BCAAs

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Reduced muscle damage

  • In 2012 the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study in which 12 men were assigned to receive either a placebo or a BCAA supplement and then completed 100 consecutive drop-jumps. The BCAA group had significantly less muscle soreness as well as faster muscle recovery when compared to the placebo group.
  • In 2010 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a double-blind study in which 12 untrained females received either a placebo or a BCAA supplement before performing 7 sets of squats at 20 repetitions per set. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) level was significantly lower in the BCAA group.

Reduced muscle damage, muscle soreness and inflammation

  • In 2009 the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness published a double-blind, crossover study in which a drink containing BCAAs reduced muscle soreness, fatigue and inflammation more than a placebo when consumed by 12 long distance runners on workout days.

Reduced soreness

  • In 2010 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a study in which 12 non-weight-trained males experienced reduced muscle-soreness compared to a placebo group of 12 non-weight-trained males when consuming a BCAA supplement 4 times during training days – 30 min before exercise, 1.5 h after exercise, between lunch and dinner, and before bed.

Increased resistance to fatigue

  • In 2011 The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness published a double-blind study in which 7 volunteers consumed either a BCAA supplement or a placebo for 3 days, with an exercise-induced glycogen depletion protocol on day 2 and an exhaustive exercise test on the third day. The BCAA group had a greater resistance to fatigue on day 3 compared to a placebo group.

Lowers perceived exertion

  • In 2011 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a crossover study in which 9 untrained in which males consumed a placebo, a BCAA beverage or a carbohydrate beverage during 3 separate 90-minute cycling bouts. The BCAA beverage lowered perceived exertion compared to the placebo beverage.

Fat loss and strength gains

  • In 2009 the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a double-blind study in which 36 strength-trained athletes consumed either 28 grams of whey protein, 14 grams of BCAAs or 28 grams of carbohydrates during an eight-week training program. The BCAA group had greater 10-rep-max strength increases in bench press and squat, greater decreases in body fat percentage and greater increases in lean mass than either the whey or carbohydrate groups.

Reduced muscle damage associated with endurance exercise

  • In 2013 The Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry published study which showed that BCAA supplementation decreased muscle damage more than a placebo in a group of 26 college-aged males who performed a bout of cycling to exhaustion.
  • In 2000 The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness published a study in which 16 males consumed either their normal diet (control group) or a BCAA supplement in addition to their normal diet for 14 days. On day 7 a 120 minute cycling test was administered. Blood tests showed that the BCAA group had significantly lower concentrations of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase – two intramuscular enzymes that can cause muscle damage.
  • In 2007 the International Journal of Sports Medicine published a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 8 healthy volunteers which showed that 2 grams of BCAAs and .5 grams of arginine prevented protein break-down when consumed 10 minutes after beginning three 20-minute cycling bouts.

Increased endurance exercise capacity

  • In 2009 the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology published a double-blind, crossover study of 8 trained males subjects which showed that 6 days of BCAA supplementation leading up to an endurance exercise bout was able to increase maximal oxygen utilization (VO2 max) more than a placebo. The researchers note that results suggest BCAAs may be useful in increasing endurance exercise capacity.

Muscle building

  • In 2001 the American Journal of Physiology published a placebo-controlled study in which 7 subjects received either a placebo or BCAAs during a 1-hour cycling bout. Results showed that BCAAs had a protein-sparing effect during exercise recovery – either by stimulating protein synthesis or decreasing protein degradation.

Maintains muscle mass at a caloric deficit

  • In 2016 the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study in which 17 resistance-trained men received either a BCAA supplement or a carbohydrate placebo during an 8-week training program while consuming a hypocaloric (calorie deficit) diet. The BCAA group lost fat mass and maintained lean mass while the carbohydrate group lost lean mass.

Prevents muscle wasting caused by cigarette smoking

  • In 2014 The Journal of Toxicological Sciences published an animal study which found that rats on a BCAA-rich diet that were exposed to cigarette smoke for 4 weeks gained muscle mass where as rats that were not fed a BCAA-rich diet that were exposed to cigarette smoke had a significant reduction in muscle mass.

Enhanced cognitive recovery in patients with brain injury

  • In 2005 Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published a study involving 40 men with traumatic brain injury in which 15 days of intravenous BCAA supplementation (19.6 g/day) was able to improve disability rating scale (DRS) to a greater extent than a placebo.

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