Leucine is one of the essential BCAAs. By itself, it can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, the process responsible for muscle growth and recovery. This is why it is often referred to as the “main” amino acid.
Supplementation with at least 2 grams daily of leucine has been shown to decrease muscle soreness, lessen recovery time between workouts, and increase lean muscle mass.
Howatson et al. (2012) discovered that leucine (combined with isoleucine and valine) administered before muscle damaging resistance exercises reduced indices of muscle damage and accelerated recovery in resistance-trained males.
Isoleucine, like leucine, is another BCAA that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis but to a lesser extent when not combined with the other BCAAs. However, isoleucine significantly increases glucose uptake and the use of glucose during exercise, leading to greater energy production.
Isoleucine may also play a role in the fat-burning abilities of BCAAs.
Nishimura et al. (2010) found that mice consuming a high-fat diet in conjunction with isoleucine gained less fat mass than mice not receiving isoleucine. This was due to isoleucine’s ability to stimulate receptors that inhibit fat storage and increase fat burning.
Valine, the third BCAA, promotes muscular endurance and decreases fatigue during exercise.
When exercising, tryptophan is converted to serotonin and signals the brain that the body is fatigued—ultimately leading to a decrease in muscle strength and endurance.
Since valine competes with tryptophan for entry into the brain and prevails, less serotonin gets to the brain, which ultimately leads to stronger muscular contractions, quicker recovery between sets, and prolonged muscular strength and endurance.
Taurine, has a myriad of benefits. From helping the body to metabolize fat, improving insulin sensitivity, raising testosterone levels, as an antioxidant, higher performance and quicker recovery during athletic training and increasing cardiovascular health… it goes without saying that Taurine is a great ingredient to have in your wheelhouse
Zhang et al. (2004) found that individuals who supplemented with taurine for 1 week before an exhaustive exercise bout significantly improved time to exhaustion, VO2 max, and maximal workload. It also decreased exercise-induced DNA damage.
HMB is a clinically proven ergogenic aid that has been shown in over 50 human studies to improve strength and power gains, increase lean mass, and aid recovery.
HMB (short for beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate) in an active metabolite of leucine that has both anticatabolic and anabolic properties. Due to these attributes HMB reduces muscle protein breakdown while also inducing muscle protein synthesis.
This means HMB can lead to rapid strength gains in less time, significantly increase lean muscle mass, support more complete muscle recovery, and reduce muscle damage from resistance exercise.
In fact, a recent position stand by the International Society of Sports Nutrition validates these claims. Based upon the comprehensive review of the HMB literature they concluded that HMB enhances muscle recovery by attenuating muscle damage; HMB increases muscle hypertrophy, strength, and power in trained and untrained populations when the appropriate exercise protocol is applied; HMB efficacy is manifested in young and old; and HMB is safe to consume.
Q: What is the best way to take BCAA + HMB?
A: As a dietary supplement, take 1 serving (1 scoop) twice daily.
Q: What are BCAAs?
A: The branched chain amino acids are collectively made up of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body and can only be obtained through diet or supplementation. The BCAAs are the primary drivers behind muscle protein synthesis; arguably the most important physiological process for maximal muscle growth and recovery.
Q: Do I really need to take BCAAs? Can’t I just get them through my diet?
A: While you can most definitely get BCAAs through a regular diet high in protein, consider this: 5 grams of BCAAs promotes muscle protein synthesis, just as much as a 25–30 gram high protein meal. BCAAs help promote and maintain lean muscle gains and aid recovery without the calories, which might benefit individuals trying to cut or find themselves too “full” to eat another meal.
Q: How long does it take to see results from HMB?
A: Studies show that measurable increases in strength and prevention in overtraining occur in only a couple of weeks; however, it will most likely take three or four weeks to produce results in regards to muscle hypertrophy and improved body composition.
Q: Are there any other supplements that I should use with HMB?
A: Research shows that HMB combined with creatine produces greater results than either HMB or creatine alone. HMB should be taken in combination with a balanced diet containing a daily protein intake of about one gram per pound of body weight, especially if you are actively exercising. If your diet isn’t balanced or your protein intake is low, then HMB should be combined with the appropriate vitamin, mineral, protein, or energy supplement to balance your diet.
BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine):
1. Norton, L. E., & Layman, D. K. (2006). Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. The Journal of nutrition, 136(2), 533S-537S.
2. Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., … & Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. International journal of sport nutrition, 20(3), 236.
3. Gualano, A. B., Bozza, T., Lopes, D. C. P., Roschel, H., Dos Santos, C. A., Luiz, M. M., … & Herbert, L. J. A. (2011). Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 51(1), 82-88.
4. Hamel, F. G., Upward, J. L., Siford, G. L., & Duckworth, W. C. (2003). Inhibition of proteasome activity by selected amino acids. Metabolism, 52(7), 805-809.
5. Nicastro, H., Artioli, G. G., dos Santos Costa, A., Solis, M. Y., Da Luz, C. R., Blachier, F., & Lancha Jr, A. H. (2011). An overview of the therapeutic effects of leucine supplementation on skeletal muscle under atrophic conditions. Amino Acids, 40(2), 287-300.
6. Ra, S. G., Miyazaki, T., Ishikura, K., Nagayama, H., Suzuki, T., Maeda, S., … & Ohmori, H. (2013). Additional effects of taurine on the benefits of BCAA intake for the delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage induced by high-intensity eccentric exercise. In Taurine 8 (pp. 179-187). Springer New York.
7. Stoppani, J., Scheett, T. P., Pena, J., Rudolph, C., Charlebois, D., & Charleston, S. C. (2009). Consuming branched-chain amino acid supplement during a resistance training program increases lean mass, muscle strength and fat loss. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(Suppl 1), P1.
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2. BOUCHAMA, A., YUSUF, A., AL-SEDAIRY, S. U. L. T. A. N., & EL-YAZIGI, A. D. N. A. N. (1993). Alteration of taurine homeostasis in acute heatstroke.Critical care medicine, 21(4), 551-554.
3. Gwacham, N., & Wagner, D. R. (2012). Acute effects of a caffeine-taurine energy drink on repeated sprint performance of American college football players. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 22(2), 109-116.
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1. Wilson, J. M., Fitschen, P. J., Campbell, B., Wilson, G. J., Zanchi, N., Taylor, L., … & Ziegenfuss, T. N. (2013). International society of sports nutrition position stand: beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 1.
2. Nissen, S., Panton, L., Wilhelm, R., & Fuller, J. C. (1996, March). Effect of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation on strength and body composition of trained and untrained males undergoing intense resistance training. In Faseb Journal (Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 1651-1651). 9650 ROCKVILLE PIKE, BETHESDA, MD 20814-3998: FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL.
3. Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Rathmacher, J. A., Baier, S. M., Fuller Jr, J., Shelley 2nd, M. C., … & Wilson, J. M. (2014). Interaction of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate Free Acid (HMB-FA) and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) on Muscle Mass, Strength, and Power in Resistance Trained Individuals.Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association.
4. Muller, M. (2010). Effect of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (hmb) supplementation on the body-composition and muscle power output of non competitive sporting males between 19 and 24 years who performed resistance training three times a week for 8 weeks(Doctoral dissertation, University of Pretoria).
5. Wilson, J. M., Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Walters, J. A., Baier, S. M., Fuller, J. C., … & Duncan, N. M. (2013). β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid reduces markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and improves recovery in resistance-trained men. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(03), 538-544.
6. Sikorski, E. M., Wilson, J. M., Lowery, R. P., Duncan, N. M., Davis, G. S., Rathmacher, J. A., … & Walters, J. (2012). The acute effects of a free acid beta-hydoxy-beta-methyl butyrate supplement on muscle damage following resistance training: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 1.
7. Vukovich, M. D., & Dreifort, G. D. (2001). Effect of [beta]-Hydroxy [beta]-Methylbutyrate on the Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation and Vo2peak in Endurance-Trained Cyclists. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 15(4), 491-497.
8. Durkalec-Michalski, K., & Jeszka, J. (2015). The efficacy of a β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplementation on physical capacity, body composition and biochemical markers in elite rowers: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 1.