Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. It is commonly taken in order to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. It may also help with weight loss and reduce fatigue after exercise.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins make up the structure of the body. Amino acids are either produced in the body (termed, “nonessential”), or they must be supplied from the diet (termed, “essential”).
BCAAs are considered essential because, unlike non-essential amino acids, your body cannot make them. Therefore, it is essential to get them from your diet. They are mostly broken down in the muscle, rather than in the liver. Because of this, they are thought to play a role in energy production during exercise.
BCAAs enter the bloodstream rapidly, bypass breakdown in the liver, and are readily taken up by active tissues (mainly muscle). They provide an additional fuel source for working muscle, as BCAA breakdown for energy increases during prolonged exercise.
BCAAs also play an important role in overall protein turnover, which is to say they help regulate whether the body is in a recovery (tissue building) or catabolic (tissue breakdown) state.
- Delay fatigue during prolonged exercise
- Improve aerobic and anaerobic performance when taken regularly
- Fortify the immune system
- Protect lean muscle
- Promote muscle protein synthesis
- Reduce exercise induced muscle soreness and damage
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