Do branched chain amino acids work?
Introduction to BCAAs
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) have become one of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry. Both as a standalone product and ingredient in protein supplements, pre-workouts, and recovery drinks, BCAAs are everywhere. At approximately $18 per pound, its high price SHOULD deliver great results, right? Read More
The overall effectiveness rating for branched chain amino acids is 2 out of 3. This rating means there is some evidence that using branched chain amino acids may lead to positive results. This rating also means that some evidence does not back up all claims. Below you can find individual ratings for specific claims.
There are 28 studies in the database on branched chain amino acids; the confidence rating is 57. A score above 80 means the effectiveness rating for this supplement is reliable. A score under 80 means there is insufficient evidence to ensure a reliable effectiveness rating. Note, this rating is for branched chain amino acids as a whole. There are also individual ratings for the claims below.
Products Containing Branched Chain Amino Acids
|Products Containing Branched Chain Amino Acids|
|Full list of all 6 products containing Branched Chain Amino Acids.|
The overall ratings above do no necessarily reflect each claim about branched chain amino acids. Individual claims can have higher or lower ratings. For example, some supplements may have a lot of backing for one claim, but be completely useless for another. Click on claims below for more information.
|Body Composition (weight, muscle, body fat) Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Confidence Rating|
|decrease body fat||increase muscle mass||maintain muscle mass during weight loss|
|Protein Synthesis Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Confidence Rating|
|decrease protein breakdown||increase protein synthesis|
|Performance Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Confidence Rating|
|improve cycling performance||improve muscular endurance||improve running performance||improve sprint performance||decrease fatigue||increase strength|
|Recovery Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Confidence Rating|
|improve recovery||reduce muscle damage||reduce muscle soreness|
The Bottom Line
Overall, the evidence shows BCAA supplements fall well short of their marketing hype. There are studies showing BCAAs improved some measures, unfortunately, the practical benefits of using this supplement are lacking.
If you are already using a protein supplement, check the label. Chances are, it includes additional BCAAs and you are already seeing any benefits from supplementation. Adding extra is unlikely to yield any further results. Many protein supplements include 4 or more grams of BCAAs. For the vast majority of protein supplement users, more BCAAs will not likely lead to better results.
There are some individuals who may benefit from supplementation. If you cannot eat much following a workout or throughout the day, supplementing helps increase protein synthesis leading to a slew of other benefits. There may also be some benefits for individuals who limit or eliminate animal products from their diets (vegans and vegetarians). However, the vast majority of gym goers should save their money and avoid BCAA supplements. The evidence simply does not support their use.Read full article: The Final Verdict – BCAAs