A total of 20 key amino acids make up the thousands of proteins in the human body. From these 20 amino acids, 9(nine) of them cannot be produced by the human body. These nine amino acids have to be obtained through diet. From these nine external amino acids, three (3) of these very essential amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. also known as branched-chain amino acids. These branched-chain amino acids have several benefits as well as risks.
Branched chained amino acids most popularly and commonly known as BCAAs are a key element in fitness and sports nutrition. BCAAs are an amazing type of broken down amino acids that holds a key position in sports nutrition and performance. BCAAs, are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products as well as in powder form as supplements. As there are so many BCAA supplements in the market we will be discussing on the key benefits as well as the cons or risks of using branched-chain amino acids.
BCAAs consists of three main amino acids that is highly beneficial for athletes’ performance and recovery. They are;
- Leucine, isoleucine and valine are the three basic amino acids that make up branched chain amino acids. (BCAAs)
- BCAA supplements are widely used to promote muscle growth and improve athletic performance.
- They may also aid in weight loss and relieve post- exercise fatigue.
This article covers everything you need to know about BCAAs and their benefits together with the risks. Read more about the molecular structure of BCAAs and how they work here.
Benefits of BCAAs ( Branched-chain Amino Acids )
BCAAs have the potential to reduce fatigue during exercise. ( Benefits of BCAA #1 )
BCAAs may aid in the reduction of physical and mental exhaustion. In human studies, those who were given BCAAs during exercise experienced up to 15% less fatigue than those who were given a placebo. In one study, increased fatigue resistance allowed the BCAA group to Exercise for 17% longer before exhaustion than the placebo group.
BCAAs supplements help to relieve muscle pain. (Benefits and risks of BCAA #2 )
BCAAs may also help you feel less sore after working out. Lowering blood levels of the enzymes creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, which are involved in muscle damage, is one way they could do so. This will help with recovery and protect against muscle damage. Participants in various studies were asked to rate their muscle soreness after performing various strength-training exercises.
BCAAs help you gain muscle mass. (Benefits and risks of BCAA #3 )
Many people buy BCAA supplements in order to bulk up their muscles. The BCAA leucine activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of making muscle BCAAs do, after all, activate muscle-building enzymes, according to studies. Some research suggests that BCAA supplements can help you gain muscle mass, particularly if they have a higher proportion of leucine than isoleucine and valine. However, there is currently no evidence that supplementing with BCAAs is any more helpful than getting them from your diet or a less expensive whey or soy protein supplement.
BCAAs may help you lose weight. (Benefits and risks of BCAA #2 )
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may help you lose weight by preventing weight gain and increasing fat loss. In fact, observational studies show that those who consume an average of 15 grams of BCAAs per day from their diet have a 30% lower risk of being overweight or obese than those who consume 12 grams per day. It’s worth noting, however, that those who ate fewer BCAAs also ate about 20 grams less total protein per day, which may have affected the results. BCAAs may help your body get rid of unwanted fat more effectively if you’re trying to lose weight.
BCAAs could help with liver complications. (Benefits and risks of BCAA #2 )
BCAAs may aid in the reduction of complications associated with liver failure. Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a possible complication that can cause confusion, loss of consciousness, and coma. According to a recent study, BCAA supplements may be more effective than other supplements in reducing the severity of HE in patients with liver disease. BCAAs, on the other hand, did not increase overall survival or reduce the risk of other complications like infections or gastric bleeding.
Risks of BCAAs
BCAAs have been linked to lung failure in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and should be avoided (17). ALS is a rare neurological disease that affects voluntary movement and usually results in death within 3 to 5 years.
Risk of seizures.
BCAA can increase the risk of seizures, so it’s best to avoid it if you have a seizure disorder.
Increases cardiovascular diseases.
Excessive consumption of BCAA supplements may be related to an increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, in addition to the effects on mood. Amino acid metabolism has been linked to the development of heart disease, according to research. BCAA concentrations have been found to be higher in people who have heart problems, for example.
High levels of BCAA are linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes, just as they are with cardiovascular diseases. It’s still unclear whether elevated BCAA levels are simply diseased markers, whether they’re a result of a loss of insulin, or whether they’re the cause of insulin resistance.
BCAAs may hinder your performance.
BCAAs have long been thought to help athletes perform better. This is because they prevent other amino acids like Tryptophan and Tyrosine from being absorbed. This may appear to be a good thing because it reduces fatigue by reducing Serotonin (a chemical produced by your body that can stimulate parts of your brain that help you sleep), but it isn’t. Low serotonin levels are linked to grumpiness (are you in a bad mood or something, mate?) BCAAs can also decrease catecholamine production, which can have a negative impact on athletic performance.