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Benefits of BCAA's (branch-chained amino acids) in Performance

Catabolism of the branched-chain amino acids can be promoted by exercise and are useful to enhance metabolism of energy in the muscle and adaptation to exercise training. Basically, these amino acids consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are catabolized in certain organs like the liver or skeletal muscle (Minjin, 1).

In studies performed by Minjin, mice who received the BCAA BDK-mKO, that were untrained showed the same performance but those mice who were trained demonstrated performance

that was enhanced and that glycogen levels were low and metabolism increased for improved

homeostasis in the energy of the muscle (Minjin, 3).

In the study conducted by Chang, athletes performed all-out sprints. Those who took BCAA supplements demonstrated improved performance by alleviating central fatigue by not

allowing serotonin to bind on the receptors. BCAA’s interrupt the communication of serotonin

with the receptors by using the same transporter therefore, blocking the transportation of

serotonin, improving the RPE’s of subjects and cognitive functions (Chang, 3).

By using up the hormone receptors, hormones that signal to the brain that the body is fatiguing are unable to send their message and the body may continue without causing a disturbance in the body’s metabolism called ‘hyperammonemia’(Chang, 4).

Sembrowich studied the effects of how rats grew due to BCAA supplementation when they performed aerobic exercise, they showed higher cartilage weight and improved glycogen stores but no major growth changes (Sembrovich, 2).

BCAA beverages were observed to have contributed to lower cortisol levels and increased post exercise insulin levels (Calders, 5). The order of ingestion during or in preparation for resistance exercise were studied and found to increase performance levels, lower the levels of muscle soreness and damage and aid in homeostasis when taken together before and during resistance exercise (Foster, 22).


Calders, P., Matthys, D., & Pannier, J. L. (1995). Branched Chain Amino Acid (Bcaa) Supplementation Enhances Endurance Performance In Fasted Rats. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,27(Supplement). doi:10.1249/00005768-199505001-00813

Chang, C., Chien, K. C., Chang, J., Huang, M., Liang, Y., & Liu, T. (2015). Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Arginine Improve Performance in Two Consecutive Days of Simulated Handball Games in Male and Female Athletes: A Randomized Trial. Plos One,10(3), 5. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121866

Foster, C., Faria, E., Chinevere, T., & Faria, I. (1998). Effect Of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Ingestion On Moderate And High Intesity Cycling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,30(Supplement), 17. doi:10.1097/00005768-199805001-00092

Minjin, X. (2017). Endurance performance and energy metabolism during exercise in mice with a muscle-specific defect in the control of branched-chain amino acid catabolism. Plums Metrics,12, 1-40. Retrieved June 25, 2019.

Sembrowich, W. L. (1975). The Effects Of Exhaustive Exercise On Heart Mitochondria From Trained And Sedentary Rats. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,7(1), 69. doi:10.1249/00005768-197500710-00037

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