What are the benefits of BCAA Supplementation?

 Most athletes feel a substantial decrease in the amount of muscle soreness after workouts once they begin taking BCAA supplementation.


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) such as leucine, valine, isoleucine are “chained” together by carbon atoms, and are among the key building blocks of healthy muscles. Exercise depletes amino acids quickly, so for athletes it is important to replenish them for the body to function at a high level. Failure to do so by an athlete who works out vigorously can cause plateauing and prevent gains in strength, speed, and stamina. BCAA deficiency can also lead to metabolic problems, such as toxicity in the blood and urine.

Making regular gains in physical performance requires regular consumption of branched-chain amino acids through foods and supplementation. Maintaining sufficient BCAA levels also carries with it health benefits such as better brain function, greater muscle strength and improved endurance.

Uses for athletes:

• Maintaining plasma levels of key amino acids.
• Optimizing post-exercise muscle growth.
• Preventing muscle tissue damage.
• Improving workout power.
• Preventing post-workout inflammation.

Benefits of BCAAs

In a recent study from the University of Tokyo, it was found that amino acid supplementation affected hematological and biochemical parameters in elite rugby players. According to the study, after just 90 days of supplementation, almost all of the athletes reported improvement in vigor and earlier recovery from fatigue. This is just one of several ongoing studies that point to the benefits of adding regular BCAA supplementation for enhanced athletic performance and greater energy. Other benefits include:

• Improved Recovery – Most athletes feel a substantial decrease in the amount of muscle soreness after workouts once they begin taking BCAA supplementation. Muscles grow during recovery from the damage caused by pushing them to failure; faster recovery means that you will meet your size and strength goals faster.
• Enhanced Endurance – BCAA boosts nitrogen in the form of the amino acid L-alanine, which provides the body with a source for the production of glucose after glycogen stores are depleted. Thus, BCAAs may enable you to train at higher intensity levels for longer periods of time.
• Increased Fat Loss – Studies show that supplementation with BCAAs triggers significant and preferential losses of visceral body fat. Studies suggest diets high in BCAAs help to reduce adipose tissue from the abdominal region.

Recommended Athlete Supplementation

• L-leucine – 500 mg 2 to 3 times daily
• L-isoleucine – 250 mg 2 to 3 times daily
• L-valine – 250mg 2 to 3 times daily

Article by Dr. Louis Ignarro:

Learn more about supplementation for athletic performance by ordering the book written by Nobel Laureate in Medicine Dr. Louis Ignarro and Naturopathic Physician Dr. Andrew Myers Health Is Wealth: Performance Nutrition for the Competitive Edge

Read about the use of BCAAs in recovery drinks.

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