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How This Supplement Helps Tone Your Muscles and Helps Protect You From the Flu This Winter

Here's why you should consider branched-chain amino acid supplements this fall and winter.


Branched-chain amino acids are three out of the twenty amino acids your body needs to make your proteins. Researchers found that these three (leucine, valine, isoleucine) particular amino acids (BCAA for short) also regulate whether your body breaks down your proteins (including your muscles) or not. This means that keeping your BCAA levels healthy helps you keep your muscles from shrinking.

In fact, experts think BCAA supplements show promise for hardcore athletes. When you're trying to build muscle while also restricting your calories, doctors say you risk losing some lean tissue along with the fat you're trying to burn. When you lose lean mass, your performance drops. They took two groups of high-performing athletes and gave one group BCAA supplements. After eight weeks, the BCAA supplement group didn't lose lean mass and even had increased 1RM bench press and squats than the other group. The researchers concluded that taking BCAA supplements while doing intense, long-term training with a restricted calorie diet helps keep your lean tissue from degrading and improves your performance.

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Your immune system also needs BCAA to make immune cells and their defensive proteins. BCAA is also critical to their ability to respond and multiply when pathogens invade your body. Researchers found that when patients suffering from sepsis or recovering after surgery were given BCAA by I.V., their immunity significantly increased. This means taking BCAA supplements boosts your immunity, which gives you better flu- and cold-protection.

BCAA also play a regulatory role in your brain by keeping neurotransmitters in check. It's because of this property that BCAAs have been tested for treating mania, stroke, motor malfunction, epilepsy, and other neurological diseases.

If you're excited to try taking BCAA supplements to boost your workout or flu protection, the good news is it may be relatively safe – researchers didn't discover any real side effects when participants took high doses over a long period of time. But remember to consult your doctor first, especially if you're taking any medications that could have bad interactions.