BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids:
These amino acids are grouped because they’re the only 3 amino acids to have a chain that branches off to one side. BCAA are essential nutrients that the body gets from proteins in food, legumes, meat, and dairy products. They involve valine, leucine, and isoleucine. Branched-chain amino acids are usually taken by mouth or given intravenously by healthcare providers for brain conditions due to liver disease. Branched-chain amino acids are used for several other situations and can be taken by athletes to improve reduce muscle, athletic performance, improve concentration, and prevent fatigue breakdown during intense exercise. But there’s limited scientific research to support these other uses.
How Does It Work?
BCAAs make up a big chunk of the body’s total amino acid pool. Together, they represent around 35 to 40 percent of all essential amino acids present in your body and 14 to 18 percent of those found in your muscles. Contrary to most other amino acids, BCAAs are typically broken down in the muscle, rather than in the liver. Because of this, they’re thought to play a role in energy production during exercise. BCAAs play many other roles in your body too. First, your body can use them as building blocks for muscle and protein. They can also be including in regulating your blood sugar levels by preserving liver and muscle sugar stores and stimulating your cells to take in sugar from your bloodstream. What is more, BCAAs can help reduce the fatigue you feel during exercise by reducing the production of serotonin in your brain. Out of the 3, leucine is thought to have a big effect on the capacity of your body to build muscle proteins. Meanwhile, valine and isoleucine look extra effective at producing energy and regulating your blood sugar levels.
Poor brain function related to liver disease. Taking branched-chain amino acids by mouth looks to improve liver function in people with poor brain function caused by liver disease. Branched-chain amino acids can also improve mental function or reverse comas in people with this situation, but conflicting results exist. Branched-chain amino acids do not look to reduce the chance of death in people with this situation.
- Movement disorder is known as tardive dyskinesia. Taking BCAAs by mouth looks to decrease symptoms of the muscle disorder known as tardive dyskinesia
- Consuming BCAAs can help reduce mental and physical fatigue
- Mania consuming a drink containing branched-chain amino acids looks to reduce symptoms of mania
- BCAA Supplements Reduce Muscle Soreness
- BCAAs can Reduce Fatigue During Exercise
- BCAAs aid your muscles feel less sore after some kind of exercise
Studies in human participants report up to 15 percent less fatigue in those given BCAAs during exercise, compared to those who were given a placebo. Likely Ineffective for Liver cancer. Taking up to 50 gm of branched-chain amino acids twice daily for up to 1 year doesn’t look to improve survival or reduce recurrence in people with liver cancer who have had liver surgery. However, few early evidence shows that taking branched-chain amino acids improves prevents and survival cancer recurrence in people with liver cancer who have not had surgery.
Branched-chain amino acids are possibly safe when injected intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare professional. Branched-chain amino acids are likely safe when taken by mouth appropriately for up to two years. Few side effects are known to happen like fatigue and loss of coordination. BCAA should be used carefully before or during actions where performance relies on motor coordination such as driving. Branched-chain amino acids can also cause stomach issues, involving stomach bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, branched-chain amino acids can cause skin whitening, high blood pressure, and headache.
Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
There’s not sufficient reliable info about the safety of taking branched-chain amino acids if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Then you need to avoid their usage to stay on the safe side.
Branched-chain amino acids are likely safe for children when taken by mouth, short-term. Branched-chain amino acids are used safely in children for up to six months.