What Are Branched Chain Amino Acids?

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WHAT ARE BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS?
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids because of their chemical structure or formula. Each
amino acid (as the name shows) has an amino group (NH2) and an acid group (COOH), and rest in
between is a chain of groups like ––CH2 defines the name and function of the particular amino acid.
Of all the amino acids (there are 22 in total), only 3 are called Branched Chain Amino Acids, namely
Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine. These three amino acids have a branched chain rather than a linear
chain thus the name.
WHAT BENEFITS DO BCAAS PROVIDE?
Exercise leads to a depletion of liver glycogen and muscle glucose levels decrease. BCAAs are the
only amino acids that are metabolized in muscle and go direct to circulation. The rest of the amino
acids are metabolized in liver. BCAAs delay central fatigue and maintain glucose levels in muscle.
They also delay exercise induced muscle damage and tissue breakdown. BCAAs let the athletes train
harder because of their protein sparing effect.
FOR WHOM ARE BCAAS BENEFICIAL TO TAKE AND WHY?
BCAA supplementation is beneficial in relation to sports and exercise. The requirement of BCAAs is
increased after exercise due to muscle degradation. Thus, athletes or even people exercising
regularly would benefit from BCAA supplements. BCAA supplementation, before and after exercise
promotes muscle protein synthesis and decreases exercise related muscle damage. However, the
results for endurance performance with BCAA are inconsistent and are more for sprinting or weight
training.
TOXICITY OF BCAAS
Numerous toxicity studies have been performed in rats and mice, however no toxicity has been
reported with BCAA supplementation. There ha ve been no reports on B CAA related toxicity in sports
and exercise.