Do you want to make your keto life easier and more convenient?
If yes, taking keto supplements is one step that you should take.
BCAAs are one of the 12 supplements that are highly recommended by the experts.
But wait, can supplements kick you out of ketosis? Or better yet, do BCAAs kick you out of ketosis?
Honestly, this question can’t be answered by just a yes or a no since these supplements' mechanism and its effects on your body can get quite complicated.
We need to write an entire article to give you the answer you need.
And that’s precisely why this article exists!
We also included a few sections that can serve as your guide on how to take BCAAs on keto!
If you want to know all the information about amino acid ketosis, continue reading this article.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids or the amino acids that come with a side chain of 3 Hydrogen atoms and a single Carbon atom.
This term is generally used to refer to the three most commonly used essential amino acids—valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, the nutrient that makes up our muscles and different parts of our body.
Amino acids fall under two categories - non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids. The latter are called such because our bodies can’t produce them on their own.
We can only get them from the foods we eat and sometimes through supplementation.
Upon taking supplements or consume foods rich in BCAAs, these enter the bloodstream, where it aids in protein synthesis and muscle maintenance.
Is BCAA Good for Keto?
Since BCAAs are essential amino acids, you can find BCAAs supplements in the market.
This amino acid ketogenic supplement is often recommended for the keto diet.
But are BCAAs good for keto?
We’ll give you a straightforward answer—yes, BCAAs are good for keto.
Why is this so? What benefits can you get from BCAAs when you’re on the ketogenic diet?
Here are some of them:
Helps maintain and gain muscles.
As mentioned, the primary responsibility of ketosis bcaa is to support protein synthesis; because of this, they play a significant role in muscle maintenance and growth.
The amino acid that has been associated with this purpose is leucine.
It works by activating a particular pathway that stimulates muscle protein synthesis. (1)
Prevents diet-related muscle loss.
When you cut off a particular nutrient in your diet, muscle wasting can occur.
In the case of the keto diet, you’re eliminating carbs so that you can expect a certain level of muscle loss.
This happens when the amount of protein breakdown goes beyond the amount of protein synthesis.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that BCAAs may help prevent muscle breakdown.
This is because BCAAs make up 35% of the amino acids in muscle proteins while they constitute about 40% of the amino acids needed and used by the body.
By taking BCAAs supplements, you’re replenishing a fair amount of amino acids used by the body.
With these supplements, you can prevent or, at the very least, slow down the progression of muscle protein breakdown.
Addresses exercise-induced muscle loss.
Resistance training is generally seen as an excellent workout for muscle building.
But did you know that muscle loss occurs during and after your carry out this type of exercise?
This type of exercise is a two-edged sword.
It can be catabolic and anabolic at the same time. The effects you’ll get will depend on how you feed your muscles during, after, and before your training.
When you exercise, you break down large amounts of protein via amino acid oxidation.
If you don’t replenish it, you’ll experience muscle loss.
Fortunately, you can prevent it by taking the right amino acids—the amino acids you can find as BCAAs.
Minimizes post-workout muscle soreness
A day or two after a workout, it’s normal to experience muscle soreness.
This phenomenon is called Delayed Onset Muscle Syndrome (DOMS). There’s no clear explanation yet as to how or why this happens.
One of the strongest theory is it’s because of the tiny tears in the muscles that may come as a result of exercise.
The use of BCAAs has been associated with a reduction in protein breakdown and creatine kinase levels in the body post-workout. (2)
The latter is an enzyme that indicates muscle damage.
Because of this discovery, experts establish a connection between decreased muscle damage and the use of these amino acids.
Prevents post-workout fatigue.
Aside from muscle soreness, we also experience muscle weakness after a workout.
During the workout, your muscles use amino acids. As a result, their levels in your bloodstream significantly drops.
As these levels drop, the amount of tryptophan in your brain increases. (7)
Eventually, tryptophan gets converted to serotonin, which is a brain chemical that’s being linked as a contributor to fatigue.
When you take BCAAs, tryptophan levels won’t increase. They won’t be converted into serotonin, so it’s least likely that you’ll experience muscle fatigue.
Boosts immune function.
To fight off infection, prevent tissue damage, and facilitate wound healing, the immune cells produce proteins rich in BCAAs.
When you take amino acid supplements, you’re already providing your immune system the defense it needs.
Will Taking BCAAs Kick You Out of Ketosis?
A lot of people already know about the benefits that they can get from amino acid supplements. (3)
However, those on a keto diet are doubtful of taking them because of this issue--- that taking BCAAs can kick you out of ketosis.
Well, we will finally give you the answer that you’ve wanted to know.
BCAAs may kick you out of ketosis. While amino acids are not considered carbohydrates, they may tend to put your body out of ketosis.
Why is this so?
When the body runs out of glucose, which is often the case during ketosis, it will produce more through whatever substances are available in the body.
If you have an abundance of amino acids, the body will convert those into glucose through the process we call gluconeogenesis.
But we have GOOD NEWS!
As long as you take them at the right dosage at the right time, it’s perfectly safe for you to take BCAAs when on the ketogenic diet.
Do BCAAs Break A Fast? Is it Okay to Take BCAAs while Fasting?
Here is our short answer: “yes!”, BCAAs can break your fast.
It’s also another "yes", it’s okay to take BCAAs while intermittent fasting.
In short, these supplements can break your intermittent fasting, but not in the manner that it will put your efforts to waste.
Now, that’s confusing, right? Wait, hear out our explanation first.
The consumption of amino acids can break your fast because it has caloric value and can trigger an insulin response.
However, its caloric value is not enough to stimulate an insulin spike—which is one thing you want to avoid during intermittent fasting.
The intake of amino acids can indeed elevate insulin levels.
However, it doesn’t reach the point wherein the amount of insulin in your body is enough to put your body out of the fat-burning state.
The Right Dosage and Appropriate Time to Take BCAAs
As mentioned, there are two conditions that you should satisfy to prevent gluconeogenesis—the right dosage and appropriate time.
How much BCAAs should you take?
The right BCAAs dosage for the keto diet is only 5 to 10 mg per day.
When’s the best time to take amino acids?
It’s recommended that you take the supplement 15 minutes before your workout.
If you’re fasting and you work out on a fasted state, it’s recommended that you allot more time.
For this instance, take the supplement 30 minutes before your training schedule. (4)
Everything You Need to Know About Taking BCAAS
If you’re still unsure whether or not you should take amino acids while on the ketogenic diet, here are some of the answers to the frequently asked questions about taking bcaas on the keto diet:
What are the special considerations of taking BCAAS during ketosis?
As we’ve talked about, there’s a possibility that your intake of amino acids can kick your body out of ketosis.
This is because of the body’s ability to convert amino acids into glucose. The key here is to minimize your intake as much as possible.
We also mentioned that BCAAs are made up of three types of amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
These three amino acids are not created equal. Among the three, it has been discovered that leucine can’t be used to produce glucose.
That’s why it’s not considered to be glucogenic. It’s referred to as ketogenic.
If you want to use this fact to your advantage, it’s recommended that you pay attention to the ratio of amino acids in your supplement.
As much as possible, go for the ketogenic diet supplement that contains two parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine, and 1 part valine (2:1:1).
What forms of amino acids are there, and which one is the best for me?
You can find two types of BCAAs in the market—powder and tablet.
The powder form is often mixed water, so it’s easier to swallow. Since it’s already in liquid form when it enters the body, it’s also easily absorbed. However, these are more expensive.
On the other hand, tablets are easier to carry with you wherever you go and are relatively cheaper. However, they are harder to swallow and are slowly absorbed by the body.
There are no established guidelines on which form of BCAAs you should take. It would all depend on your personal preference and lifestyle.
If you go for the powder form, you should ensure the amino acids' purity since some products contain artificial flavors. On the other hand, avoid BCAAs tablets that contain caffeine.
What are keto foods that are high in branched-chain amino acids?
Aside from keto diet supplements, you can also get BCAAs from food.
Some of the foods high in these amino acids but low in carbohydrates are raw milk, eggs, milk proteins from casein, whey protein, soy protein, beef, and black beans.
These foods have the highest Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.
Other significant sources of amino acids are sardines, salmon, chia seeds, oysters, algae, steak, bee pollen, and organ meat.
Who should benefit from taking branched-chain amino acids?
Considering the benefits that BCAAs can offer (13), specific groups of people can make the most out of its consumption. Here they are:
- People who wish to increase their muscle fiber
- People who wish to lose weight
- Anyone who’s under an intense physical training schedule
Who shouldn’t be taking BCAAs?
People take BCAAs to prevent muscle wastage after a strenuous bout of exercise.
This means that BCAAs are recommended for physically active people. Based on these, we can deduce the fact that taking BCAAs are not for everyone.
If you’re a sedentary lifestyle but want to lose weight, you should avoid taking BCAAs.
After all, amino acids are anabolic, meaning they can build muscles.
If you take them without any physical activity, you won’t be able to lose weight.
These can negatively affect not just your health but also your body composition.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt that you can get benefits from taking amino acid keto supplements. But let’s not forget that it can kick your body out of ketosis.
Suppose you want to make the most out of bcaas and maintain your ketosis state simultaneously.
The best thing you can do is take the bcaas ketosis supplements within the established limits--- only 5 to 10 grams.
If you’re ready to incorporate bcaas ketosis supplements to your regimen, another thing you need to make sure of is its quality.
To determine which are the best bcaas supplements in the market today, please check out our buying guide.