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BCAA's - Pumping Iron or Acids?

Authour: Tyrah A.

What are BCAA’s?





The branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are three of the nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are acids that our body does not produce, and we must consume, making them “essential” to our diets.“Branched-chain'' refers to their molecular structure.

What do BCAA's do in the body?

They help to build structures, transport, signal and are integral in many metabolic processes. BCAAS are distinct among amino acids because they are metabolized outside of the liver in the skeletal muscle.

Why do people take these supplements?

BCAA supplementation is a widespread practice among recreational exercisers and athletes. Many people take it because it has been suggested that BCAA supplementation may decrease skeletal muscle damage as a result of intense resistance exercise, reduce feelings of soreness, mitigate central nervous system fatigue, and promote recovery of muscle function.

What forms do BCAA supplements come in?

BCAA Supplements come in two forms: pill or powder form. It can sometimes come bundled with other supplements like glutamine, creatine or in a sport isolate drink.

BCAA’s are recommended to be taken pre-workout or during a workout to prevent further fatigue.

What does the science say?

A 2011 study reported reduced perceived exertion, but participants didn’t improve their aerobic performance after supplementation.

A 2017 review of the literature concluded that a dietary supplement of BCAAs alone cannot support an increased rate of muscle protein synthesis. It cannot do this because the essential amino acids from protein breakdown back into muscle can only be increased to a limited extent.

A study in 2018 found that BCAA supplementation may reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Still, when consumed alongside a diet of adequate protein the supplement will likely produce negligible results.

Lots of food has high BCAA Content

If supplements aren’t for you, many foods have high BCAA content. Many are complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids. They are foods that you probably consume regularly and have in your kitchen already.

Food High in BCAAs



Cottage Cheese

Canned Tuna

Wild Salmon

The Final Word on BCAA Supplements

A supplement like BCAAs may be helpful for those who have long-term illnesses that may affect their appetite or result in muscle wastage. It can also help supplement amino acids in a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is helpful to consult with a dietitian to work out a diet that suits your needs.

BCAA supplements might have some benefits in certain situations. However, they cannot guarantee an improvement in your health and fitness. Like all supplements, they act to support a balanced and nutritious diet.

If you’ve tried BCAA supplements before let us know. What’s your review? Are they worth the hype? Are there other fitness supplements that you’d like us to break down for you? Tell us in the comments!



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