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Everything You Need To Know About Branched-Chain Amino Acids

The human body contains thousands of different proteins that are made of 20 amino acids. Out of these 20 amino acids, nine amino acids are known as essential amino acids. These nine essential amino acids are not produced by the human body, and the only way they can be acquired is by consuming a nutritional diet. Three of these essential amino acids are what we call “branched-chain amino acids.” Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are BCAAs that can be found in foods that are rich in protein, such as chicken, eggs, tuna, salmon, turkey, and cottage cheese. BCAAs are also sold in powders form as highly beneficial dietary and fitness supplements. These essential amino acids are called “branched-chain” due to their molecular structure, which includes branches. Their structure has a significant impact on how the human body utilizes these beneficial amino acids.

Branched-chain amino acids play a significant role in the build-up and repair process of human muscles. While most amino acids are metabolized in the liver, branched-chain amino acids are mostly metabolized in the muscle tissue. This is the reason why the BCAAs supplement is extremely beneficial for bodybuilders and athletes. Out of the three branched-chain amino acids, leucine is known to initiate the process of muscle protein synthesis and prevent protein breakdown. BCAAs rapidly enter the bloodstream and are absorbed by active muscle tissues.

Benefits of Branched-Chain Amino Acids

  • Muscle Growth

Branched-chain amino acids are a great way to increase muscle growth. Leucine helps initiate the process of building muscles, which is known as muscle protein synthesis. Studies have shown that BCAA supplement also increases lean mass while simultaneously reducing body fat percentage. For people with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, branched-chain amino acids have helped maintain muscle mass significantly.

  • Reduce Muscle Soreness

After extensive workouts, BCAA supplements can help reduce soreness of the muscle. This soreness commonly shows up a day or two after a workout and is also known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS can last up to 3 days post-workout. Researchers have not been able to unearth the exact cause of delayed onset muscle soreness, but they have suggested that it might be due to the small tears in the muscles after an extensive training session. Branched-chain amino acids can help in the treatment of DOMS. We already know that BCAAs lessen protein breakdown as well as reduce significant amounts of creatine kinase in the muscles. Creatine kinase is an intracellular enzyme produced in the muscles that indicate muscle damage. Incorporating a branched-chain amino acid supplement as a pre-workout supplement can help speed up recovery time.

  • BCAAs Strengthen the Immune System

After intense and vigorous training sessions that can be repeated daily over the course of weeks, the human body can experience extreme fatigue and a compromised immune system. This occurs when an athlete or bodybuilder does not properly recover from the muscle damage in between training sessions. Factors such as the intensity of the training, environmental conditions, and nutritional health play a major role in how fast the human body experiences fatigue and exhaustion. Studies have shown that daily consumption of branched-chain amino acid supplements enhances the way the human body defends itself and recovers from muscle damage caused by intense training in cyclists. This occurs when BCAAs are utilized by immune cells as a major source of fuel. With more fuel, the immune system recovers faster and more efficiently. For faster recovery and better health, BCAAs are a great fitness supplement option.

  • Improve Health of Those Suffering from Liver Disease

Cirrhosis is a chronic illness in which the liver is damaged and scarred permanently. In cirrhosis, the scar tissue replaces healthy tissue causing the functionality of the liver to worsen over time. The liver fails to function properly and fails. Studies have estimated that about 50% of patients with cirrhosis develop hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy is a nervous system disorder in which the brain begins to lose its functions when the liver fails to properly remove toxins from the human body. Doctors prescribe antibiotics and recommend the consumption of certain sugars to treat these nervous disorders. Studies have also shown that branched-chain amino acids can also be beneficial to treat hepatic encephalopathy. The most common form of liver cancer can also form in patients suffering from cirrhosis. BCAA supplements can also protect patients against liver cancer.

  • Enhances Brain Function

Amino acids are primarily responsible for the production of protein and hence energy in the body. They have been shown to be critical in providing energy to brain cells. Oral intake of branched-chain amino acid capsules and nutritional meals might be used to treat worsening levels of brain function caused by chronic liver illnesses. However, in such instances, it is vital to visit a doctor first and not take BCAA without a prescription.

  • Beneficial for Treatment of Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an illness that results in substantial muscle loss. BCAA supplement is a great way to treat anorexic people since BCAAs reduce muscle breakdown. Taking branched-chain amino acid supplements or eating foods rich in branched-chain amino acids would assist the human body in muscle repair and development. BCAA sources help those who are undernourished or malnourished meet their nutritional needs. BCAA capsules or supplements can also be used to treat anorexia that occurs when a patient is suffering from cancer or chronic liver diseases.

Foods High in Branched-Chained Amino Acids

  • Chicken breast
  • Whey protein powder
  • Salmon
  • Turkey Breast
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Canned tuna
  • Soy protein powder
  • Eggs
  • 1% milk
  • Corn
  • Whole wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Side Effects and Risks of BCAAs 

Branched-chain amino acid supplements are safe to use as per the instructions of manufacturers and professionals. It is not recommended to exceed the maximum dosage of BCAA supplements. Since every human body is different from one another, some people may experience serious side effects from the consumption of branched-chain amino acids. Those who do should stop taking the supplement and consult their medical care provider immediately. Various research has suggested that branched-chain amino acids may be linked to some diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, and liver problems.

Branched-chain amino acids have many different benefits to offer for fitness enthusiasts as well as patients suffering from different illnesses. Consumed in appropriate amounts, BCAA supplements can promote muscle growth, increase endurance, improve brain functions, and treat illnesses. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, BCAA supplements are a regular part of their pre-workout routine and serve as a direct energy source.

Supplement for Amino Acid

As a leading fitness supplement online store, Fitflex offers a wide range of supplements from top-quality and international fitness brands. You can browse their products by brands or fitness goals. Fitflex supplement store also offers consultancy services with professional trainers for personalized plans and more. They offer branched-chain amino acid in Pakistan supplements from different brands, such as Muscletech, Optimum Nutrition, BPI Sports, and more!

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