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The Whats and Whys of BCAAs

Emily Saunders BCAAs - Branched Chain Amino Acids

By Emily Saunders

If you’ve done much supplement research in the health and fitness world then you’ve likely heard of BCAAs which stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids.  Sounds complex right?

Since you’re a busy Mom who is probably already doing science homework with your kids I’m going to break it down for you quickly and simply

WHAT are BCAAs?  Branch chain amino acids consist of leucine, isoleucine and valine, which are essential building blocks of muscle.  They occur naturally in the body, but many times we deplete our stores through stressors like every day life and exercise.

Leucine:  Helps promote muscle (think lean mass) growth while assisting with fat-loss.  Also helps suppress hunger when following a lower carbohydrate diet.

Isoleucine:  Promotes fat burning

Valine:  The energizer.  Promotes muscle endurance, blunts fatigue, helps with mental sharpness

The three amino acids work together to help keep the body chemically balanced.  We recommend a ratio of 3:1:1 Leucine: Isoleucine:Valine for the most impact (many formulas are lower in leucine)

WHY do I need BCAAS?

BCAAs are a busy Mom’s best friend.  Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. They lower cortisol  levels.  Cortisol is an important stress hormone that is responsible for increasing blood sugar and aiding in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism – we need it in proper doses.  The problem is most of us produce way too much.  When we release cortisol along with low levels of HGH (think when you don’t get enough sleep) or high levels of insulin cortisol causes muscle burning and fat storing (not good!).  BCAAs lower cortisol and therefore help suppress cravings and hunger instigated by stress.
  2. They help regulate hunger. In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules in the brain.
  3. They balance our brains.   BCAAs are precursors to our brain’s stimulating chemical glutamate, as well as the number one relaxation neurotransmitter (GABA). By balancing these stimulating and relaxing responses in the brain, we can stop cravings before they even start.


When do I take BCAAs? 

For best results we recommend taking BCAAs before/after a workout and any time that cravings strike- for many this is mid afternoon or later in the evening.

How much should I take and in what form?

We recommend taking 5 grams per 50 pounds of body weight per day.  If you are extremely active then adding another 5 grams can be beneficial.  For most women who are fairly active 10 to 15 grams per day taken in 5 gram servings seems to be ideal.  The ideal scenario is taking 5 grams pre-workout, 5 grams post-workout and 5 grams when cravings are most likely to strike.  That said, they can be taken at any time.

While there are may different forms of BCAAs (flavored powders, pills, unflavored powders etc.) we recommend a NATURALLY flavored and sweetened formula.  The pills get pricey and require a LOT of pill swallowing for proper dosing.  The unflavored powders are unpalatable and VERY bitter.  Almost ALL powders on the market are full of artificial ingredients and stimulants.  Be cautious of any products marketed for “pre-workout” or even workout recovery as they often contain stimulants like caffeine and beta-alanine.  These two things aren’t inherently BAD, just unnecessary and some respond negatively.


Which formulas do you recommend?

NOW the exciting part!!!! We worked diligently for over 6 months to finally create our OWN BCAA powder because we have been less than enthralled with other products on the market. As mentioned, almost all formulas are full of artificial ingredients or are 100% unflavored. The few naturally sweetened options out there are pretty poor tasting. We put our heads together with a fabulous manufacturing team and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce to you….. our . MOMSANITY NATURAL BCAA POWDER!!! Interested in giving them a try? We offer 3 flavors including Fruit Punch, Raspberry Lemonade and Cherry Lime (with more to come)!  Find them at

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