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BCAAs - Are they really needed?

BCAAs - Are they really needed?

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There are so many different products claiming to improve your performance, and make you better than [insert name of favourite athlete] that it is often difficult to know what to use and what not to use. BCAAs are one of the more common ones I see clients using, but without much knowledge of efficacy.

BCAAs stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. These powders mostly consist of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine is the most important of these in relation to muscle protein synthesis.

But do you really need to use it as a supplement? At present, BCAAs are classified as a ‘Group C’ supplement in the AIS supplement program. This means that they don’t not work, but current research doesn’t suggest they do, or suggests they are unnecessary.

The reality is that it is very easy to consume all the amino acids you need when eating a well balanced diet, regardless of energy requirements. They’re most commonly found in dairy foods and meat. Thus there is no true need for a specific supplement.

My suggestion? Save your dollars to spend on something else, and get your BCAAs from real food instead.

Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.

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