Where are they found?
Dairy and red meat contain the greatest amount of BCAAs, although they are present in all protein—containing foods. Whey protein and egg protein supplements are other sources of BCAAs. BCAA supplements provide the single amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
In what conditions might BCAA's be supportive?
• athletic support
• post-surgery recovery
Who is likely to be deficient?
Periods of physical stress, such as intense weight lifting and long—distance running, can create a catabolic state in which muscle tissue is broken down. In these situations, supplemental BCAAs—particularly leucine and its derivatives ketoisocaproate (KIC) and hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB)—can be beneficial in reducing protein breakdown. Nonetheless, BCAA supplements may reduce muscle loss and speed muscle gain. BCAAs may also be useful to anyone wanting to prevent muscle breakdown.
How much should I take?
A diet including animal protein provides an adequate amount of BCAA for most people. Athletes involved in intense training often take 5 grams of leucine, 4 grams of valine, and 2 grams of isoleucine per day to prevent muscle loss and increase muscle gain.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Side effects have not been reported with the use of BCAAs. A high intake of BCAAs are simply converted into other amino acids or used as energy.
It is prudent to take BCAAs along with whole proteins, such as lean meat or poultry, and multiple vitamins/minerals, especially the B-complex vitamins.
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