BCAA oder Whey - Welches Produkt welche Vorteile bietet

BCAAs or Whey Protein: What are the advantages of the products?


Combining Whey Powder and BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs, like Whey protein, are part of classic sports nutrition - especially in strength and competitive sports. But why do many athletes swear by supplements with BCAAs? The human body cannot produce some amino acids itself. If these are then inadequately absorbed through food, certain bodily functions can no longer be guaranteed.

The BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine are among these essential amino acids. A 2017 study on BCAAs examined whether and to what extent these amino acids help build muscle[¹]. In our guide, we explain to you what the difference between BCAAs and Whey is and what you should consider in the controversial question "BCAAs or Whey?".

What is the difference between Whey Protein and BCAA?

BCAAs are the so-called branched-chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine. They belong to the essential amino acids and can therefore not be produced by the body itself. Since the human body needs these amino acids as building blocks of proteins, they must be ingested through food. Amino acids and BCAAs are involved in the formation of new structures and are important for metabolism.[²]

Whey protein is a protein made from whey. It is produced during the production of milk. Due to the fact that the protein is short-chain, Whey hasa special effect: After consumption, it enters the bloodstream very quickly, then into the muscle tissue and replenishes the protein reserves there.

You wonder what the difference is between Whey Protein and BCAA? Whey Protein consists of all eight essential amino acids. This means that Whey Protein also always contains all BCAAs. In contrast to other amino acids contained in Whey, 65 to 70% of BCAAs reach the muscles directly. The other amino acids are absorbed by the muscles only to 25 to 30%, the rest is metabolized by the liver.

With a sufficient supply through the diet, the body is well equipped with BCAAs. If this is not the case, for example if you eat a vegan diet, the additional intake of BCAAs can be useful.

Are BCAAs contained in Whey protein powders?

Whey protein powder always contains all eight essential amino acids that the human body needs. This also includes the EAAs and BCAAs.

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Whey or BCAAs: Proteins are important for muscle building

In a typical strength training, muscle growth is achieved by increasing the thickness as well as number of the so-called myofibrils. This is a part of the muscle fibers that consists of a compound of contraction cells or sarcomeres. The process behind this type of muscle growth is called myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis .

Studies in the past have found that leucine is the BCAA that startsprotein synthesis in the first place[³].

First and foremost, you take in amino acids through your diet. We take in leucine, isoleucine and valine primarily by eating meat and dairy products. However, these very foods can have a high fat content, which stands in the way of many athletes' goals.

In order to specifically get the muscle building going and then also to maintain the muscle mass, one can use BCAAs or Whey Protein. BCAAs are also available as supplements - as powder, tablets or capsules.

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Whey is used in weight training for the purpose of muscle building and maintenance. Whey protein also contains the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine, which is why it can be used directly by the muscle. Due to the high digestibility of Whey Protein - it does not burden the stomach and contains only little sugar - it is often used in the combination of muscle maintenance and diet.

BCAAs and Whey: amino acids for protein synthesis

Ein Sportler nimmt für die grundlegende oder zusätzliche Versorgung mit Proteinen Whey Protein und BCAAs ein.

In order to understand how Whey or BCAAs work, one should keep in mind what happens in our body during intense strength training:

During intensive training sessions, the individual muscle cells are heavily stressed. Therefore, on the one hand, microlesions occur in the muscle fiber, which require an increased turnover of protein in the cell during the rest phase. On the other hand, the muscle cell can adapt to the required performance through growth processes. This occurs during the resting phase, when the cell regenerates and all available resources can be devoted entirely to convalescence and muscle size growth.

So after training, protein synthesis is stimulated and more nutrients are consumed by the muscle. This means that the faster the protein is available to the muscle cell, the better. To ensure such a fast supply, you can resort to special sports nutrition such as BCAA supplements or Whey Protein.

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Useful amino acids: How BCAAs work

BCAAs bring a variety of positive effects with them:

  • Muscle building: a study that looked at protein synthesis during resistance training showed that those who consumed 5.6 g of BCAAs after training had a 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis - compared to those who consumed only a placebo drink[⁴].
  • Muscle soreness: supplementation with BCAAs may have a positive effect on muscle damage, protein breakdown and levels of creatine kinase in the body[⁵]. In addition, a study showed that athletes who consumed BCAAs after an intense leg workout complained less of soreness in the muscle than the placebo group[⁶].
  • Exercise performance: a study involving college-aged men looked at fatigue during a spinning workout. One group took a BCAA supplement, while the other took only a placebo. The men who consumed BCAAs had much lower levels of serotonin in their blood - which plays a role in exercise fatigue[⁷].

The International Society for Sports Nutrition recommends the intake of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio (leucine: isoleucine: valine).[⁸]. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are also present in high-quality protein sources in approximately this ratio.

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Should I supplement my workouts with BCAAs or Whey?

Athletes rely on taking BCAA supplements to benefit from their positive effect on muscles. BCAAs can trigger muscle protein synthesis to repair and rebuild muscles after a workout. Those who include adequate amounts of protein in their diet do not necessarily need to take BCAAs. However, for those who fail to incorporate sufficient protein into their diet, BCAAs can be an important supplement to ensure protein intake.

An increased protein requirement can also play a role - which is why BCAAs are particularly interesting for strength athletes and bodybuilders who want to build muscle, but also for endurance athletes who want to prevent muscle soreness after hard training sessions and accelerate recovery.

Regarding the question "BCAAs vs Whey" it can be stated that BCAAs alone are not sufficient for muscle building. BCAAs in combination with Whey protein, on the other hand, are ideal for supplying protein and building muscle. However, you should make sure that your supplements and protein powders are always of the best quality - like our products with high-quality ingredients Made in Germany!


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461297/

[2] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/amb/2014/364976/

[3] https://examine.com/supplements/leucine/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16424141/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461297/

[5] https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-20

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20601741/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241904/

[8] https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-4-8

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