In the study you linked to it says:
Remember, the BCAA ability to be utilized in various pathways is governed by their availability. It is my belief that delivering large amounts of BCAA to muscle and keeping BCAA levels elevated will cause a strong and sustained activation of mTOR, leading to skeletal muscle hypertrophy.
It is his BELIEF. A BELIEF? And if he believes in the Tooth Fairy, do we just assume that is true as well?
As you can see in the following report, BCAAs supplied by whole foods and whey protein powder are sufficient.
It has been suggested that the RDA for leucine alone should be 45 mg/kg/day for sedentary individuals, and even higher for active individuals . However, while more research is indicated, because BCAAs occur in nature (i.e. animal protein) in a 2:1:1 ratio (leucine: isoleucine: valine), one may consider ingesting ≥ 45 mg/kg/day of leucine along with approximately ≥ 22.5 mg/kg/day of both isoleucine and valine in a 24 hour time frame in order to optimize overall training adaptations. This will ensure the 2:1:1 ratio that appears often in animal protein . It should not be overlooked that complete proteins in whole foods, as well as most quality protein powders, contain approximately 25% BCAAs. Any deficiency in BCAA intake from whole foods can easily be remedied by consuming whey protein during the time frame encompassing the exercise session; however, an attempt should be made to obtain all recommended BCAAs from whole food protein sources.http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articl ... id=2117006
In summary, exercising individuals need more dietary protein than their sedentary counterparts, which can be obtained from whole foods as well as from high quality supplemental protein sources such as whey and casein protein.
In the following study we see that is the quantity (dose) of the amino acids as well as the composition which are important.
Factors that influence the efficiency with which amino
acids stimulate protein synthesis primarily include the dose
and composition of the amino acid mixture or protein .
Interestingly enough, that study goes on to show that taking the essential amino acids alone exhibits a two-fold response to taking in mixed amino acids.
However, the specificity of the response
to essential amino acids may be obscured by the
moderately high dose provided or the carbohydrate-induced
insulin response. A follow up study found a significantly
greater (approximately two-fold) response to 6 g of essential
amino acids compared to 6 g mixed amino acids (3 g
essential plus 3 g non-essential) . This observation, and
others from supportive animal and tissue culture studies
[13,15,16], confirms that ingestion of only essential amino
acids is sufficient for the acute stimulation of muscle protein
However, take note of the quantity here. It should be obvious what has happened. In the first mix they used 3g Essential aminos and 3g non-essential (aminos your body can make). In the next mixture they double the Essential aminos (and dropped the non-essentials) and got doubled response. Again, this points to quantity.
Next, the study shows that ingesting free aminos acids results in their uptake or flushing within a 1 hour time frame. However, the study then shows that whey has the same rapid uptake response.
This shows that the “fast” uptake of essential aminos is in fact 1 hour. A whole hour. The same amount of time Whey is aborbed. I don’t call that fast.
confirm that an acute amino-acid induced increase in muscle
protein synthesis does contribute to protein synthesis in an
additive fashion over the course of a day . Studies of
bolus ingestion of free amino acid solutions show a rapid,
transient response which returns to basal values within an
hour [14,27]. The metabolic response to a bolus of whey is
rapid and of significant magnitude and therefore, should
suffice to increase muscle protein synthesis without preempting
the response to a subsequent meal. Preliminary
data show this rapid absorption pattern to be beneficial to
overall nitrogen balance and post-prandial protein utilization
Another point of interest is that incomplete or unbalanced protein soruces are actually detrimental and can limit protein sysnthesis.
Importantly, animal [11,16] and human [2,24,25] studies
provide evidence that poor quality or imbalanced dietary
proteins increase nitrogen losses and limit protein synthesis
due to inefficient utilization of the indispensable amino
Albeit, in rats, protein synthesis seems to be the same with just the essentials. But....those are rats.
The anabolic effect of a complete mixture of amino
acids infused in rats was matched by provision of BCAA
only , again reflecting the primacy of BCAA in protein
But, one must consider that animal protein and muscle tissue is composed of a 2:1:1 mix of the BCAAs. This is the same composition found in whey. Depending on diet, supplementing with BCAAs alone will increase the ratio of BCAA ingestion, and there is no proof that elevated levels beyond the 2:1:1 ratio are beneficial.
An interesting consideration with regard to the
http://www3.baylor.edu/HHPR/ESNL/public ... 1-8-03.pdf
capacity of whey proteins to stimulate muscle protein synthesis
derives from comparing the proportion of amino acids
supplied by whey relative to the amino acid composition of
human skeletal muscle [26-28]. Amino acid composition of
whey proteins is very similar to that of skeletal muscle,
providing almost all of the amino acids in approximate
proportion to their ratios in muscle. Logically, one might
suppose that this compatibility would position whey as an
effective anabolic supplement, although we recognize that
the non-essential amino acids contribute little to the overall
So again, studies indicate that Whey alone is sufficient, and free BCAA supplementation derives it’s positive effects from increased quantities of leucine which Whey has.
However, the studies do show that of the proteins in Whey, it is the BCAAs (leucine in particular) that is of greatest importance and that protein synthesis can be achieved by ingestion of the BCAAs only.
Everything I’ve read indicates that the BCAA availability in fast absorbing whey is sufficient. Studies show ingested free amino acids remain in the body for 1 hour which is the same amount of time for Whey digestion, thus they don’t appear to be “fast”....at least not any faster than Whey.
Dollar for Dollar, it seems that Whey, especially a Whey fortified with extra BCAAs, is the most cost effective solution that produces the same, if not better, results. Remember that there are other benefits to Whey protein than just protein synthesis such as improved immune function, improved gastrointestinal health, free radical suppression, etc.