treatment.
Some active ingredients in your medicine may interact with food supplements. This warning applies if you are currently taking other dietary supplements.
Essential Branched Amino Acids or BCAA include Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. The BCAA can not be produced by the body and must be made through food or supplementation.
The majority of them are made from fermented corn, sunflower lecithin, coconut water extract, and sesame seeds. A few still use soy, but since this is a common allergen manufacturer are starting to frown upon using it.
The supplement industry offers many versions of these, whether in powder, capsules, tablets, or liquid. However, the demand for natural and vegan products in the diet is growing, and it also concerns food supplements.
The BCAA vegan or fermented oppose conventional BCAAfound in the vast majority of current productions. Indeed, these so-called “vegan” BCAA are obtained from a milder manufacturing process: the fermentation of plants, mainly soybeans or, even better, corn.
Classic BCAA are generally obtained from various sources such as duck feathers (keratin) and other derivatives of this type, which often give them bad press. Heavy chemical processes with strong acids allow hydrolysis of the sources to extract the BCAA.
Although of equivalent effectiveness, fermented BCAA do not use any animal substance or any corrosive product or heat treatment. The result is a portion of food for sportsmen combining both quality and ethics.