Five Facts About BCAAs

BCAAs, or branch chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are essential amino acids. This means that our bodies do not produce them so we must consume them. We do this by eating protien rich foods. Amino acids are the 'building blocks of protiens'. They help in sports recovery and help to build muscle. I will always recommend eating food before taking any supplements, however it may be more conveinient to take a BCAA supplement in combination with athletic training.

For increasing strength and power in athletes, I will recommend BCAA supplementation, based on their nutrition history. I see more in my vegetarian athletes that they are consuming incomplete protein sources, meaning that they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. As much as I try to encourage food before supplementation, sometimes it is necessary for high-level athletes.

Before you do, here are five facts you may want to consider.

1. The main claim to taking BCAAs is this: The anabolic response to exercise is often considered to be synonymous with muscle hypertrophy (growth). Following resistance exercise, muscle anabolism leads to repair of damaged muscle cells and tissue and muscle growth.

2. There is no research that has assessed the response of muscle protein synthesis to BCAA (or leucine) ingestion alone (without any other nutrients and/or not as part of an intact protein) following exercise. Eat food first.

3. One study found that BCAA supplementation, that was about 76% leucine, combined with moderate energy restriction has been shown to allow maintenance of a high level of performance.

4. Food sources include any whole foods high in protein like nuts, seeds, oats, rice, beans, and lentils.

5. The standard dosage for isoleucine is 48-72mg per kilogram of bodyweight, assuming a non-obese person. The standard leucine dosage is between 2-10g. A combination dose is 20g of combined BCAAs, with a balanced ratio of leucine and isoleucine.

Happy snacking!


Antonio J, Kalman D, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Willoughby DS, Haff GG, eds. (2008) Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements (2008) Humana Press.

Mero, A. Leucine supplementation and intensive training. Sports Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):347-58

Gee TI, Deniel S. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation attenuates a decrease in power-producing ability following acute strength training.J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Dec;56(12):1511-1517.

#BCAAs #PlantProtein #Protein

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