Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

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The amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine possess a similar branched-chain structure and are therefore referred to as branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAAs account for 14–18% of the total amino acids in muscle proteins, are essential for muscle protein synthesis and play important roles in muscle metabolism and repair. Exercise is known to increase the breakdown of BCAA in muscle through enzymatic degradation. In this context, providing BCAAs before or after exercise through dietary supplementation has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis.2 Clinical uses of BCAAs include reductions in fatigue, reduced glycogen depletion, prevention of muscle soreness and muscle damage, as well as improvements in muscle function and enhanced psychomotor performance.

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