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Are You Taking Your BCAA’S?

Research Article By

Glyn Howatson, Michael Hoad, Stuart Goodall, Jamie Tallent, Phillip G Bell

and Duncan N French

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:20 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-20

Published: 8 May 2012


It is well documented that exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) decreases muscle   function and causes soreness and discomfort. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation   has been shown to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle protein breakdown,   however, the effects of BCAAs on recovery from damaging resistance training are unclear.   Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the effects of a BCAA supplementation   on markers of muscle damage elicited via a sport specific bout of damaging exercise   in trained volunteers.


Twelve males (mean +/- SD age, 23 +/- 2 y; stature, 178.3 +/- 3.6 cm and body mass,   79.6 +/- 8.4 kg) were randomly assigned to a supplement (n = 6) or placebo (n = 6)   group. The damaging exercise consisted of 100 consecutive drop-jumps. Creatine kinase   (CK), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), muscle soreness (DOMS), vertical jump (VJ),   thigh circumference (TC) and calf circumference (CC) were measured as markers of muscle   damage. All variables were measured immediately before the damaging exercise and at   24, 48, 72 and 96 h post-exercise.


A significant time effect was seen for all variables. There were significant group   effects showing a reduction in CK efflux and muscle soreness in the BCAA group compared   to the placebo (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the recovery of MVC was greater in the BCAA   group (P < 0.05). The VJ, TC and CC were not different between groups.


The present study has shown that BCAA administered before and following damaging resistance   exercise reduces indices of muscle damage and accelerates recovery in resistancetrained   males. It seems likely that BCAA provided greater bioavailablity of substrate to improve   protein synthesis and thereby the extent of secondary muscle damage associated with   strenuous resistance exercise. Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT01529281.

5 Rounds For Time

6 Deadlift #315 #225

200 Meter Sprint

  1. Carl Reply
    Coach. appreciate this article. I wondered what are everybody's favorite sources of BCAAs? If it's something from GNC, are there also non-processed sources that factor well into a paleo diet? thanks for any suggestions.
  2. hamilton Reply
    Carl,Sam(Hamma) and I both use Blox from BPI Sports and get it from GNC. It's a Silk Amino Acid Formula in a powder form. I like it, it's a little pricey but the quality is good, very little to no fillers. The only problem I have with it is that it has a bit of sucralose in it which you guys know that's sort of an artificial sweetener. If you have a high quality whey protein you'll find a good source of BCAA'S through that as well.
  3. Carl Reply
    thanks, Coach. I don't like powders much, but I will try it. waiting for tomorrow to get the GNC discount. hopefully I'll get out of there without buying any Afterglow. their Watermelon is addictive. If anybody has some suggestions on food to eat pre and post workout, instead of taking a supplement, I am listening. appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. thanks.
  4. hamilton Reply
    If your more on the strict side of Paleo and don't want to have any processed powders in your diet you can get a great source of bcaa's in red meat, poultry, and eggs. If you can try and stay with leaner cuts of meat, grassfed or free range as well as free range eggs.
  5. Carl Reply
    ok, I got it. Be more like Barry. Much obliged, Coach.

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