What Are The Proven Benefits Of BCAA?

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Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What are the proven benefits of BCAA? Out of all the 9 essential amino acids there are BCAA’s and those are leucine, isoleucine, valine. BCAA’s stand for Branch Chain Amino Acids, and it is found in high protein rich foods such as eggs, meats, and dairy products.

What Are The Proven Benefits of BCAA?

  • Muscle Soreness Reduction. Research studies has shown that BCAA’s can help decrease muscle soreness after a workout. A common soreness is called DOMS and DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It develops about 12 to 14 hours after a workout and can last up to 3 days. BCAA’s has shown to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue which happens when you are tearing down your muscles through resistance training.
  • Improve Muscle Growth. One of the most popular ways to improve lean muscle mass growth is by taking a dietary supplement in a BCAA. One of the reasons why BCAA’s plays an important part in your muscle growth because your muscle needs all the essential amino acids.
  • There was one study where a group consumed 5.6 grams of BCAA’s compared to a placebo group and the BCAA group increased their muscle protein synthesis by 22%.
  • The difference between whey protein vs BCAA’s is whey protein contains all your essential amino acids where BCAA’s contain a couple. So, with whey protein you have the highest potential for muscle growth vs BCAA’s because it has all the essential amino acids.
  • Reduction In Exercise Fatigue. Taking BCAA’s regularly will reduce the fatigue you experience when you exercise. Everybody experiences fatigue when they workout, but your diet, nutrition and supplements will decrease your body getting tired. In a couple of studies, the groups that took BCAA’s increased their mental focus during exercise.
  • Preventing Muscle Breakdown. BCAA’s prevent muscle breakdown. When you are weight-training you are tearing down your muscles and so when your body is resting your muscle are recovering. So BCAA’s help to minimize the breakdown of muscles while you are strength training. Muscle breakdown happens when protein breakdown exceeds protein muscle synthesis.
  • Can Help Benefit People With Liver Problems. BCAA’s can also help improve the health of the liver. There have been some studies that suggest that BCAA’s offers protection against liver cancer in people who have liver cirrhosis. Some scientific research has shown that BCAA supplementation is a good nutritional dietary intervention for liver disease to minimize any complications.
What Are The Proven Benefits Of BCAA?– photo credit: istock/ayo888

“The difference between whey protein vs BCAA’s is whey protein contains all your essential amino acids where BCAA’s contain a couple. ” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Best Food Sources That BCAA’s Come From Are:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Tuna
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Milk
  • Whey Protein Powder
  • Soy Protein Powder

The Bottom Line is most high protein foods contain BCAA’s and if you consume enough protein from those foods then it is not needed to take a BCAA supplement. Focus on getting on BCAA’s from food first. And what you don’t get from food then supplement it with a BCAA to enhance its health benefits.

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  1. Pinter, M., Trauner, M., Peck-Radosavljevic, M., & Sieghart, W. (2016). Cancer and liver cirrhosis: implications on prognosis and management. ESMO open1(2), e000042.
  2. Moriwaki H, Shiraki M, Fukushima H, Shimizu M, Iwasa J, Naiki T, Nagaki M. Long-term outcome of branched-chain amino acid treatment in patients with liver cirrhosis. Hepatol Res. 2008 Nov;38 Suppl 1:S102-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2008.00434. x. PMID: 19125940.
  3. Plauth M, Cabré E, Riggio O, Assis-Camilo M, Pirlich M, Kondrup J; DGEM (German Society for Nutritional Medicine), Ferenci P, Holm E, Vom Dahl S, Müller MJ, Nolte W; ESPEN (European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition). ESPEN Guidelines on Enteral Nutrition: Liver disease. Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):285-94. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2006.01.018. Epub 2006 May 16. PMID: 16707194.
  4. Blomstrand E, Hassmén P, Ek S, Ekblom B, Newsholme EA. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise. Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Jan;159(1):41-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.1997.547327000. x. PMID: 9124069.
  5. Cordeiro, L., Rabelo, P., Moraes, M. M., Teixeira-Coelho, F., Coimbra, C. C., Wanner, S. P., & Soares, D. D. (2017). Physical exercise-induced fatigue: the role of serotonergic and dopaminergic systems. Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas50(12), e6432.
  6. Costello JT, Baker PR, Minett GM, Bieuzen F, Stewart IB, Blakeley C. Cochrane review: Whole-body cryotherapy (extreme cold air exposure) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise in adults. J Evid Based Med. 2016 Feb;9(1):43-44. doi: 10.1111/jebm.12187. Epub 2016 Jan 14. PMID: 26779801.
  7. Jackman SR, Witard OC, Philp A, Wallis GA, Baar K, Tipton KD. Branched-Chain Amino Acid Ingestion Stimulates Muscle Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following Resistance Exercise in Humans. Front Physiol. 2017 Jun 7; 8:390. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00390. PMID: 28638350; PMCID: PMC5461297.
  8. Moberg M, Apró W, Ekblom B, van Hall G, Holmberg HC, Blomstrand E. Activation of mTORC1 by leucine is potentiated by branched-chain amino acids and even more so by essential amino acids following resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2016 Jun 1;310(11):C874-84. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00374.2015. Epub 2016 Apr 6. PMID: 27053525.

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