Athletes use BCAAs mainly as an anti-catabolic supplement. They usually take somewhere between 5 and 20 g before training and notice that this helps them to recover faster.
If you’re putting on weight, a diet containing extra BCAA’s may help you build up less fat mass.
Japanese researchers discovered, when doing experiments with mice, that the liver and muscles play a key role in the fat-mass reducing effect of BCAAs. BCAAs were originally marketed in Japan as clinical nutritional aids. They strengthen liver functioning and also have a positive effect on the insulin and glucose metabolism.
The Japanese researchers found that supplementation with BCAA’s had the greatest effects in the muscle and liver cells. They found fifty percent less fat [triglycerides] in these cells in the mice ingesting BCAA’s, and much greater activity in parts of the cells involved in fat burning. There was also increased activity in uncoupling proteins which increase heat production and fat burning in cells. The animals ingesting BCAA’s also had fifty percent less white fat tissue than the mice in the control group.
Many athletes who use BCAAs say that they lose noticeable amounts of fat. The Japanese research shows that these athletes may be right.
Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.