Muscle FitBlogWHAT ARE BCAA’S?

BCAA’s are the branched chain amino acids Leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are just three of the 9 essential amino acids that must be consumed through our diets. BCAA’s have a different chemical structure to other amino acids and play a particular important role in individuals who are physically active.


1. Leucine

Leucine is an essential amino acid and is the most common among the three BCAA’s. Within muscle tissue, leucine has been suggested to have a main function of stimulating protein synthesis and building muscle, making it a popularly consumed supplement for individuals taking part in intensive training. For those physically active around 16mg of Leucine is advised per kg of body weight.

2. Isoleucine

Isoleucine, like Leucine has been thought to enhance protein synthesis, however additionally to this isoleucine has been suggested to significantly increase glucose uptake and optimise the usage of glucose during physical activity. Isoleucine is therefore suggested to increase endurance and energy levels through an independent biological mechanism that differs from the chemical pathways of leucine and valine. Around 12mg of Isoleucine is advised per kg of body weight.

3. Valine

Valine is an amino acid that works closely with leucine and isoleucine. Valine is thought to enhance muscle repair and growth, whilst regulating blood glucose levels and stimulating the central nervous system. Valine can play a part in the central nervous system and cognitive functioning because it is known to contribute to the regulation and transport of molecules across the blood brain barrier. Around 16mg of Valine is advised per kg of body weight.

Sources of BCAA’s

Leucine, isoleucine and valine can be consumed in the diet from many different sources,with the highest sources coming from egg whites, soy protein isolate, red meats, poultry, fish and dairy. However, for individuals participating in exercise the demands for BCAA’s often exceed those that can be adequately met by diet alone, which is where BCAA supplementation can become an important part of your supplement regime.

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