Do I need to take branched chain amino acid supplements?


It is the supplement that is suddenly in the gym bag of any fitness fan.

Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplements are all the rage among health freaks who claim they increase muscle growth through exercise, decrease post-workout pain, and boost energy.

But experts are divided.

“I don’t think the average person needs to take it,” Dr. Lisa Young, a registered dietitian and professor at New York University, told The Post.

Young explains that there are 20 different amino acids used by the body. Three of these 20 – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – are branched chain amino acids, and they are the building blocks of muscle. But, she says, BCAAs are found “in abundance in the foods we eat,” namely eggs, meat, and dairy products.

Yet a study published earlier this year in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research found that those who ingested BCAAs saw a reduction in muscle pain that sets in about a day after intense training. Other research has shown that muscles need the full range of essential amino acids (EAAs) – the three BCAAs plus six other amino acids – to repair themselves.

That’s why personal trainer and nutrition coach Pamela Gold, founder of the “biohacking” studio HACKD Fitness in Chelsea, opts for EAA supplements rather than BCAAs.

“I’m not really in pain,” she says, although she admits, “I’m doing so much recovery. . . that i can’t say honestly [if this is what’s been helping]. “

If you choose to give BCAAs or EAAs a boost, Gold recommends Kion Amino Powder and tablets ($ 39.95 for 30 servings), which she likes because they don’t contain sugar and the ingredients are clearly listed. And although there is evidence that chronic overconsumption of protein can cause serious problems Like cardiovascular disease, liver or kidney damage, and even death, BCAAs and EAAs appear to be safe when taken as directed.

Gold said, “There is no proof that I have ever seen that taking them can hurt.”


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