Branched Chain Amino Acids

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The branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are valine, leucine and isoleucine, and make up a third of muscle protein. All are essential amino acids, and are used up in extraordinarily high amounts during exercise, this is in part due to the fact that they are used to synthesis the amino acids glutamine and alanine, which are released in large quantities during exercise. BCAAs are also used directly for fuel by muscles, thus sparing other amino acids from being catabolised. Without adequate intakes of BCAAs, muscle cells will not heal and therefore grow, and, naturally, bodybuilders have greater requirements for BCAAs than 'normal' people.

Like glutamine and arginine, leucine has been heavily researched for its role in muscle repair and growth, both clinically, in post-trauma patients, and in sports nutrition. Studies have shown that supplementing with leucine in gram quantities may improve athletic performance, or post trauma patients have reduced loss of muscle mass (Chua, et al 1979; Marchesini, et al 1982). However, some studies, have shown no effect (Bloomstrand, et al 1991). The effects of leucine maybe through its metabolite HMB, see Chapter 9.

BCAAs are available in amino acid ¿¿r i complex capsules, as the three 1 CDQ See n° UeaS°n t0 Supplement together or individually. I can see with BCAAs alone, aS long aS your no reason to supplement with

BCAAs al one, as long as your Protein intaNe iS g°°d and Varied."

protein intake is good and varied.

Whey protein is extremely high in BCAA content, so if you include a whey protein powder, your intake will be plentiful, even by bodybuilding standards.

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