By Belinda Reynolds, IsoWhey Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) can enhance muscle recovery and growth while providing an energy source to the muscle cells. What does this mean? Taken after a workout, BCAAs not only boost the repair process of your muscles to help you bounce back faster and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, but they also contribute to the growth of more lean muscle.
BCAAs are comprised of three essential amino acids: L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine.
L-leucine in particular has been shown to stimulate muscle growth, improving strength and increasing strength exercise capacity. Taking high doses of L-leucine (together with other amino acids and carbohydrate) after a training session has been shown to improve performance at subsequent training sessions.
- Tart cherry
Tart cherry provides a range of benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support due to its high concentration of anthocyanins and flavonoids (two potent antioxidants). These natural substances work to suppress inflammatory chemicals in the body, which in turn reduces muscle inflammation and pain post-exercise. Look for tart cherry in your post-workout formula to reap the benefits of this recovery ingredient.
Magnesium is an essential mineral, known to be prone to depletion as a result of exercise. Magnesium is involved in normal muscle relaxation, meaning it can reduce cramps and spasms, while it also plays a supporting role in muscle protein synthesis (aka promoting muscle recovery). Early research suggests that from these benefits, magnesium supplementation can assist athletes in achieving desired gains in strength.
Magnesium is also involved in the breakdown of inflammatory chemicals associated with pain, meaning that it may assist in minimising post-exercise muscle pain and inflammation.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and is actually vital to our overall health. Training at high intensities has been found to deplete available glutamine levels in the body, and low concentrations have been noted in athletes experiencing significant discomfort from over-training.
Glutamine, (along with BCAAs) make up a large component of muscle protein mass, and exercising can create a glutamine deficiency in our muscles. Glutamine has also been shown to contribute to the production of human growth hormone, which helps us build our lean muscle mass – meaning that a deficiency due to exercise could be holding you back from achieving your goals.
Glutamine also plays a fundamental role in energy production, and supports our immune function. Many exercise enthusiasts and body builders often find themselves constantly run down with colds and flu for this exact reason.
- Nitrate-rich ingredients including raw beetroot
Beetroot is known for its nitrate content which, when converted to nitric acid within the body, is involved in blood vessel dilation. What this means is that when the blood vessels are relaxed, blood supply and oxygen and energy flow throughout the body is increased. This enhanced circulation aids optimal heart and skeletal muscle function as well as supporting with recovery, as increased oxygen delivery to our muscles has been shown to improve recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.