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Study Shows Benefits Of BCAA Supplements

Researchers in Sweden at Astrand Laboratory studied the effects of using BCAA’s with hard exercising individuals. While numerous studies had supported the belief that BCAA trigger anabolism via the mTor pathway, none has shown specifically that BCAA could blunt catabolism. This would make BCAA’s an even more attractive supplement to use in the weight trainers quest for performance and muscle building. Not only does leucine build muscle, but isoleucine and valine aid in fat loss. This new study showed that the more BCAA’s you have in your muscle during exercise, the less contractile protein is broken down.

The Study To Show The Benefits Of BCAA Supplements

7 healthy subjects were chosen to participate in this study. They were all people who didn’t currently exercise on a regular basis. The researchers had the participants train their legs on the leg press machine. The were asked to train one leg at a time and on set one do roughly 90% of their 1RM (single max rep) for 4 sets of 10 repetitions. They followed this up with 4 sets of 15 repetitions at 65% of 1RM. They were given sports drinks after training. One day the were given a drink with no active ingredients. On another day they were given BCAA’s in a sports drink. The participants were asked to ingest these 150 ml drinks just before exercise, during exercise, 15 minutes post training and again 45 minutes post training. There was a total of 600 ml of fluid drank that contained 6.8 grams of BCAA. 6.8 grams  would be considered a fairly conservative dose of BCAA’s.

The Results

While it was fully expected to find that BCAA would show biomarkers for anabolism as had been supported via prior studies. What was a surprise finding is that two biomarkers that show catabolism were lessen in their expression. The BCAA’s showed that same effect in both resting and exercised muscles. For all the conspiracy theory advocates who may think their was slick science afoot, this study was funded by the Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and the Karolinska Institutet.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar 1;302(5):E510-21.