Tag Archives: bcaa

BCAA’s: Branched-Chain Amino Acids To Treat Muscle Control

Supplements containing branched-chain amino acids are taken to treat a wide variety of conditions. They are perhaps best known for their effect on muscle formation and control, but are also often taken to improve nutrition.

Amino acids are naturally occurring molecules which combine to create protein. Protein is an essential part of our nutrition: needed for our internal organs, our brains, our muscles, and also our immune system.

We get some amino acids—essential amino acids–from food, and others—non-essential amino acids–are synthesized in our bodies. A healthy diet must contain amino acids.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids. They are found in meat, dairy products, eggs, soy protein, and legumes. Vegans must therefore make sure they are getting enough BCAAs if their diets do not contain any animal proteins. BCAAs are also available as supplements.

BCAA supplements for muscle control

Athletes sometimes use branched-chain amino acids to improve performance, as the amino acids prevent muscle breakdown during intense exercise.

The muscle control properties of BCAAs mean that they are also used for people with advanced liver disease. Advanced liver disease can cause a reduction in muscle control. Similarly, some antipsychotic medications affect muscle control, and BCAAs may be taken by patients to reduce these unwanted muscle movements.

BCAAs are sometimes taken by people confined to bed, as BCAAs prevent muscle wasting.

Warnings for BCAA supplements

You should not take supplements without discussing them with you doctor, particularly if you are taking any medications. Some BCAAs could interact with your medications. For example, BCAAs could lower blood sugar, which could interact with diabetes medications.

Levodopa also interacts with BCAAs, so if you are taking this drug (for example, for Parkinson’s disease) you must consult with your doctor before taking BCAA supplements.

Sources: WebMD Branched-chain amino acids

Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease has many facets, and the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids also play a role in heart disease. Branched-chain amino acids, also referred to as BCAA’s, also play a key role in organisms in general, concerning the metabolism processes as well as in cardiovascular protection, say VH Lyzohum, TV Zaval’s’ka, et al., from the Ukraine.

The researchers said that branched-chain amino acids were pivotal in the “mitochondrial biogenesis, antioxidant and antiaging processes, its antihypertension and antiarrhythmic effects, its role in obesity and diabetes mellitus” as well. Cardiovascular disease and BCAA/BCKA catabolism’s role in the action of heart failure are related. But how?

Branched-chain amino acids role in heart disease

The images in this article, according scientists, Y Huang, M Zhou, et al., from the Department of Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Cell Differentiation and Apoptosis of Chinese Ministry of Education, at the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, in Shanghai, China, are of the “potential impact of reduced expression of PP2Cm in stressed heart in BCAA catabolism and cardiac remodelling. … BCAA, branched-chain amino acids; BCKA, branched-chain keto acids…” and show the role of branched-chain amino acids.

But what exactly is the role of branched-chain amino acids in such heart disease? The researchers’ question was whether it was an epiphenomenon or an actual culprit?

Their research showed that in order to understand the pathogenesis of why the heart fails, there has to be metabolic remodeling. They claim that even though we have knowledge about heart failure, less is known about why amino acid metabolism has to do with the onset of heart disease itself. They said, “Although most amino acid catabolic activities are found in the liver, branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism requires activity in several non-hepatic tissues, including cardiac muscle, diaphragm, brain and kidney.”

The researchers focused on new discoveries from genetic models that were developed using branched-chain amino acids catabolic defects as well as studies in metabolomics (for both humans and animals). What they found out is that, indeed, the “potential role of BCAA catabolism in cardiac pathophysiology and have helped to distinguish BCAA metabolic defects as an under-appreciated culprit in cardiac diseases rather than an epiphenomenon associated with metabolic remodelling in the failing heart.”

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References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24605627

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21502372

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) Help Liver Patients

Supplements containing branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) granules improved the outcome for patients with liver disease.

Liver cirrhosis is caused by advanced liver disease. The liver tissue is gradually replaced with scar tissue, resulting in a loss of liver function. This loss of liver function causes fluids to be retained in the abdominal cavity, leading to massive swelling and greatly reducing quality of life.

Liver cirrhosis can also lead to esophageal varices, which are dilated veins in the bottom of the esophagus. The dilated veins are formed when the blood flow through the liver is disrupted due to liver scarring. These veins often bleed, and must be treated with endoscopy.

The cirrhosis and complications results in lack of nutrition for the patient, as nutrients cannot be properly absorbed. Nutritional supplements are therefore part of the treatment.

An article in J Gastroenterol investigated the benefits of branched-chain amino acid enriched nutrients for patients with liver cirrhosis.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are essential amino acids, which mean we must get them from our food. BCAA’s are crucial to our wellbeing, as they not only create the antibodies which fight infection, but also make up our muscles and internal organs.

Sakai Y, Iwata Y, et al, researchers at the Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan, investigated the usefulness of BCAA supplements for liver patients undergoing endoscopic treatment for esophageal varices.

BCAA-enriched nutrients improve outcome for liver patients

The researchers gave patients BCAA-enriched nutrients, and evaluated their nutritional status over time. They examined weight gain and albumin on the first day, day seven, and day 50.

The BCAA-enriched nutrient mixture maintained the weight in the cirrhotic patients. Their non-protein respiratory quotients were also significantly improved.

The researchers concluded that including BCAA’s with nutritional energy supplements would be beneficial for cirrhotic patients undergoing endoscopic treatments.

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24633624

Exercise and Branched-chain Amino Acid (BCAA) Supplements Prevent Cardiac Atrophy

Cardiac atrophy–the wasting of the heart muscles–can lead to a variety of cardiovascular conditions. But supplementing with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), along with a program of exercise, can restore the heart and promote circulation again.

Cardiac atrophy is usually caused by prolonged bed rest, though astronauts living in microgravity are affected by atrophy.  People with congenital heart disease may also develop cardiac atrophy.

This atrophy means the heart muscles are deteriorating. They shrink, and the heart loses volume. As the muscles waste, the heart loses strength, and blood pressure is affected. This weakens the entire cardiovascular system. The reduced blood pressure results in orthostatic hypotension, where the brain isn’t getting enough blood, often resulting in dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting. But can BCAA supplements help?

Prolonged bed rest therefore is not good for the heart. However, it is prescribed for several medical conditions, including some complications in pregnancy. Coma and stroke patients, too, often spend long periods supine. BCAA supplementation was tested in a study for cardiac atrophy.

TA Dorfman, BD Levine, et al, researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, USA, developed a study to examine the effects of exercise and nutritional supplementation of proteins and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on women with cardiac atrophy.

Healthy volunteers were recruited. Their heart volumes were measured, then they were subjected to 60 days of 6 degrees head-down tilt bed rest. They were divided into exercise and BCAA supplement groups, and a control group.

Does BCAA help prevent cardiac atrophy?

The control group all suffered cardiac atrophy due to the prolonged bed rest. Both left ventricular and right ventricular volumes in their hearts were decreased. The exercise group, who used a supine treadmill, had no atrophy. The protein and BCAA supplement group also saw no reduction in either left or right ventricular mass. However, with the group who received only BCAA supplementation, and no exercise, the heart did lose some volume.

In conclusion, exercise is absolutely vital to prevent cardiac atrophy in long-duration bed rest. BCAA supplements are beneficial, especially when combined with an exercise program.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17379748