Although there may be slight contradictions in pre-existing
research regarding BCAA supplementation there is enough positive
scientific evidence to warrant its usage in high performance
athletes. From numerous studies it is clear that BCAA's have
a significant role in increasing overall conditioning factors
such as aerobic and anaerobic capacities, by improving physiological
markers such as: red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit,
serum albumin, fasting glucose levels, a decrease in creatine
phophokinase, increased glycogenesis, and even rapid alleviation
of muscle inflammation. Other positive attributes associated
with BCAA's as shown by current scientific literature includes:
increased muscle recovery especially after intense eccentric
exercise, alleviation of short term decrements in performance
commonly associated with overreaching, improvements in plasma
levels of BCAA's (often linked with fatigue), and may aid in
the healing of injuries, sickness, and trauma. There may also
be strength and muscle mass increases accompanied by BCAA supplementation.
However, further research is needed to determine whether this
is a direct or indirect effect of BCAA supplementation.
According to consumerlab.com there is no apparent toxicity or
danger associated with BCAA supplementation. ConsumerLab also
recommends anywhere from 1-12 grams. The typical ratio of BCAA's
is 50% leucine, 25% isoleucine, and 25% valine. This also lines
up with the most current research on BCAA supplementation. BCAA's
should be taken with water before and after training with any
other pre or post workout supplement.
According to consumerlab.com and other valid sources some of
the best BCAA products include: Iron-Tech, Essential Liquid Amino
Complex, AST BCAA, MRM BCAA+G, Precision Engineered BCAA, Beverly
International Muscularity, Optimum Nutrition BCAA, Controlled
Labs Purple Wraath, and Ultimate Nutrition BCAA.
26. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S. Supplements as Ergogenic Aids.
Understanding Nutrition. 2005.
27. Ohtani M, Sugita M, Maruyama K. Amino acid mixture improves
training efficiency in athletes. J Nutr. 2006 Feb; 136(2): 538S-543S.
28. Sugita M, Ohtani M, Ishii N, Maruyama K, Kobayashi K.
Effect of a selected amino acid mixture on the recovery from
muscle fatigue during and after eccentric contraction exercise
training. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2003 Feb;67(2):372-5.
29. Ohtani M, Maruyama K, Suzuki S, Sugita M, Kobayashi K.
Changes in hematological parameters of athletes after receiving
daily dose of a mixture of 12 amino acids for one month during
the middle- and long-distance running training. Biosci Biotechnol
Biochem. 2001 Feb; 65(2): 348-55.
30. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Volek JS, Hakkinen K, Rubin MR,
French DN, Gomez AL, McGuigan MR, Scheett TP, Newton RU, Spiering
BA, Izquierdo M, Dioguardi FS. The effects of amino acid supplementation
on hormonal responses to resistance training overreaching. Metabolism.
2006 Mar; 55(3): 282-91.
31. Poon RT, Yu WC, Fan ST, Wong J. Long-term oral branched
chain amino acids in patients undergoing chemoembolization for
hepatocellular carcinoma: a randomized trial. Aliment Pharmacol
Ther. Apr2004; 19(7): 779-88.
32. Plaitakis A, et al. Pilot Trial of Branched-chain Aminoacids
in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Lancet. May 1988; 1(8593):
33. Sax HC, et al. Clinical Use of Branched-chain Amino Acids
in Liver Disease, Sepsis, Trauma, and Burns. Arch Surg. March
1986; 121(3): 358-66.
34. Braverman ER. The Healing Nutrients Within. New Canaan,
CT: Keats Publishing, Inc. 1997; 339.
35. NHIondemand.com. Branched Chain Amino Acids. Pharmasave
83. Kern, Mark. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA). CRC Desk
Reference of Sports Nutrition, San Diego State University. 20-21.
84. Coombes JS, McNaughton LR. Effects of branched-chain amino
acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase
after prolonged exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000 Sep;
85. Mero A. Leucine supplementation and intensive training.
Sports Med. 1999 Jun; 27(6): 347-58.