For many years BCAA has been touted as the de facto go to for protein drink to consume whilst training hard in the gym.
It has been recommended following many studies that appeared to show that BCAA helped retain muscle and potentially help muscle growth and indeed even touted to help fat loss.
Recently BCAA’s have been brought into question over whether they actually do cause/help with muscle protein synthesis and indeed fat loss and beyond.
The results my surprise you!
The data do not seem to support a benefit to BCAA supplementation during periods of caloric restriction
Yes, you read that right. It does not appear to benefit during training. In fact it goes as far to say:
As noted in a recent review by Morton et al. , there is a paucity of evidence supporting a beneficial effect for BCAA supplementation in promoting increases in muscle protein synthesis or lean mass, and in fact there might be a detrimental impact given that the AAs appear to antagonize each other in terms of transport both into circulation and likely into the muscle.
That is to say, its quite possible they actually are detrimental to protein synthesis.
Clearly more study is needed, but right now the advice we would give is to avoid BCAA and use a more complete protein such as Essential Amino Acids which have all the muscle building proteins.
Read the study here – https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0128-9