Quite a few years ago, science established that exercising with weights stimulated muscle protein synthesis. Soon after, we discovered that the presence of the essential amino acids during weight lifting amplified this muscle building response by 100%!
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High Stimulation of Muscle Protein Synthesis
That’s important, as a high stimulation of muscle protein synthesis is the mechanism that ensures big gains in muscle mass. Now it appears clear that some of the essential amino acids are more important than others for stimulating muscle growth.
The branch chain amino acids (BCAA) are three essential amino acids (those that cannot be synthesized by the body) are the most potent at activating muscle protein synthesis.
A recent study by Hakan Karlsson’s group in Stockholm, Sweden, has revealed that when a BCAA supplement is consumed before, during and after weight lifting, it provides a greater activation of muscle protein synthesis than lifting weights without supplementation.
BCAA supplementation and training resulted in a much higher phosphorylation of the 70-kDa S6 protein kinase in muscle. This key signaling protein is a major player in the translation initiation step of activating muscle protein synthesis.
A higher phosphorylation of 70-kDa S6 protein kinase means a higher rate of synthesis of muscle proteins.
A More Economical Alternative
On a dose per gram basis, BCAA are pretty expensive. High quality whey proteins such as Whey Isolate are the richest known source of BCAA, up to 26 grams per 100 grams of protein and are a much more economical alternative.
The most effective way to use whey protein isolate to accelerate gains in lean muscle mass is to take it before and after your workout.