From Charles Poliquin
Take the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) with extra taurine to build muscle faster and reduce post-workout muscle pain. New research shows that pairing the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine, and taurine together supports muscle growth, while accelerating recovery for greater fat loss.
We’ve known for years that the BCAAs are the key to recovery and enhanced protein synthesis after hard weight training, and a new study shows that taking taurine with them will give you better results. A study from Japan had untrained men take either a placebo, just taurine, just BCAAs, or 2 grams of taurine and 3.2 grams of BCAAs three times a day for two weeks. Then they did a muscle damaging eccentric workout.
Results showed that the group that took taurine and BCAAs experienced much less muscle damage and had less muscle pain over the four-day recovery period after the workout than all of the other supplementation groups. Taurine and BCAAs convey two benefits:
First, by raising your levels of taurine and the BCAAs, you can decrease the amount of muscle damage that occurs during training because they appear to improve the water content in muscle fibers. Providing a greater pool of amino acids may also improve sensitivity in the contractile part of the muscle fiber to calcium, while inhibiting the production of creatine kinase, a waste byproduct that accumulates and promotes the feeling of muscle fatigue.
In addition, taurine and the BCAAs decrease oxidative stress—lower creatine kinase production is an example of this—and less oxidative stress allows for higher energy production capacity in the body. So, not only do taurine and the BCAAs decrease the “garbage” produced during intense training, they decrease muscle breakdown during your training, and help maintain energy levels for higher work capacity.
Then there’s the post-training effect: BCAA supplementation results in maximal protein synthesis, leading to greater muscle growth. Leucine is particularly effective in turning on muscle growth pathways for decreased soreness and greater gains. Additionally, the BCAAs and taurine have been shown to improve body composition, and correlate with a lower body fat percentage. In fact, these aminos are considered to have “unique obesity-reducing effects” by obesity experts because they can decrease food intake in overweight people.
To get best results from taurine and BCAAs, take the BCAAs before, during, and after training to decrease muscle damage and enhance your work capacity. Take taurine after training rather than before because this will help rebuild muscle glycogen, as it improves insulin sensitivity and will activate GABA, a calming neurotransmitter so that you can relax and recover.
Ra, S., et al. Additional Effects of Taurine on the Benefits of BCAA Intake for the Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Muscle Damage Induced by High-Intensity Eccentric Exercise. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2013. 776, 179-187.