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Branched Chain Amino Acids(BCAAs)



Oct 17, 2010
The BCAAs-isoleucine, leucine, and valine- are all essential amino acids that make up about 35% of the amino acids in muscles tissue, and can also be used for energy. Studies confirm that under conditions of stress, injury, or exercise, a disproportionately high amount of the BCAAs are required to maintain nitrogen balance. Studies also indicate that leucine is used up to two or more times than the rate of isoleucine or valine. Many formulas on the market will typically have about twice as much leucine as the other BCAAs. BCAAs have a history of use in hospital situations where patients were in stressed states(burn victims, surgery, trama, starvation). Intravenous feeding of BCAAs is used to stimulate protein systhesis and nitrogen balance.

During the 1980's, sport nutrition companies picked up on this clinical practice, and reshearch on animals and athletes revealed that the BCAAs are used for energy. They hypothesized that taking supplements of BCAAs would then compensate for BCAAs used for energy, promote muscle growth, and growth hormone release and insulin release. Although athletes widely used BCAAs; there are no good studies performed using them with athletes.

Dosages of BCAAs vary depending upon the products available. Some products contain just BCAAs, other have a few more ingredients, and still others contain a full sprctrum of 18 amino acids with extra amounts of the BCAAs plus cofactors. Athletes, especially bodybuilders, report muscle growth and strenght benefits when taking effective BCAA formulations. However, BCAAs are not just for power athletes. On the contrary, endurance athletes can also benefit from BCAA supplementation. Reshearch has determined that as much as 90% of the total daily leucine can be used for energy purposes in endurance athletes. This means that several that several times the normal amount of protein needs to be eaten to maintain nitrogen balance. But, an alternative method can be to fortify the base diet of food protiens with a BCAA type supplement. New reshearch has also demostrated a benefical effect on endurance when BCAAs are ingested before and during exercise in a beverage form.

How much of the BCCAs are Needed?

The exact answer to this question has not been determined as of yet, but the following will offer guildlines based on available reshearch and experience. You can either take a combination formula of just the BCAAs and a few confactors; take a full spectrum amino acid along with the BCAAs; or take a full spectrum amino acid supplement with extra BCAAs. Formulations with BCAAs, Vitamin B6 and Glutamic Acid are best. Supplemental amounts of BCAAa should range from 1.5 grams to 6 grams for Leucine, and 800mg to 3 grams for isoleucine and valine. Confactors should be present, like vitamin B6(pyridoxine),and glutamic acid. Split dosage over 2 servings per day. Take 30 to 60 minutes before exercise, directly after exercise on training days, and along with meals to fortify base proteins on non-training days

BCAAs may complete for absorption with other amnio acids like tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine. If you are taking supplements amounts of amnio acids, do so in the evening and mornings, at least 3 hours before BCAA supplement intake.

Taken from ISSA Preformance Nutrition Guide


Oct 28, 2010
Good post. Personally I prefer to use some Eaa's plus additional Luecine.

mike ross

mike ross

Dec 18, 2010
bcaa with glutamine is the way to go, first thing in the am 30min before breakfast, and at night before sleep. use some before training too, helps with endurance and recovery. i notice a difference immediately when i dont use them before training