Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)


Branched chain amino acids or BCAA for short are three different amino acids, lecine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are the main building blocks of muscle and are believed to enhance muscle development. Yet, no study has been able to show a correlation between BCAA and muscle growth for normal people. What studies have shown isthat BCAA's reduce muscle fatigue after resistance training and BCAA's preserve lean musle mass during caloric reduced dieting (cut diet).


A research done in 2009  found that during an intensive training program BCAA supplementation effectively reduces the muscle soreness and fatigue sensation, and that the perceived changes could be attributed to the attenuation of muscle damage and inflammation ( Matsumo, 2009 ). In 2010 another study found that   DOMS induced by  squat exercise was significantly reduced by preexercise BCAA supplementation at 92 ± 2 mg/kg body weight in female participants ( Shimomura, 2010 ).  These two studies support the hypothesis that BCAA's reduce muscle fatigue due to resistance training.

BCAA has been shown to preserve lean body mass of resistance trained athletes when on a caloric restricted diet „cut diet“. In the study a group of healthy resistance trained males were given a dose of 14 gr of BCAA prior/during workout and again 14 gr after workout for 8 weeks and compared to a control group. The results show that the group using BCAA supplementation did not lose any lean body mass during this timeframe, while losing some fat mass. ( Dudgeon, 2016 )
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Dudgeon WD, Kelley EP, Scheett TP. (2016). In a single-blind, matched group design: branched-chain amino acid supplementation and resistance training maintains lean body mass during a caloric restricted diet. J Int Soc Sports Nutr.13:1-015–0112-9

Matsumoto K1, Koba T, Hamada K, Sakurai M, Higuchi T, Miyata H. (2009). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation attenuates muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation during an intensive training program.  J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 49(4):424-31. 
Yoshiharu Shimomura, Asami Inaguma, Satoko Watanabe, Yuko Yamamoto, Yuji Muramatsu, Gustavo Bajotto, Juichi Sato, Noriko Shimomura, Hisamine Kobayashi, and Kazunori Mawatari. (2010). Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation Before Squat Exercise and Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,  20, 236-244.