You may have seen advertisements for Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs. The products are primarily marketed to people who would like to lose weight, boost muscle growth, improve exercise performance, and reduce fatigue after exercise.  With claims like this, it makes sense why so many people take this supplement daily. The question is, are BCAAs really doing what their manufacturers claim? 

First, let's talk about what BCAAs are. Three amino acids make up the BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. There are studies that show that these three amino acids are responsible for activating “muscle synthesis” or the creation of new muscle tissue. Therefore, supplementation of BCAAs should lead to more muscle growth or less muscle loss. 

So should you be taking BCAAs? For most people, the answer is no. The first thing the average person should be doing is making sure they are getting enough  protein in their diet. BCAAs are found in every protein source. If you are eating enough protein, you will be getting plenty of BCAAs already. If you are looking for optimum muscle growth, the research suggests making sure you are getting all of your essential amino acids. To do this make sure that you are eating “complete protein” sources. The best example of a complete protein source would be eggs. Other good protein sources are, chicken breast, salmon, spinach, and almonds.

When you see advertisements for new supplements, never take the claims they make at face value. Do your best to do your own research first. If you are ever unsure, ask your doctor or a nutritionist. Dr. Amann at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, your Rochester chiropractor,  is experienced in sports nutrition and can help you decide if supplements are necessary. Schedule an appointment to set up a plan to reach all your nutritional goals.