Vitamin supplements guide   Vitamins & health supplements guide

BCAAs quick review
Description: comprise the three essential amino acids l-leucine, l-isoleucine and l-valine.
Health benefits: serve as important fuel sources for skeletal muscle, needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue.

Sources & dosage: whey protein and egg protein supplements are other sources of BCAAs.
BCAA Plus Caps by Prolab Nutrition
Prolab BCAA Plus provides the essential amino acids L-Leucine, L-Valine and L-Isoleucine. These three protein-sparing amino acids are known as branched chain. It is a well known fact that amino acids are responsible for protein synthesis, hence the nickname building blocks. BCAAs are important in your quest for muscle growth and recuperation. Your body cannot manufacture its own BCAAs they must be supplied through your diet. Click here for more information.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) comprise the three essential amino acids l-leucine, l-isoleucine and l-valine. 'Branched chain' refers to their chemical structure, which sets them apart from other amino acids. In humans, about 15-25% of total protein intake is BCAA's, and dairy products are particularly high in them. BCAA's make up 35-40% of the essential amino acids in body protein and 14% of the total amino acids in skeletal muscle. Branched-chain amino acids are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet. Leucine is obtained by the hydrolysis of protein by pancreatic enzymes during digestion and necessary for optimal growth in infants and children and for the maintenance of nitrogen balance in adults. Valine contributes to the structure of proteins into which it has been incorporated by the tendency of its side chain to participate in hydrophobic interactions. Isoleucine is used in the body to produce biochemical compounds that help in energy production. BCAA's are metabolised directly in the muscle. This unique quality means that they are very anabolic (they build muscle) and very anti-catabolic (they stop muscle breakdown). BCAA supplementation is used most frequently by body builders and athletes undergoing intense exercise.


Functions, uses, and health benefits of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Branched-chain amino acids may be helpful in a minority of patients with hepatic encephalopathy. Branched-chain amino acids may improve encephalopathy symptoms in some by decreasing the accumulation of these false neurotransmitters and perhaps
other substances involved in the encephalopathy. BCAAs serve as important fuel sources for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress. BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen. BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.

BCAAs have an effect on all protein metabolism and during periods of stress are required by the body in larger amounts than any other amino acid. BCAAs may help build muscle during and following exercise by decreasing protein breakdown and increasing protein synthesis. BCAA supplementation may also improve mood and the performance of difficult tasks following exercise. BCAAs have been used in medicine as part of the treatment for some forms of liver disease and following surgery and chronic illness to improve healing and recovery.

Isoleucine is necessary for the optimal growth of infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. Isoleucine is needed for hemoglobin formation and also helps to maintain regular energy levels. It is turned into muscle tissue after entering the body and being metabolized. Isoleucine is important for stabilizing and regulating blood sugar and energy levels and is required through the diet as it cannot be produced by our bodies. Leucine is necessary for the optimal growth of infants and for the nitrogen balance in adults. Leucine lowers elevated blood sugar levels and is necessary in promoting the healing of bones, skin, and muscle tissue. Leucine is a direct-acting nutrient signal that regulates protein synthesis in adipose tissue. In skeletal muscle, leucine stimulates protein synthesis through multiple independent mechanisms. Valine is helpful in synthesis of glucose in liver especially during anaerobic activities (activities without proper amount of oxygen intake).


Dietary sources of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Dairy products and red meat contain the greatest amounts of BCAAs. Whey protein and egg protein supplements are other sources of BCAAs. Isoleucine is found in most food sources and is particularly high in many meats, fish, and cheeses. Leucine is found primarily in high quality protein foods such as beans, brewer's yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, and corn. Food sources of valine include soy flour, cottage cheese, fish, grains, mushrooms and peanuts, meats, and vegetables.


Dosage and intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Most diets provide an adequate amount of BCAAs for most people, which is about 25-65 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. Approximately 3-5 grams of BCAAs can be taken during exercise to delay fatigue and improve exercise performance.