When you hear about branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), one of the first things that probably come to mind is their muscle sparing and/or muscle building properties. However, a recent study done in the UK showed that BCAAs can also curb soreness that is often associated with exercise.1
This study took twelve males and provided them with either a dose of 10 grams of BCAAs twice daily or a placebo which was nothing more than an artificial sweetener before and following resistance exercise that creates muscle damage. The BCAA supplement was comprised of a ratio of 2:1:1 leucine, isoleucine, and valine, respectively. This ratio is quite standard in many BCAA supplements in the industry. In addition to this initial dose, after an overnight fast, participants who took the BCAAs were given a 20 gram bolus dose, one hour prior to, and one hour after exercise.2
The exercise that resulted in EIMD (Exercise Induced Muscle Damage) in this study was 100 drop jumps from a hieight of 0.6 meters, and a 90° squat. The end result showed the group that was administered BCAAs experienced accelerated recovery time. Consequently, this group experienced much less soreness than that of the placebo group.3
This study shows that it is likely the BCAAs resulted in better protein synthesis and played a vital role in reducing the amount of secondary muscle damage that often accompanies strenuous resistance exercise.4 Therefore, whether you are looking to build muscle, spare muscle, or simply accelerate recovery time, BCAAs are a vital tool that should be utilized.