June 7, 2021


You’ve heard about BCAA’s, but do you REALLY know what they can do for you?


Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. “Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids. People use branched-chain amino acids for medicinal purposes as well as athletics.

There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body.

Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.

Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine.

“Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, which are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products. They are also a popular dietary supplement sold primarily in powder form.

Here are five proven benefits of BCAAs (healthline.com)

  1.  Increase Muscle Growth

One of the most popular uses of BCAAs is to increase muscle growth.

The BCAA leucine activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of making muscle.

In one study, people who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after their resistance workout had a 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed a placebo drink.

That being said, this increase in muscle protein synthesis is approximately 50% less than what was observed in other studies where people consumed a whey protein shake containing a similar amount of BCAAs.

Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle.

Therefore, while BCAAs can increase muscle protein synthesis, they can’t do so maximally without the other essential amino acids, such as those found in whey protein or other complete protein sources.

Summary BCAAs play an important
role in building muscle. However, your muscles require all the essential amino
acids for the best results.

  1. Decrease Muscle Soreness

Some research suggests BCAAs can help decrease muscle soreness after a workout.

It’s not uncommon to feel sore a day or two after a workout, especially if your exercise routine is new.

This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last up to 72 hours.

While the exact cause of DOMS is not clearly understood, researchers believe it’s the result of tiny tears in the muscles after exercise.

BCAAs have been shown to decrease muscle damage, which may help reduce the length and severity of DOMS.

Several studies show that BCAAs decrease protein breakdown during exercise and decrease levels of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle damage.

In one study, people who supplemented with BCAAs before a squat exercise experienced reduced DOMS and muscle fatigue compared to the placebo group.

Therefore, supplementing with BCAAs, especially before exercise, may speed up recovery time.

Summary Supplementing with BCAAs
may decrease muscle soreness by reducing damage in exercised muscles.

  1. Reduce Exercise Fatigue

Just as BCAAs may help decrease muscle soreness from exercise, they may also help reduce exercise-induced fatigue.

Everyone experiences fatigue and exhaustion from exercise at some point. How quickly you tire depends on several factors, including exercise intensity and duration, environmental conditions and your nutrition and fitness level.

Your muscles use BCAAs during exercise, causing levels in your blood to decrease. When blood levels of BCAAs decline, levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan in your brain increase.

In your brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a brain chemical that is thought to contribute to the development of fatigue during exercise.

In two studies, participants who supplemented with BCAAs improved their mental focus during exercise, which is thought to result from the fatigue-reducing effect of BCAAs.

Summary BCAAs may be useful in
decreasing exercise-induced fatigue, but they are unlikely to improve exercise

  1. Prevent Muscle Wasting

BCAAs can help prevent muscle wasting or breakdown.

Muscle proteins are constantly broken down and rebuilt (synthesized). The balance between muscle protein breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in muscle.

Muscle wasting or breakdown occurs when protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis.

Muscle wasting is a sign of malnutrition and occurs with chronic infections, cancer, periods of fasting and as a natural part of the aging process.

In humans, BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins. They account for 40% of the total amino acids required by your body.

Therefore, it’s important that the BCAAs and other essential amino acids are replaced during times of muscle wasting to halt it or to slow its progression.

Several studies support the use of BCAA supplements for inhibiting muscle protein breakdown. This may improve health outcomes and quality of living in certain populations, such as the elderly and those with wasting diseases like cancer.

Summary Taking BCAA supplements
can prevent the breakdown of protein in certain populations with muscle

  1. Benefit People With Liver Disease

BCAAs may improve health in people with cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the liver does not function properly.

It’s estimated that 50% of people with cirrhosis will develop hepatic encephalopathy, which is the loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood.

While certain sugars and antibiotics are the mainstays of treatment for hepatic encephalopathy, BCAAs may also benefit people suffering from the disease.

One review of 16 studies including 827 people with hepatic encephalopathy found that taking BCAA supplements had a beneficial effect on the symptoms and signs of the disease, but had no effect on mortality.

Liver cirrhosis is also a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, for which BCAA supplements may also be useful.

Several studies have shown that taking BCAA supplements may offer protection against liver cancer in people with liver cirrhosis.

As such, scientific authorities recommend these supplements as a nutritional intervention for liver disease to prevent complications.

Summary BCAA supplements may
improve the health outcomes of people with liver disease, while also possibly
protecting against liver cancer.

Foods High In BCAAs

BCAAs are found in foods and whole protein supplements.

Getting BCAAs from complete protein sources is beneficial, as they contain all the essential amino acids.

Fortunately, BCAAs are abundantly found in many foods and whole protein supplements.

The best food sources of BCAAs include:

Food Serving Size BCAAs
Beef, round 3.5 ounces (100 grams) 6.8 grams
Chicken breast 3.5 ounces (100 grams) 5.88 grams
Whey protein powder 1 scoop 5.5 grams
Soy protein powder 1 scoop 5.5 grams
Canned tuna 3.5 ounces (100 grams) 5.2 grams
Salmon 3.5 ounces (100 grams) 4.9 grams
Turkey breast 3.5 ounces (100 grams) 4.6 grams
Eggs 2 eggs 3.28 grams
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup (50 grams) 4.5 grams
1% milk 1 cup (235 ml) 2.2 grams
Greek yogurt 1/2 cup (140 grams) 2 grams

Summary Many protein-rich foods
contain high amounts of BCAAs.

In A Perfect World…

All of us would eat the right amount of protein, greens, fruits and drink our water, but this is simply not the case.  At least not for the majority of us.  If you’re anything like me, you REALLY put forth a great amount of effort to put all good things in your body.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go as planned.  Yesterday at 5:00, I looked at my husband and said, I haven’t had any water all day.  We had both been so busy, we just never stopped.  I immediately drank 3 bottles of water and made him do the same thing, but that’s just the water part.  What about everything else?  Obviously if I’m struggling to get my daily water intake, I’m not doing a bang up job on me essential nutrients either.


Thank goodness I have my 5-amino on hand to make up for my busyness lately.

These are the reasons I love 5-amino…

Weight loss, Muscle Increase, Rejuvenation, Increased Energy & Truly Anti-aging

To spare you the smart talk, basically 5-Amino does this really cool thing with your metabolism by blocking NNMT.  We don’t like NNMT because it is what increases with fat cells.  When you take a 5-Amino daily, you are helping your body assist in blocking NNMT.  NNMT not only grows with fat cells, it also causes bodily aches, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and slow brain function.  NO THANK YOU!

Lipoden with BCAAs

I’ve written about this before, but it would be dumb not to mention it again.  Lipoden is a shot taken once a week in order to increase your metabolism.  Now, it comes with BCAAs included for an extra BOOST!  Whoop there it IS!

If I Were You…

I would run, not walk to acquire your own supply of Aminos.  They are simply TOO essential as we age and there is NO WAY any of us are getting the amount we need to truly benefit.  Are we staying alive? Yes!  But don’t you want MORE out of life?  A focused mind, a trim physique, a positive outlook, and great skin can ALL be found in BCAAs.

Tip of the Day!

I recently had a conversation with an avid tennis pro and as he was telling me about his daily health routine, he included 2 Aleve every morning.  Ummmmmm, no offense to the makers of Aleve, I use it, but NOT EVERY DAY!  Dear Lord, that is super not healthy.  I told him to instead try doing a few other things to help his joint pain and body aches.  If you suffer from random aches and pains, here are some things you can try to rid yourself of most of them…

  1. Buy a “Hang Up.” This can assist in getting things all aligned like they should be from head to toe.  Often times, our body aches start somewhere in the spinal chord and work their way throughout our body.  I use my Hang Up daily and I swear by it.
  2. Stretch as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed. This doesn’t have to be ballerina like stretching.  Just the typical stretch with arms above your head, feet shoulder width apart, then bend from the waist down and try to reach your toes.  DO this slowly 10 times and each time you’ll get lower and lower.  AS you get better, add a few more stretches.
  4. Eat Salmon! Salmon is high in omega fatty acids, these naturally lubricate your joints and make them want to move like a well-oiled machine!
  5. Be Positive! It’s true…the brighter you see things, the better your body feels.  So TOSS the negativity, nobody likes a grump anyway!

CHEERS to Pain Free Days!!!

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Hi, I'm Clay

I’m one of the founders of Elite Health. We launched EHO to help people experience the best version of themselves. 

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