BCAA vs Whey Protein: Which is better?

This article discusses every aspect of the fight: BCAA vs whey protein. Which one is better over the other and why? Differences between bcaas and whey protein. Benefits of both bcaa supplements and whey protein and much more.

The more you dive deep into the fitness industry, the more vast it gets!

BCAA vs Whey Protein

The first supplement you would have come across upon joining the gym is most probably the protein shakes or whey protein supplement. Other supplements such as BCAA, creatine, glutamine, fish oils, and multivitamins do follow after whey protein. 

BCAA vs Whey Protein

The debate between bcaa vs whey protein powder has been prevailing in the industry for a very long time without having a clear explanation as to which is superior: BCAA or Whey protein.

Importance of Whey Protein Supplements

Branched-chain amino acids and whey protein are very different from the core. Scientific researches do relate them together as a whole but they are different in their respective purposes and benefits.

You wouldn’t like to waste your precious hard-earned money on the wrong supplement right? Do you really want to have the best transformation possible from the supplements you consume?

The fitness supplements industry has grown many folds up in recent years than what it was decades ago, and this is something called real progress. 

So we are gonna discuss :

  • Benefits of taking BCAA drinks and supplements
  • Benefits of taking whey protein
  • Taking both BCAA and whey protein together as a combination
  • Which supplement gives the desired results according to the money spent on it: BCAA vs whey protein shakes

BCAA vs Whey Protein: What Is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is one of the different varieties of protein present in nature. Whey is the liquid section that separates itself from milk in the process of cheese production.

Milk is composed of two dominant types of protein:

  1. Casein, which is 80% of the total protein found in milk
  2. Whey, which is 20% of the total protein

What is whey protein Whey is the liquid suspended on top in a yogurt container, the fatty constituents of the milk combine and settle themselves in the yogurt and whey gets separated as the liquid.

Adding whey protein powder to our diet is a very healthy way to fulfill our protein requirements.

Where Does Whey Protein Come From?

Whey Protein comes from milk which is eventually a dairy product derived from milk.

Whey Protein is produced during the process of making cheese out of milk. And the origin of milk, we already know, cows are the sources of milk.

Then what was the need for making supplements out of the milk? Do you ever get this question?

Like if we could directly drink cow’s milk, why did we make supplements out of it?

It was mainly because the whey protein supplements, as the name suggests, is composed fully of whey proteins and not any other constituents of milk. These whey protein supplements gave better and faster results as compared to normal milk.

The whey protein supplements were easily absorbed in the muscles and are a more convenient way of fulfilling our body’s protein requirements.

Just one scoop of whey protein mixed with water provides enough protein than what we could obtain from taking 5-6 glasses of milk.

What Does Whey Protein Do?

What does whey protein do? This is the question every beginner gym goer comes across.

Like what is the actual science behind whey proteins? Why do you need whey protein supplements?

The enormous research that’s been done on whey proteins, the facts that come out jumping are:

  • Muscles absorb Whey protein faster than casein protein
  • Improves muscle protein synthesis processes
  • For building great muscle mass, the standards accepted worldwide is that an average 176-pound male needs to consume 20 grams of whey protein after their workout.

The above-mentioned numbers can easily be altered depending upon the person’s body weight, size, age and shape.

What are BCAAs? 

BCAA is a short term used for Branched-chain amino acids. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the three amino acids that together constitute the term BCAA.

These three amino acids are three out of the total of 20 amino acids required by our body. 9 of them are the essential amino acids and three of these 9 essential amino acids are known as branched-chain amino acids because of their branched chemical composition.

How does BCAA work?

How does bcaa work

BCAA enters our muscle cells by using insulin. BCAAs evoke a short term low-intensity release of insulin that is slightly different from how insulin reacts to carbohydrates.

BCAAs get absorb in our muscles more easily and faster than most of the other amino acids.

But there is a point to be kept in mind that whole proteins are absorbed even faster by our muscle cells than the respective amino acids.

This is due to the fact that amino acids and whole whey protein use different passageways. There is a difference in amino acids vs whole whey protein transport system inside the body.

Hence, if you are already consuming good quality proteins in abundance, then you might not experience any advantage of taking BCAAs separately as these and other amino acids are already present in whey proteins.

What do BCAAs do? 

BCAA supplements help in reducing muscle soreness which is generally experienced by the beginners who just started doing weight training. This soreness that we feel when starting out with a new workout routine is known as DOMS(delayed onset muscle soreness).

Those who took bcaa whether in the form of natural bcaa foods or supplements didn’t felt much soreness and were more energetic during their workouts than those who didn’t consume any supplements.

Benefits of BCAA Drinks And Supplements

BCAAs help cutting down the fatigue after heavy workouts. They boost the protein synthesis process more than the muscle breakdown that takes place during the workout, which eventually helps in building the muscle.

BCAAs are composed of the three essential branched-chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine; they help in faster recovery of the muscles and growing much better than before due to every requirement of essential amino acids or vitamins is fulfilled by the supplements.

Branched-chain essential amino acids are also recommended by medical practitioners for treating liver diseases such as hepatic encephalopathy and liver cirrhosis.

Are There Any BCAAs In Whey Protein?

Which is better

Yes, for sure, without a second thought.

BCAAs are present in whey protein. Any brand of whey protein you choose, there are at least 5.5 or more grams of BCAAs in 2.2,i.e., 1kg pack of whey protein.

Branched-chain amino acids are generally present in whey protein and even if they are not, some brands tend to add additional bcaas in their packs of whey protein to make the supplement more fruitful to you.

The 5.5 grams of bcaa amounting to 20% percent of total whey protein is enough for giving a boost to the muscle-building process and reducing the fatigue or soreness experienced after a workout.

That’s why it’s said that whey proteins are the value for money products as they themselves already contain some amounts of bcaa, glutamine, and other necessary supplements.

BCAA Or Whey Protein: Which Is Better?

The three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine, together make the category called branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs). The final conclusion: which is better

These three naturally increase muscle recovery, help building and maintaining lean muscle mass, increases muscle strength during your workout sessions, help fight some serious liver issues, and lowering down muscle soreness.

On the other side, whey protein already contains some amounts of all the essential supplements available separately in the market,i.e., bcaas, creatine, glutamine, and other essential nutrients needed for the proper growth of the body and muscles.

Whey protein is a better option than BCAA since it contains other nutrients also along with the required amounts of whey protein.

Common BCAA Facts You Should Know About

So we have come down to these BCAA facts:

  • Taking 5g of BCAA consistently every day promotes muscle synthesis.
  • BCAAs are not money. That refers to the quantity of BCAAs consumed. Sometimes an excess of a particular amino acid results in an imbalance for other amino acids.
  • Most of the whey protein supplements contain the needed 5.5 grams of BCAA already in themselves.

So there is no point in burning your precious money on BCAA supplements such as bcaa powder, capsules, or pills. Increased strength

But mark my words, if you are preparing for some Bodybuilding competitions then you can take BCAA supplements as many times whey protein also gets cut off during that period. In that state, bcaa helps in muscle protection.

When should I take Whey Protein- Pre-workout, Post-workout, or Other?

This is the hottest topic among the gym freaks.  Like what is the best time to take whey protein? –

Studies suggest taking whey protein at either time:

Pre-workout:

Athletes or professional bodybuilders prefer taking Whey protein half an hour before starting up with your intense strength training or an endurance enhancement session. It protects the muscle from excessive tearing up during your workout.

Post-workout:

Many professionals do consume their whey protein drinks or supplements just after they have completed their workout sessions. This is an immediate action like they are taking their protein shakes in just 3-5 minutes of ending their workout session. They help in building muscles and lowering down the muscle soreness after exercise.

Generally, people do not prefer whey protein as a pre-workout. And if you have had a heavy protein-rich meal in the last 2-3 hours, then taking whey protein as a pre-workout is not advised.

That’s unnecessary to take the supplements before a workout. The best option is to take whey protein supplements immediately after the workout.

There are some other times also other than just pre or post-workout to which our body responds in a positive way when fed with whey protein supplements:

It can be a pretty efficient meal replacement when not in the condition to consume whole foods. That would be the most cost-effective and healthy meal.

Pre-bed is a good time if you are on muscle gaining schedule. This is so because when you mix whey protein when with milk, it becomes casein protein, and casein has it’s slow effects overnight.

Can I Take BCAA only?

From the above data, we made our mind crystal clear that there is no point in taking both BCAA and Whey Protein together as whey protein itself contains the needed amount of BCAA.

But somehow there are times when people take only BCAA and avoid whey protein.

Like if somebody is allergic to dairy products or to whey, they choose BCAA as an alternative supplement.

There are times when professional athletes are on a strict diet and cut down the use of whey protein. But this point is valid only for people preparing for various bodybuilding or bikini competitions.

When to take BCAA: Pre-Workout or a Post-Workout

When to take bcaa

If you think you might be doing some fitness competitions in the future then this is for you. Like yeah if it’s in your diet to cut whey protein and use BCAA as an alternative then why not use bcaa at the most effective times possible?

You looking for when to take your BCAA supplement? What is the best time to take BCAA? Here you go.

Most effective times to take your bcaa supplements:

Take BCAA Pre-workout Supplement

This means consuming your BCAA supplement just before you start with your strength training. BCAA pre-workout allows your muscles to preserve themselves from breaking down excessively during your workouts.

Taking BCAA Post-workout Supplement

This refers to taking your BCAA supplements just after you have finished your workout session. Taking BCAA post-workout helps our body to fight with the after workout soreness and also promotes faster muscle recovery.

Taking BCAA Pre-Bed Supplement

Consuming BCAA pre-bed supplement help in maintaining the muscle mass you gained over long periods of time. This saves your muscle from massive depletion and has a soothing effect on muscles.

Just keep one thing in mind, these methods apply only if you are strictly dieting for a competition.

And and and, we can’t use BCAA as a meal replacement, that’s where whey protein wins.

Can We Take BCAA and Whey Protein together?

bcaa vs preworkout

You can take BCAA and whey protein together. But you should take these only if you are really serious about bodybuilding competitions, otherwise, there are enough BCAAs present in whey protein itself.

Adding BCAA with whey protein only enhances the muscle recovery time, cuts down fatigue, and helps with maintaining the muscle mass if you are on a weight loss workout.

BCAAs vs Whey Protein: Which Is Worth The Price?

Whey is a more cost-effective supplement as compared to BCAA supplements which only contains BCAA whereas whey protein supplements are a rich source of BCAA, creatine, glutamine along with the most needed protein.

Our body needs all the essential nutrients for proper muscle growth and they are already coming with whey protein.

BCAA has it’s own benefit when we wanna maintain our muscle mass while on a weight loss plan. You should only take  BCAAs if you are an athlete and specifically preparing for bodybuilding competitions.

So, we can now say that in a fight of BCAA vs Whey Protein we would most likely go with whey protein as it the most efficient supplement even fulfilling the needs of bcaa too.

Do I Need BCAA If I Take Whey Protein?

This question is often a tricky one as it can come down to personal preference. Adding a BCAA supplement can be beneficial for people who are trying to build muscle or for those who are looking to increase their daily protein intake. For others, taking a BCAA supplement when consuming a protein shake, smoothie or juice just might not do much as there is already an average amount of BCAAs present in whey protein.

Dr. Daren Dellinger suggests that you should take bcaa if you take whey protein. The two go hand-in-hand and are considered to be a good pre-workout supplement. It is important that you take bcaa during your workout to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue; and also to provide your body the nutrients it needs to recover after a hard workout. Dr. Dellinger says that bcaa will help muscles grow and recover faster.

Bcaa supplements can be beneficial for people who are trying to build muscle or for those who are trying to get their protein intake up but they are not an essential supplement that you need to take, so as long as you are getting enough protein in your diet and exercising, you don’t need bcaa.

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