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Home > Anti-aging Research > Branched-Change Amino Acids (BCAA}

Branched-Change Amino Acids (BCAA)

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  • Nutrients may reduce blood glucose levels - Science Daily, 10/10/18 - "scientists gave alanine by mouth to mice and found that levels of AMPK rose in the animals. Moreover, if mice ate alanine before they received a dose of glucose, their resulting blood glucose levels were significantly lower. And while glucose metabolism often behaves quite differently in lean mice than in obese mice, this mechanism was seen in both groups of mice ... All these data together suggest that amino acids, and specifically alanine, may be a unique potential way to modify glucose metabolism" - See alanine at Amazon.com.
  • β-alanine Efficacy for Sports Performance Improvement: From Science to Practice - Medscape, 5/17/17 - "β-alanine is a popular supplement among athletes with 61% of competitive team sport players recently surveyed reporting β-alanine use ... A ceiling on the supplement dosage amount stems from reported paraesthesia experienced in some individuals although slow release formulations are available that appear to alleviate this effect. Doses of 4–6 g/day, spread evenly over doses of 800 mg, for 4 weeks have elevated muscle carnosine levels by 64%[5] and extending the supplementation to 10 weeks has been shown to increase muscle carnosine by 80%" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • Beta-Alanine Boosts Performance in Female Masters Athletes - Medscape, 6/16/15 - "Beta-alanine, a nonessential amino acid, appears to function as a precursor to carnosine in muscle tissue. Carnosine buffers hydrogen ions, making muscle tissue less acidic and delaying fatigue ... randomly assigned 11 female masters cyclists to beta-alanine 800 mg and 11 to placebo four times a day for 28 days" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.

    Table: Changes in Endurance During the 28-Day Study Period
    Variable Beta-Alanine Group, % Placebo Group, %
    Time to exhaustion 23 1
    Total work completed 21 2
    Lactate -17 0
  • Dietary amino acids improve sleep problems in mice with traumatic brain injury - Science Daily, 12/11/13 - "the scientists gave the injured mice a dietary therapy of branched chain amino acids -- which humans get most often through foods high in protein, including red meat, poultry and eggs. Branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by neurons in the brain. Like the oil in a car engine, branched chain amino acids keep neurons running smoothly and boost neuron excitability. The branched chain amino acids restored the orexin neurons in the injured mice to a normal activity level, and improved wakefulness ... If a dietary supplement can improve sleeping and waking patterns as well as cognitive problems, it could help brain-injured patients regain crucial functions ... human patients with a variety of disorders have been treated with branched chain amino acid therapy for up to two years without adverse effects" - See BCAA products at Amazon.com.
  • Milk Protein for Improved Metabolic Health - Medscape, 9/23/13 - "'Sarcobesity' and sarcopaenic diabetes are rapidly growing health issues. As well as through direct mechanisms, dairy protein may indirectly improve metabolic health by aiding loss of body weight and fat mass through enhanced satiety, whilst promoting skeletal muscle growth and function through anabolic effects of dairy protein-derived branch chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs enhance muscle protein synthesis, lean body mass and skeletal muscle metabolic function. The composition and processing of dairy protein has an impact on digestion, absorption, BCAA kinetics and function, hence the optimisation of dairy protein composition through selection and combination of specific protein components in milk may provide a way to maximize benefits for metabolic health"
  • Nutritional Supplement Offers Promise in Treatment of Unique Form of Autism - Science Daily, 9/6/12 - "The researchers focused on a specific type of amino acid known as branched chain amino acids or BCAAs ... What was most exciting was that the potential treatment is obvious and simple: Just give affected patients the naturally occurring amino acids their bodies lack ... Mice treated with BCAA supplementation displayed improved neurobehavioral symptoms, reinforcing the idea that the approach could work in humans as well"
  • Amino acid-rich supplements boost muscle mass with exercise - Nutra USA, 11/8/11 - "Supplements containing a combination of amino acids and protein before and after resistance training may boost upper body strength by 13% ... The commercial supplements NO-Shotgun and NO-Synthesize by VPX were also associated with a 21% increase in lower-body strength ... The commercial supplements contain a list of ingredients including creatine, arginine, glutamine, beta-alanine, keto-isocaproate (KIC), and leucine, casein and whey protein, branched-chain amino acids, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, histidine, and methionine ... the primary active ingredients are whey protein, creatine, leucine, beta-alanine, and KIC" - [Abstract] - See BCAA products at Amazon.com.
  • The effects of branched-chain amino acid granules on the accumulation of tissue triglycerides and uncoupling proteins in diet-induced obese mice - Endocr J. 2011 Mar 1 - "It has been demonstrated the involvement of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on obesity and related metabolic disorder. We investigated the effects of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on obesity and on glucose/fat homeostasis in mice fed on a high-fat (45%) diet. BCAA was dissolved in 0.5% methylcellulose and added to the drinking water (BCAA-treated group). A high-fat diet was provided for 6 weeks and BCAA was given for 2 weeks. The BCAA-treated group gained almost 7% less body weight and had less epididymal adipose tissue (WAT) mass than the control group (p<0.05). BCAA supplementation also reduced the hepatic and skeletal muscle triglyceride (TG) concentrations (p<0.05). The hepatic levels of PPAR-alpha and uncoupling protein (UCP) 2, and the level of PPAR-alpha and UCP3 in the skeletal muscle were greater in the BCAA-treated group than in the control mice (p<0.05). These results demonstrate that the liver and muscle TG concentration are less in BCAA-treated group. BCAA affects PPAR-alpha and UCP expression in muscle and liver tissue"
  • Amino acid supplement makes mice live longer - Science Daily, 10/5/10 - "leucine, isoleucine, and valine extend the life span of single-celled yeast ... Animals that were given the extra amino acids over a period of months lived longer, with a median life span of 869 days compared to 774 days for untreated control animals, the researchers report. That's an increase of 12 percent ... The findings in older mice suggest that the supplementary mixture may be specifically beneficial for those who are elderly or ill"


  • Omega-3 fatty acids enhance the beneficial effect of BCAA supplementation on muscle function following eccentric contractions - J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2022 Sep 8 - "maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) using dumbbells ... The MVC torque was significantly higher in the BCAA+FO group than in the PL group immediately after ECCs (p < 0.05) but not in the BCAA group. Both BCAA and BCAA+FO groups showed greater ROM and lower muscle soreness than the PL group (p < 0.05). CK was significantly lower in the BCAA group than in the PL group at 5 days after ECCs (p < 0.05) ... This study reveals that supplementation with BCAA and FO may favorably impact immediate recovery of peak torque production. Alternatively, in comparison to PL group, BCAA supplementation favorably reduces creatine kinase" - See omega-3 supplements at Amazon.com and BCAA products at Amazon.com.
  • Effects of Five Amino Acids (Serine, Alanine, Glutamate, Aspartate, and Tyrosine) on Mental Health in Healthy Office Workers: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Exploratory Trial -Nutrients 2022 Jun 6 - "The importance of maintaining good mental health with overall well-being has recently drawn attention from various spheres of academics and the working population. Amino acid intake has been reported to reduce depression symptoms and other mental health problems. However, the effectiveness of amino acid intake (i.e., single or combined) remains unknown. In this study, we assessed a combination of five amino acids (serine, alanine, glutamate, aspartate, and tyrosine; SAGAT) reported to regulate mental health ... The current findings suggest that SAGAT contributes to maintaining proper motivation and cognitive function" - See serine at Amazon.com, beta-alanine at Amazon.com, glutamate supplements at Amazon.com, aspartate supplements at Amazon.com, and n-acetyl tyrosine at Amazon.com.
  • Acute Supplementation with Beta-Alanine Improves Performance in Aerobic-Anaerobic Transition Zones in Endurance Athletes - J Am Nutr Assoc 2022 Feb 15 - "Both 30 and 45 mg·kg-1 of BA increased physical performance at maximal aerobic speed in endurance athletes. The acute intake formats described in the present investigation may be helpful for endurance athletes training and competing in aerobic-anaerobic transition zones" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • Essential Amino Acid and Tea Catechin Supplementation after Resistance Exercise Improves Skeletal Muscle Mass in Older Adults with Sarcopenia: An Open-Label, Pilot, Randomized Controlled Trial - J Am Nutr Assoc 2022 Feb 23 - "Tea catechins (TCCs) have gained significant attention owing to their health effects. However, evidence is limited regarding the benefit of TCC and essential amino acids (EAAs) ingestion plus that of TCC ingestion after resistance exercise (RE) among older individuals with sarcopenia. We aimed to evaluate whether a 24-week nutritional program involving EAA and TCC supplementation after RE improved skeletal muscle mass (SMM) among older adults with sarcopenia ... A 24-week resistance exercise program was carried out twice weekly, with an intake of 3,000 mg and 540 mg of EAA and TCC supplements, respectively ... These results suggest that supplementation with EAA and TCC after RE, compared to RE only, improves SMM in older people with sarcopenia" - See tea catechins at Amazon.com and essential amino acids at Amazon.com.
  • Does Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Supplementation Attenuate Muscle Damage Markers and Soreness after Resistance Exercise in Trained Males? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials - Nutrients 2021 May 31 - "Different outcomes for post-exercise responses may suggest that BCAAs supplementation can attenuate muscle damage and ameliorate muscle soreness after resistance exercise in trained males" - See BCAA products at Amazon.com.
  • Effects of Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) Supplementation on the Progression of Advanced Liver Disease: A Korean Nationwide, Multicenter, Prospective, Observational, Cohort Study - Nutrients 2020 May 15 - "Liver cirrhosis patients with Child-Pugh (CP) scores from 8 to 10 were prospectively recruited from 13 medical centers. Patients supplemented with 12.45 g of daily BCAA granules over 6 months, and patients consuming a regular diet were assigned to the BCAA and control groups, respectively. The effects of BCAA supplementation were evaluated using the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score, CP score, serum albumin, serum bilirubin, incidence of cirrhosis-related events, and event-free survival for 24 months ... A total of 124 patients was analyzed: 63 in the BCAA group and 61 in the control group. The MELD score (p = 0.009) and CP score (p = 0.011) significantly improved in the BCAA group compared to the control group over time. However, the levels of serum albumin and bilirubin in the BCAA group did not improve during the study period. The cumulative event-free survival was significantly improved in the BCAA group compared to the control group (HR = 0.389"
  • Effects of High-Dose, Short-Duration β-Alanine Supplementation on Cognitive Function, Mood, and Circulating Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) in Recreationally-Active Males Before Simulated Military Operational Stress - J Diet Suppl. 2020 Mar 6:1-22 - "β-alanine (BA) supplementation may improve cognition and mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with aging, neurological disorders, and physical exertion, which has been attributed to increases in brain carnosine and/or brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). BA also provides beneficial effects on cognition, mood, and physical performance during military operations; however, whether BA can attenuate mood disruptions and cognitive dysfunction associated with the anticipatory stress prior to simulated military operations is unknown ... After POST testing, subjects underwent a 24h simulated military operation.Results: No change in measures of cognitive function or BDNF concentrations were observed (p > 0.05). However, BA experienced significant reductions (p = 0.046) in subjective feelings of depression, while PL experienced significant reductions (p = 0.021) in feelings of vigor from PRE to POST.Conclusions: High-dose, short-duration BA supplementation does not appear to affect cognitive function or circulating BDNF, but may mitigate the onset of negative mood states in healthy, recreationally-active males prior to a simulated military operation" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • The Effect of Branched Chain Amino Acids-Enriched Nutritional Supplements on Activities of Daily Living and Muscle Mass in Inpatients with Gait Impairments: A Randomized Controlled Trial - J Nutr Health Aging. 2019;23(4):348-353. doi: 10.1007/s12603-019-1172-3 - "Participants in the intervention group (RJ group) received nutritional supplements (jelly foods comprising 2500 mg BCAA and 20 IU vitamin D) twice a day until hospital discharge ... The primary outcome was the motor components of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM-m), and the secondary outcome was skeletal muscle mass index ... FIM-m was significantly elevated in the RJ group and the control group , but no difference was noted between the two groups. Only the RJ group showed a significant increase in skeletal muscle mass index, and the amount of variation was significantly different between the two groups (the control group decreased an average of 2.2% and the RJ group increased an average of 4.3%" - See BCAA at Amazon.com.
  • β-Alanine supplementation increased physical performance and improved executive function following endurance exercise in middle aged individuals - J Int Soc Sport Nutr, Jul 11, 18 - "Sarcopenia, a reduction in muscle mass and function seen in aging populations, may be countered by improving systemic carnosine stores via beta-Alanine (β-alanine) supplementation. Increasing systemic carnosine levels may result in enhanced anti-oxidant, neuro-protective and pH buffering capabilities ... Twelve healthy adults (average age = 60.5 ± 8.6 yrs, weight = 81.5 ± 12.6 kg) were randomized and given either 2.4 g/d of β-alanine (BA) or Placebo (PL) for 28 days ... BA supplementation increased exercise capacity and eliminated endurance exercise induced declines in executive function seen after recovery. Increased POST TTE coupled with similar PRE vs POST lactate production indicates an improvement in the ability of BA to extend exercise durations. Furthermore, by countering endurance exercise’s accompanying deficits in executive function, the aging population can maintain benefits from exercise with improved safety" - [Nutra USA] - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • Effects of β-alanine supplementation during a 5-week strength training program: a randomized, controlled study - Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 25 April 2018 - "β-Alanine supplementation was effective at increasing power output when lifting loads equivalent to the individual’s maximal strength or when working at maximum power output" - [Nutra USA] - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • Comparison of Two β-Alanine Dosing Protocols on Muscle Carnosine Elevations - J Am Coll Nutr. 2017 Sep 14:1-9 - "Results of this investigation indicate that a BA supplementation protocol of 12 g/d-1, using a sustained-release formulation, can accelerate the increase in carnosine content in skeletal muscle while attenuating paresthesia" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
    • The Truth about beta-alanine - bodybuilding.com - "Carnosine increases muscle function and performance mainly through its ability to reduce acidity in muscles during prolonged high-intensity exercise. Carnosine is highly prevalent in skeletal muscle, primarily fast-twitch muscle fibers. During high-intensity exercise, certain metabolites accumulate that cause fatigue (e.g. hydrogen ions). As the concentration of hydrogen ions increases, pH drops and reduces muscle function and power output. Eventually, your body goes kaput ... The only known side effect of beta-alanine supplementation is paresthesia, a prickly sensation mainly limited to the face and hands. Doses greater than about 800 mg have generally been reported to result in moderate to severe paresthesia lasting 60-90 minutes"
  • Carnosine and anserine homeostasis in skeletal muscle and heart is controlled by beta-alanine transamination - J Physiol. 2016 Apr 7
  • β-Alanine Supplementation Improved Workload Capacity and Cognitive Function of Middle Age Individuals - FASEB Journal, Mar 2016 - "Sarcopenia, the age induced wasting of skeletal muscle, has been seen to be tightly associated with significantly decreased systemic carnosine stores. β-alanine supplementation has previously been shown to increase systemic carnosine concentrations in young adults. Increasing systemic carnosine may result in enhanced antioxidant and pH buffering capabilities within its main storage sites of skeletal muscle and brain tissue. This enhancement may result in improved submaximal endurance exercise capacity and in the prevention of exercise associated cognitive decline ... Before supplementation, average time-to-exhaustion (TTE) for the β-alanine group and Placebo group was 17.3±10.2 and 22.9±10.2 minutes, respectively. After supplementation, all subjects increased their TTE; with β-alanine supplemented subjects cycling significantly longer than those on Placebo (7.9±1.4 vs 0.9±2.5 minutes, respectively, P<0.01). Placebo subjects were 8.9±2.0 seconds slower in completing the Stroop Test at T4 compared to T3 (P=0.04), while the β-alanine group (1.9±2.0 seconds, P=0.8) was not slower at this time point" - [Nutra USA]
  • International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jul 15 - "Daily supplementation with 4 to 6 g of beta-alanine for at least 2 to 4 weeks has been shown to improve exercise performance, with more pronounced effects in open end-point tasks/time trials lasting 1 to 4 min in duration; 5) Beta-alanine attenuates neuromuscular fatigue, particularly in older subjects, and preliminary evidence indicates that beta-alanine may improve tactical performance" - See beta-alanine at Amazon.com.
  • A multi-nutrient supplement reduced markers of inflammation and improved physical performance in active individuals of middle to older age: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study - Nutr J. 2011 Sep 7;10(1):90 - "While exercise acts to combat inflammation and aging, the ability to exercise may itself be compromised by inflammation and inflammation's impact on muscle recovery and joint inflammation. A number of nutritional supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve recovery. The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the effect of a multi-nutrient supplement containing branched chain amino acids, taurine, anti-inflammatory plant extracts, and B vitamins on inflammatory status, endothelial function, physical function, and mood in middle-aged individuals ...Thirty-one healthy and active men (N=16, mean age 56+/-6.0 yrs) and women (N=15, mean age=52+/-7.5 yrs) participated in this investigation. Subjects completed one 28 day cycle of placebo supplementation and one 28 day cycle of multi-nutrient supplementation (separated by a one week washout period) in a balanced, randomized, double-blind, cross-over design ... IL-6 significantly decreased in both men (from 1.2 +/- 0.2 to 0.7+/-0.4 pg * mL-1) and women (from 1.16+/-0.04 to 0.7+/-0.4 pg * mL-1). Perceived energy also improved for both men (placebo: 1.8 +/- 0.7; supplement: 3.7+/-0.8 AUC) and women (placebo: 1.2 +/- 0.7; supplement: 2.8+/-0.8 AUC). Alpha-1-antichymotrypsin (from 108.9+/-38.6 to 55.5+/-22.2 ug * mL-1), Creatine Kinase (from 96+/-34 to 67+/-23 IU * L-1), general pain, and joint pain decreased in men only, while anxiety and balance (from 0.52+/-0.13 to 0.45+/-0.12 cm) improved in women only. Men showed increased performance in vertical jump power (from 2642+/-244 to 3134+/-282 W) and grip strength (from 42.1+/-5.9 to 48.5+/-4.9 kg)" - See taurine products at Amazon.com and BCAA products at Amazon.com.
  • Effect of essential amino acid supplementation on quality of life, Amino acid profile and strength in institutionalized elderly patients - Clin Nutr. 2011 May 31 - "Oral supplementation with essential amino acids improved several determinants of quality of life in institutionalized elderly patients, including depressive symptoms, nutrition, muscle function and daily life activity"
  • Dietary L-Arginine Supplementation Reduces White Fat Gain and Enhances Skeletal Muscle and Brown Fat Masses in Diet-Induced Obese Rats - J Nutr. 2008 Dec 23 - "l-arginine-HCl ... Despite similar energy intake, absolute weights of white fat pads increased by 98% in control rats over a 12-wk period but only by 35% in arginine-supplemented rats. The arginine treatment reduced the relative weights of white fat pads by 30% and enhanced those of soleus muscle by 13%, extensor digitorum longus muscle by 11%, and brown fat by 34% compared with control rats ... arginine treatment resulted in lower serum concentrations of leptin, glucose, triglycerides, urea, glutamine, and branched-chain amino acids, higher serum concentrations of nitric-oxide metabolites, and improvement in glucose tolerance. Thus, dietary arginine supplementation shifts nutrient partitioning to promote muscle over fat gain and may provide a useful treatment for improving the metabolic profile and reducing body white fat in diet-induced obese rats" - See arginine products at Amazon.com.
  • Proline- and acidic amino acid-rich basic leucine zipper proteins modulate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor {alpha} (PPAR{alpha}) activity - Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 7 - "In mammals, many aspects of metabolism are under circadian control. At least in part, this regulation is achieved by core-clock or clock-controlled transcription factors whose abundance and/or activity oscillate during the day. The clock-controlled proline- and acidic amino acid-rich domain basic leucine zipper proteins D-site-binding protein, thyrotroph embryonic factor, and hepatic leukemia factor have previously been shown to participate in the circadian control of xenobiotic detoxification in liver and other peripheral organs. Here we present genetic and biochemical evidence that the three proline- and acidic amino acid-rich basic leucine zipper proteins also play a key role in circadian lipid metabolism by influencing the rhythmic expression and activity of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα). Our results suggest that, in liver, D-site-binding protein, hepatic leukemia factor, and thyrotroph embryonic factor contribute to the circadian transcription of genes specifying acyl-CoA thioesterases, leading to a cyclic release of fatty acids from thioesters. In turn, the fatty acids act as ligands for PPARα, and the activated PPARα receptor then stimulates the transcription of genes encoding proteins involved in the uptake and/or metabolism of lipids, cholesterol, and glucose metabolism"