Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, have always been thought of as a failed performance enhancer for athletes. While the research has supported the claim that BCAAs do not inherently increase performance ability, they have taken on a more important role as a recovery aid.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein chains. BCAAs refer to three of the 20 amino acids that make up the protein structures of your body: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids also lie within the 9 essential aminos; meaning they have to be consumed because they cannot be produced by the body. BCAAs were analyzed as a recovery supplement, rather than a performance enhancer, and were discovered to decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis after exercise. Furthermore, research published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness indicated the role of BCAAs in modification of exercise-related cytokine production may also help maintain a healthy immune system.
While branched-chain amino acids can be found in other dietary sources, a BCAA supplement is an effective way to ensure you’re taking in the muscle-building aminos during or soon after your workout.