The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) make up 35% of the essential amino acids in body protein and 14% of the total amino acids in skeletal muscle. BCAAs play a critical role in muscle development, and athletic performance because they are metabolized in the skeletal muscle rather than the liver, thus they can be used for building new proteins or for energy. May help:

  • Support protein synthesis
  • Prevent muscle breakdown
  • Improve energy production
  • Helthy immune function
  • Enchance fat-metabolism
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The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) include the three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs make up 35% of the essential amino acids in body protein and 14% of the total amino acids in skeletal muscle. BCAAs are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet. BCAAs are special because they are primarily metabolized in skeletal muscle and metabolized at a much lower rate in the liver. Skeletal muscles are able to break down the BCAAs for energy and will do so during increased energy needs such as starvation, trauma, or exercises. BCAA supplementation is used most frequently by body builders and athletes undergoing intense exercise. BCAAs are on the must-have list of supplements because they work well to enhance muscle growth, strength, energy and even fat loss.



BCAA supplementation has anabolic effects on protein metabolism by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation. These effects are mediated through changes in signaling pathways controlling protein synthesis. This involves phosphorylation of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and sequential activation of p70 S6 kinase and the eiF4E-BP1 (eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1). In addition, leucine boosts insulin levels that also stimulates protein synthesis, but via a different mechanism. That means leucine has a dual effect on protein synthesis!



Studies have confirmed that athletes taking BCAAs have significantly less muscle breakdown during exercise and enhanced muscle recovery. They also experienced a reduction in the level of exercise-induces muscle damage and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Research looking at the effect of BCAA supplementation has found that taking 77mg of BCAAs, per kg of bodyweight, before exercise results in a significant reduction in the amount of muscle breakdown, a reduction in the levels of serum creatine kinase, and an increase in the recovery rate from exercise, as indicated by a reduction in muscle soreness following exercise.



BCAA supplementation can enhance muscle growth by facilitating growth hormone release. A study from Italian researchers found that athletes taking BCAAs for one month had higher levels of growth hormone and growth hormone binding protein after exercise.



BCAA supplementation can help maintain energy homeostasis by providing carbon as a direct energy source. The muscles can use BCAAs, unlike other amino acids, directly for fuel. During intense weight training, or any prolonged exercise session, BCAAs can be oxidized within the mitochondria of skeletal muscles to produce energy.



BCAA supplementation can help maintain proper immune functions. Intense long-duration exercise could lead to immune suppression through a decrease in the circulating level of glutamine. The decrease in plasma glutamine concentration as a consequence of intense long-duration exercise can be reversed, by supplementing with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA).



BCAA supplementation stimulates fat metabolism and fat loss. Leucine stimulates secretion of the hormone leptin and promotes leptin receptor expression. Leptin is a hormone produced by adipocytes, which is involved in the regulation of metabolism, fat storage, body weight, and appetite. The use of leucine supplementation also resulted from increased resting energy expenditure associated with increased UCP-3 protein expression.



BCAA supplementation may improve mood, mental performance and can help to prevent feeling fatigued during workouts, which will allow you to train harder and longer. BCAAs compete with the amino acid trytophan for uptake into the brain. During prolonged exercise BCAAs are used for fuel and this leads to a decreased level of BCAAs in the blood. The decreased levels of BCAAs in the blood means there is a greater ratio of tryptophan uptake into the brain. High levels of tryptophan in the brain, are associated with increased feelings of fatigue, and hence, reduced exercise performance. BCAA supplementation during exercise keeps the levels of BCAAs elevated in the blood and helps to delay the buildup of tryptophan in the brain.

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