Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet. Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Here are five proven benefits of BCAAs.
- Increase muscle growth
- Decrease muscle soreness
- Reduce exercise fatigue
- Prevent muscle wasting
- Benefit people with liver disease
Increase muscle growth
The BCAA leucine activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of making muscle
Decrease muscle soreness
This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last up to 72 hours, BCAAs have been shown to decrease muscle damage, which may help reduce the length and severity of DOMS
Reduce Exercise Fatigue
Just as BCAAs may help decrease muscle soreness from exercise, they may also help reduce exercise-induced fatigue. Your muscles use BCAAs during exercise, causing levels in your blood to decrease. When blood levels of BCAAs decline, levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan in your brain increase
Prevent Muscle Wasting
BCAAs can help prevent muscle wasting or breakdown. Muscle proteins are constantly broken down and rebuilt (synthesized). The balance between muscle protein breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in muscle, Muscle wasting or breakdown occurs when protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis
Benefit People with Liver Disease
BCAAs may improve health in people with cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the liver does not function properly. It’s estimated that 50% of people with cirrhosis will develop hepatic encephalopathy, which is the loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood
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