What is BCAA?Proteins, as we all know, are made up of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in total, with 9 of them being essential. What does this imply? The body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own. Thus, we must ensure that we consume them through our diet. Three of the nine amino acids are branched-chain: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The term branched-chain refers to the chemical structure of these molecules.
Benefits of BCAAWhile most amino acids are primarily metabolised in the liver, BCAA is broken down within the muscle. It ensures that the muscles quickly absorb the amino acid, allowing them to grow and recover. Furthermore, BCAA can act as a direct energy source to the muscles during a long workout routine, preventing muscle breakdown and injuries. Let us discuss four benefits of BCAA on the body.
1. Improve Muscle Mass to Fat RatioWe all want to lose weight and get that lean body, but not at the expense of muscle. Muscle loss can lead to a variety of health problems, including fractures and sprains. A calorie-restrictive diet often decreases lean muscle mass, making it simpler to regain weight once you stop following the tight diet. A study noted that people who drank BCAA containing powders before eating had a higher fat-to-lean loss ratio than those who didn’t.
2. Control Blood Sugar LevelsI did mention that BCAA is often linked to diabetes then how can it control blood sugar levels. Well, it can! BCAAs such as leucine and isoleucine can stimulate pancreatic insulin secretion. Insulin can then cause the muscles to absorb more glucose, lowering blood sugar levels.
3. Benefits the LiverTaking BCAA supplements may help people with the liver disease better manage their symptoms and reduce complications. Study participants with advanced liver cirrhosis were randomly assigned into two groups. One group consumed BCAAs daily, while the other consumed a diet without BCAAs for at least six months. Researchers revealed the group taking BCAAs had lower creatinine levels, indicating that supplementation is beneficial in people with advanced liver cirrhosis. Additionally, by taking BCAA supplements, liver cancer patients may reduce the likelihood of water retention and premature death.
4. Promotes Muscle RecoveryInflammation in your muscle cells causes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Research has shown that consuming BCAAs reduces muscle damage in response to resistance and endurance exercise. That means you’ll be able to recover faster and with minor muscle soreness between strenuous workouts.
What are the dangers of BCAAs?The amount of BCAA needed for daily maintenance varies depending on your lifestyle, so carefully read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before taking them. Too much of anything can cause problems. Let us go through some significant complications caused by BCAA.
1. High Blood SugarAccording to a 2018 study, excessive BCAA use is a risk factor for diabetes. BCAA is thought to cause insulin resistance. As mentioned above, BCAA can promote insulin synthesis by the pancreas. Overproduction of insulin can cause the body’s cells to become less sensitive to insulin over time. Thus, the blood sugar level increases resulting in diabetes.
2. Kidney DamagePeople with renal illness are advised frequently to eat a low-protein diet. It is because ingesting protein can raise the filtration rate, putting more pressure on the kidneys. Within one hour of high protein consumption, there is an increase in kidney filtration by 30%. It may not be alarming for a healthy kidney, but you might want to stay away from BCAA supplements if you have a kidney problem.
3. Liver InjuryA 2016 study found a link between high levels of BCAAs and liver disease and damage. BCAA causes hepatic injury by inducing adipocyte lipolysis and inhibiting hepatic autophagy.
4. Cardiovascular DiseaseIn one study, higher levels of BCAAs increased the risk of high blood pressure & cardiovascular disease. However, this study had some limitations, so more study is needed.
Are BCAAs cancerous?BCAAs appeared to act via mTORC1. These data suggest BCAAs have cancer-specific functions and that in certain contexts, BCAAs may even suppress cancer development. Source Also Read: Best Pre-Workout Supplements in India 2023 Best Creatine Supplement in India 2023 Best Glutamine Powder in India 2023 Summary The use of BCAAs can be beneficial for athletes, people who work out, people on calorie deficient diets, or anyone else who may experience lean tissue loss. There are relatively few side effects associated with BCAA supplements. However, you should consult your health care provider before taking BCAA supplements if you have a kidney or diabetes condition or suffer from liver disease. Comment below if this article helped alleviate some of your concerns regarding BCAA supplements. Major References:
Whether you want to gain muscle sustainably, lose weight, or do both—Mirganshi is the person you reach out to! She has a B.Sc in Nutrition and Dietetics from Lovely Professional University (LPU) and certification from Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute (GGFI). She grew up and completed her schooling in Jaipur, Rajasthan back in the early 2000s. Currently, she helps hundreds of individuals in correcting their diets, lifestyle habits, and physical health.
She currently lives with her husband in Navi Mumbai, and they have been happily married since 2017. She is also a fitness freak herself and has completed several marathons like TATA Mumbai Marathon, Pinkathon, and more! In her free time, she likes to listen to music while writing her journal. Discipline is her best friend, and she ensures to impart this virtue in her clientele as well.
Due to her impeccable grip on body nutrition and well-being, Mirganshi understands precisely what is right for your body and recommends/reviews products she only truly has faith in. Mirganshi is also a champion for mental health advocacy and understands how keeping your brain fit and mind sane is an essential part of well-being.