Branched-chain amino acids aid recovery

Earlier studies found the three branched-chain amino acids (BCA As)—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—have positive effects on moderate muscle damage after exercise, but results vary across studies. In this review of eight placebo-controlled BCA A trials, doctors combined results from 70 healthy men, average age 23, who took BCA As while participating in heavy resistance training, soccer, marathon, and other drills such as drop- jump testing.

After exercise, doctors looked for signs of muscle damage in blood samples. Compared to placebo, men in the BCA A group had far lower levels of a type of enzyme—creatine kinase— that signals muscle damage, up to and including 24 hours after exercise.

Kidney Update 

Discussing the findings, doctors said BCA As are better than passive recovery or rest after exhaustive, muscle- damaging exercise, and help restore full muscle function and strength sooner.

Phenylalanine burns fat

Earlier exercise studies found that taking a combination of amino acids speeds fat burning, but trials of single amino acids have been unclear. In this study, six active, healthy men, aged 20 to 40, with healthy weight, took a placebo or 3,000 mg of the single amino acid phenylalanine 30 minutes before a cycle ergometer test. The test lasted one hour while the men maintained an exercise rate of 50 percent of their maximum oxygen consumption.

Compared to placebo, the men in the phenylalanine group used much less oxygen to complete the cycling test. Doctors also found higher levels of glucagon, the main hormone that increases glucose and fat in the bloodstream, signaling a greater fat- burning rate.

Reference: Nutrition; October, 2017, Vol. 42, 30-6
Natural Insights for Well Being January 2018
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