As with all supplements and high-intensity exercise plans, it is a good idea to discuss with your doctor before you start, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
It is good to remember that most people will easily achieve their daily dose of BCAA through food.
It is generally only athletes or those doing intensive exercise plans that may want to support their diet with an additional supplement.
PE Nutrition from Holland & Barrett, offers a range of products to help with muscle growth, maintenance and athletic performance.
Branched chain amino acids, usually referred to as BCAAs and sometimes called BCAA amino acids, are the collective name of leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Three of the 20 amino acids that make up the different proteins in our bodies, branched chain amino acids are so called due to their chemical structure.
Popular in the body building and athletic community, BCAA powder and drinks harness the ability of amino acids to build proteins to aid workouts.
Because BCAAs are essential amino acids, meaning they are not produced inside the body, we can only get them through protein-rich food sources or by taking a protein powder or specific BCAA supplement.
BCAAs are used to help build protein and muscle. Leucine appears to stimulate muscle protein synthesis while amino acids can also help to prevent muscle soreness, a must when you are working hard at the gym.
Studies show they BCAAs could reduce fatigue although this evidence is not conclusive. The science? When you are working out the BCAA levels in your blood decline. Declining levels of BCAAs are linked to an increase in tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is thought to contribute to feelings of fatigue during exercise. Up your BCAAs and those exhausting serotonin hormones might back off for just a bit longer.
There are a whole load of BCAA aminos out there and it can be pretty tough to choose between them.
A good place to start is with the format. BCAA protein powders are always popular because we are pretty familiar with protein shakes already - pop it in your shaker and you are ready to go.
Pre-mixed shakes and BCAA drinks up the convenience level, while sachets such as Xtend BCAA sport sachets are a one-shot solution, ideal for using mid-workout.
And with so many flavours to choose from (pineapple! Blue raspberry! Mojito!) finding the supplement that inspires your gym session is never boring.
Many people choose protein powders containing all nine essential amino acids, including BCAAs.
If you are enjoying a daily protein shake you do not need to add in BCAAs because you will already be getting enough.
However, because protein powders have a higher calorific content, they are not always ideal if you are trying to slim down.
BCAA-only supplements are often more popular with endurance athletes, thanks to their low-cal protein boost, while those looking to build muscle love them because they help to keep muscle protein from being burnt away during workouts.
How about both? It is generally accepted that you should take BCAAs before, during and after a workout.
Throw a ready-made BCAA drink or a handful of shot sachets into your kit bag and you are ready to power up your exercise routine on-the-spot.