branched-chain amino acid supplements, recovery, muscle growth, soreness, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase


Exercise Science


Kyle Barnes


BCAA supplements are composed of three main essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The concept of BCAA supplementation comes from the fact that essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be derived from food and diet, as amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and muscle. Thus, by increasing intake of these essential amino acids, BCAAs are believed to reduce the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) by increasing availability of these important compounds. However, BCAAs are not approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements (Workout supplements, 2021). Some evidence supports BCAA's ability to reduce EIMD with chronic supplementation (>10 days) at high intakes (>200 mg/kg/day) at least twice daily, rather than showing immediate effects with short-term intake (Fouré & Bendahan, 2017). BCAAs ability to stimulate muscle growth remains unclear as there is conflicting evidence that suggests BCAA supplementation may cause some increases, yet less than that of other supplements such as whey protein (Jackman et al., 2017). Therefore, this review examines the effects of BCAAs, and whether the evidence supports these advertised benefits marketed by exercise supplement companies.

Additional Files

BCAAs Infographic.pdf (548 kB)
Reflection Paper.pdf (35 kB)