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Amino Acid of the Week: BCAA

Filed Under: Sports Nutrition at 6:15 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
BCAA pathwayLucky Blog continues to explain the importance of amino acids. Today’s blog describes three essential amino acids: Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine.

Also know as Branched-Chain Amino Acids or simply BCAA, these three amino acids make up approximately 1/3 of skeletal muscle in the human body and play an important role in protein synthesis. The BCAAs stimulate the effect of insulin in different manners resulting in net protein growth.

Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet. The human body does not produce any of these amino acids, but only a few people may experience deficiency of BCAAs.

Dairy products and red meat are the best sources of branched-chain amino acids, although they are present in all protein-containing foods, including whey protein and egg protein.

BCAA supplements are commonly used to enhance athletic performance. Several studies have shown that BCAA supplementation can improve endurance and strength training results. It can be useful to prevent muscle loss at high altitudes and prolonging endurance performance in the heat, a perfect product for marathon or triathlon runners.

In addition, BCAA supplements have been used to support kidney failure and liver cirrhosis and are currently used clinically to aid in the recovery of burn victims. Side effects have not been reported with the use of BCAAs.

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