Episode 76. BCAA Myths

Oct 2, 2017 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

Scott discusses a recent research on Branched Chain Amino Acids, or “BCAAs”. Scott’s been against BCAAs for a long time, but as the research article notes, “The concept that the BCAAs may have a unique capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis has been put forward for more than 35 years” (p. 1)

Back in the 90s, Scott was consulted “behind the scenes” in the supplement industry and what he experienced there has firmly entrenched his opinions that they are pretty much a scam.


BCAAs and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?


Key conclusion from the article abstract:

We conclude that the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.


Parts of the research even noted that BCAA ingestion can have a catabolic effect:

We can conclude from these two studies that BCAA infusion not only fails to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis in human subjects, but actually reduces the rate of muscle protein synthesis and the rate of muscle protein turnover. The catabolic state was not reversed to an anabolic state in either study. Further, a sustained reduction in the rate of muscle protein turnover would be expected to have a detrimental effect on muscle strength, even if muscle mass is maintained.  (p. 4, emphasis added)




Wolfe, Robert R. “Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Muscle Protein Synthesis in Humans: Myth or Reality?” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14.1 (2017): 30. Print.


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