Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA is a highly anticipated new product from Optimum Nutrition due for release in May 2016. Another extension to the beloved Gold Standard series, Gold Standard BCAA combines a high dosage of BCAAs, electrolytes, and immunity enhancers to maximise your recovery and performance in the gym.
Each 10 gram scoop of Gold Standard BCAA yields 5.701 total grams of active ingredients, leaving 43% of each scoop for flavours, colours, fillers and sweeteners. This is towards the higher end of non-active ingredients when compared to similar BCAA products on the market. What is of particular interest is the 4 grams of total carbohydrates per scoop – something that has never before been seen in a product primarily marketed as a pure BCAA supplement.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA contains 5 grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio; hence yielding 2.5g of L-Leucine, 1.25g of L-Isoleucine and 1.25g of L-Valine. This is the most popular ratio of BCAAs with abundant scientific backing to support claims of increased recovery.
Studies have revealed that 2.5g of L-Leucine is shown to stimulate protein synthesis; the process by which the body undergoes specific actions to ensure muscles receive the relevant nutrients necessary to commence recovery and growth. While the combination of all 3 BCAAs are necessary for recovery purposes, L-Leucine is shown to have the highest influence on muscle recovery. This is because if the body recognises it is low in this amino acid, it will interpret this as meaning that total protein levels are insufficient, and will fail to synthesize new muscle protein. L-Leucine quite literally acts as a switch; as soon as a high concentration enters the bloodstream, the body will start its muscle repair and consequential growth process.
The remaining two amino acids that form BCAAs are L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. L-IsoLeucine is widely used by athletes due to its powerful benefits on sports performance, muscle endurance and recovery. It is a precursor to the amino acid L-Glutamine, which means that it is required to produce Glutamine; a non-essential amino acid that plays a significant role in muscle repair and preventing muscle wastage. L-Isoleucine is also used by muscles as fuel, which has a sparing effect on other amino acids and therefore allows hard earned muscle tissue to be preserved. Similarly, L-Valine is also a precursor to L-Glutamine, and can also be used as a fuel source for muscles. It is required for muscle metabolism and repair, whilst also maintaining positive nitrogen levels in the body.
5 total grams of BCAA per serve is towards the higher end of what we have come to expect from high quality BCAA supplements, so Gold Standard BCAA is considered to be efficaciously dosed in BCAAs.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA additionally contains three key electrolytes: Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium. While dosage amounts vary, these three electrolytes are included in a sufficient dosage in accordance with the performance daily intake (PDI) for athletes. Electrolytes are of vital importance to those who workout frequently as they ensure muscles are electrically ‘charged’ at the molecular level, promote nerve conduction, and hydrate the cells. An absence of adequate electrolytes can result in poor muscle function, weakness and poor ATP production. During exercise, the body loses electrolytes through sweat glands, which puts athletes at risk of cramping and reduced endurance. Therefore, the electrolytes in Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA can help elevate training intensity, and sustain these higher levels of training intensity for longer periods of time.
Vitamin C has also been included in a 9mg dosage; 15% of the recommended daily intake value as prescribed by health authorities. Vitamin C is widely used due to its diverse benefits, particularly surrounding the repair of tissue in the body. It is required for protein metabolism, while its antioxidant properties are thought to reduce oxidative stress induced by intense exercise. Some studies have even revealed that Vitamin C can maintain testosterone levels whilst decreasing cortisol levels, creating the ideal anabolic hormonal environment for muscle growth.
Finally, an immune boosting blend has been incorporated in Gold Standard BCAA, with the inclusion of Wellmune and Rhodiola Extract. Wellmune improves recovery through enhancing immune system integrity. After intense exercise, the immune system can be temporarily compromised, which puts athletes at risk of slower recovery and potential illness. Wellmune ensures the integrity of the immune system remains high during and in-between intense physical activity sessions, which consequentially increases recovery time. Rhodiola Extract has been used for centuries and is best known for its ability to strengthen the nervous and immune system, increase exercise capacity and endurance, aid weight loss and even increase sexual function. Studies have revealed that Rhodiola Extract actually improves recovery times whilst improving strength and reducing toxic chemical build up in muscles. As a result, Rhodiola Extract can also help increase endurance and assist in more efficient recovery.
It must be noted that there is no explanation on the product label for the 4 grams of carbohydrates per scoop, so the assumption must be made that these carbohydrates are derived from the flavouring system used in Gold Standard BCAA. This must be taken into account by consumers and incorporated into total daily carbohydrate intake.
Taste & Mixability
Optimum Nutrition have hit the ground running, releasing Gold Standard BCAA in 4 crowd pleasing flavours that are far more interesting than the many basic, overdone flavours often used in many BCAA supplements.
All 4 flavours are tasty enough to please even the fussiest of supplement consumers, yet mild enough to drink during workouts without being too sweet or overpowering.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA will provide muscles with an alternative fuel source, and spare glucose stores & hard earned muscle tissue, creating the perfect anti-catabolic environment for muscle hypertrophy. The high L-Leucine content will promote protein muscle synthesis, which will accelerate recovery and will assist in increasing strength and muscle size. When used in addition to a sensible diet and workout regime, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA will help elevate training intensity and extend workout endurance, by providing key electrolytes and immunity enhancers.
Just be aware of the unusually high, and unexplained, carbohydrate content, which may catch many consumers unaware.