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How to take branched-chain amino acids

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  • How to take branched-chain amino acids

    In his book "The New Evolution Diet", Art De Vany recommends taking 15 grams of branched-chain amino acids with each meal (on for one week, off for a week, until you reach a healthy body composition). I'm trying this out, but am having trouble actually eating the branched-chain amino acid powder. The powder (at least from Now Sports) is bitter and does not dissolve in water. My meals consist of real food, so I rarely have a "shake" or something where the powder can be blended in. Also, 15 grams per meal is too much to consume via 1 gram capsules.

    Are there other brands or formulations that are easier to consume? Do you have a trick for taking it? Make a paste with coconut butter or something similar?

  • #2
    Seems more of a meal timing issue. Eat a moderate amount of real food containing BCAA very soon after a workout.


    • #3
      While I highly respect him, I don't personally agree with De Vany on this point... if you eat a reasonable amount of protein at most meals (who here doesn't?), I see little reason to supplement with the meals... or between for that matter. I think it would be better utilized if you are working out fasted or are doing some sort of long endurance work out. The way I think of BCAA is basically that it stops muscle catabolism (for conversion to glucose) when you are expending energy beyond that which you have freely available... if you are fed, there is plenty to go around and you can be pretty certain that your muscle is not being targeted. I could be wrong on this of course.

      Anyway, I have two ideas for you. Stick with the powder form for the reason you mentioned with pill quantity. Either switch to something flavored or mix it with something flavored. I personally use a flavored variety (Xtend) but in the past I've used the non-flavored (tasted like chemicals, yeck) and had to mix it with a little bit of flavored protein powder to make it drinkable.

      Or just eat some meat
      Last edited by lecz0r; 06-05-2011, 05:08 PM.


      • #4
        like lecz0r said consider picking up some extend! tastes great even if it is not 100% primal/paleo you could be drinking worse stuff!

        but before I started using extends for my fasted train that I found two things that worked for powdered bcaa: putting it in the bottle of water I going to use the night before would have it dissolved into fine by the morning, but since you are doing multiple meals perhaps you could just make a pitcher?

        but my preferred way is coffee+ice+BCAA+blender=nice tasty coffee drink (plus I am weird I kind of like the taste of BCAAs)


        • #5
          If I had to I would take em...

          Pre workout, during and post workout, Upon awakening and before bed.


          • #6
            Eat meat, problems solved.

            If you mix bcaa with lukewarm water it dissolves much easier, in cold water it'll never dissolve fully and you'll have a huge foam layer.

            I have bcaa but forget to take it all the time. My workouts are no longer truly fasted (moved my workout time from early morning to late afternoon 4-5 hrs after a meal) so you only really "need" it when fasted for maybe longer than 10 hours and then ONLY if you're super concerned with "muscle wastage" which I'm quite sure doesn't happen so fast. I may not ever buy bcaa again.
            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


            • #7
              I use a small (1 cup) tupperware. I add some water to the powder, shake, then down as much of the sludge as I can. Rinse and repeat till I get most of the powder down. Others just put the powder straight into theirs mouths and then chase it with some water. It works pretty well, but you run the risk of getting white powder all over your face and looking totally crazy.

              I agree with everyone else that I don't see the logic in eating BCAA with meals, but I haven't read DeVany's reasoning. I just take them pre-workout.


              • #8
                I've taken BCAA powder on and off for years. You're absolutely correct -- it is very bitter (you can't get around this, it's just how pure BCAAs taste), and it won't mix well (another inherent trait). That said, they're still really easy to take: just use a very small amount of water. I put about 1-2 oz in a large glass and then dump in my BCAAs. Don't even bother with a spoon, just hold the glass and "swirl" the BCAAs around for a few seconds -- then throw it down. With only 1-2 oz of water it'll be like doing a shot. Quick and easy and you'll barely taste it.

                Like everyone else, I'm not convinced that taking BCAAs makes that much (or any) difference with my workouts or recovery, but I certainly don't think they hurt either. I gave up on supplements in general quite a long time ago, but BCAAs are cheap (assuming you buy them pure, unflavored, and in a powder form) so I still take them from time to time.


                • #9
                  The problem with all these is that it’s pretty hard to accurately measure if the supp is making a difference. For instance, I was taking BCAA during my first whole30 experiment. I lost about 6-7lbs (going down to 143lbs, my lowest weight in my 20s) and my strength stayed the same and went up in certain areas. However, I was doing everything “right”: sprinting once weekly, not missing any LHT days, eating TOO clean, etc. I can’t then readily say that BCAA’s played a vital role in what happened in body comp and all of that. It’s entirely possible that I would have had the same results sans BCAA.

                  As a “just in case” measure surrounding fasted workouts I’m cool with it, but I don’t really see a need for with-meal supps unless you really don’t get a lot of protein in your diet. In which case I’d still suggest going the animal flesh route.
                  I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                  • #10
                    I use Scivation Xtend. Watermelon flavor is delicious. I use it 3 days a week for fasted strength training. 90 servings is $45 through Amazon.


                    • #11
                      i was told that if your taking in at least 60 grams of protein from whole natural food you do not need this as a supplement. its a corp. puppet. i dont take it. i have had amazing results.
                      just me opinion ;o)

                      i went primal in feb 2010
                      37% body fat
                      38-40 waist

                      1 year to the day
                      7.8% body fat
                      29 waist

                      7% body fat
                      29 waist


                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone for the information. I'll try some Xtend.

                        So far, I've found that doing a 1:1.5 ratio of unflavored BCAA powder to coconut butter is the most palatable way to consume the BCAA. It forms a paste that is reasonably easy to eat, and masks almost all of the bitter flavor.

                        The section of "The New Evolution Diet" that includes the recommendation is a bit light on details. It's not clear whether De Vany thinks supplementing with BCAA is more effective than eating 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight (or the like), but as an experimentalist I figured I'd try it out and see if the results were significantly different than eating a similar total amount of protein exclusively from meat.