Health Benefits of Branched Chain Amino Acids

Branched chain amino acids play one of the most important roles in the body: that of synthesising proteins in order to grow, repair and maintain muscle tissue. The three major amino acids that make up the Branched Chain amino acids, are L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine, each of which performs a vital role for the health of your body. The following is a brief look at some of the general health benefits associated with branched chain amino acids.

Maintain muscle
There are approximately 20 different amino acids used by your body to maintain, grow and repair muscles, and branched chain amino acids make up around a third of these. Exercise can deplete amino acid levels in the body, requiring that they be replaced in order to both repair damaged muscle and build new cartilage, cell membranes and muscle cells. Branched chain amino acids work to synthesise protein, helping to not only build muscle, but also prevent it from being lost, as your body will break down existing muscle to release amino acids if it isn’t being provided with enough of them.

Increase endurance
When you exercise, your body produces ammonia, and when your ammonia levels get too high it can have an adverse effect on your energy levels. Branch chain amino acids have been shown to reduce levels of ammonia during periods of exercise, and as a result can help to increase your endurance.

Amino acids play an important role in healing, making it vital to have a plentiful supply of them following a major operation — when you likely have some significant wounds that need healing. A number of studies have pointed to the vital role played by amino acids in those recovering from both liver transplants and skin grafts, so if you or someone you know has just had surgery, it might be worth considering taking branched chain amino acid supplements. L-Leucine in particular can help the healing process by lowering blood pressure and aiding in the production of vital growth hormones.

Branched chain amino acids also help you to keep a good balance in your body, with the amino acid L-Valine in particular known to help balance out nitrogen levels. Amino acids L-Leucine and L-Isoleucine both help keep your blood sugar levels balanced, and new evidence suggest L-Leucine even alerts your brain to inform it if you are not being well fed. L-Valine has also been used in treatments assisting drug and alcohol recovery.

Where to find them
You can find branched chain amino acids in red meat, poultry, dairy, beans, cheese, brown rice, nuts, cottage cheese, turkey and duck, to name but a few sources. While this will generally provide you with enough amino acids to stay healthy, if you are exercising regularly, are recovering from any sort or surgery, or are under a lot of stress, it can be a good idea to take a Branched chain amino acids dietary supplement. The extra boost might be all you need to get your body back to optimum performance.

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