Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are among the larger grouping of essential amino acids, or those that the body cannot manufacture and must be taken in by consuming protein.
The three BCAAs (isoleucine, leucine, and valine) are the aminos that are most closely tied to muscle growth and repair, as well as muscle preservation during diets, and have long been used in supplement form for those purposes.
But how about BCAAs for weight loss?
But can BCAAs actually help burn more fat?
There have been some scientific studies in the BCAA + weight loss arena, with a handful examining the effect of BCAAs on fat oxidation and one study tracking possible improvements in weight loss while supplementing with BCAAs during exercise.
So how did they do?
Let’s start with fat oxidation. Only one of the three studies in question actually showed an increase, and this was in a test group of healthy males aged 18-29 performing strenuous exercise intended to deplete muscle glycogen.
The remaining studies measured no change in fat oxidization.[3,4] However, all three of these studies DID show a marked anti-fatigue effect, and the first study also saw an enhancement of physical performance in participants.
The successful BCAA diet study
The lone study thus far of weight loss actually showed a small reduction overall versus a carbohydrate placebo group — 2.1% for the placebos and 1.2% for those taking BCAAs!
It should be noted, however, that this study was done on a group of trained skiers engaging in six to eight hours of exercise at a time. Athletes engaged in cardiovascular endurance exercise obviously consume carbohydrates at a much greater rate than under any other conditions, which could account for a carb-only placebo outperforming the BCAAs in improved energy and overall caloric burn.
Greater endurance from BCAAs
Much more scientific study is needed to conclusively determine if BCAAs can play a significant role in mobilizing stored body fat, but one quality that seems to stand out no matter what the nature of the study is fatigue reduction — BCAA supplementation appears to consistently improve energy across a variety of types of exercise.
Several studies specifically designed to test perceived exertion and mental performance also support this theory.[6,7,8]
Two interesting notes about some of these studies, however, are that the cognitive boosts in post-exercise testing may have been secondary, and that the anti-fatigue effect appeared to be greater for relatively untrained participants than for experienced athletes.
The anti-fatigue connection for dieters
So what can we conclude from all this?
While BCAAs don’t currently show any inherent power to mobilize fat, they do seem to consistently allow you to exercise for longer periods.
BCAA supplementation also appears to be more effective during strict diets to keep muscle tissue in an anabolic state, as studies on obese and insulin-resistant subjects have shown BCAAs to be elevated in serum while in a state of fasting.
What we really need: Time-released BCAAs
It would also be ideal to have a time-released BCAA supplement in order to maximize this anti-fatigue effect.
There’s nothing like that on the market yet, but there will be soon — keep an eye out for Myokem’s upcoming product, mTOR Pro, a formulation with ActiveTR time-released leucine that’s set for release in 2015 and should be of particular interest to endurance athletes and those that do regular fasts.
Burn more fat with Pyroxamine
In the meantime, try a combination of the Myokem Pyroxamine fat burner pre workout with BCAA supplementation while working out – even on an empty stomach! You’ll see an immediate concentration and energy boost thanks to the BCAA effect plus Pyroxamine’s High Energy Matrix.
On this site, you can read more about this award winning, focus-driven fat burner and even get some free samples below!