I did a second experiment with BCAAs today. The last one was at a Crossfit competition (CrossFit Competition – Festivus Games). There was so much going on that day that I didn’t get a chance to compare the BCAA effects. I was also using Ketone Supplements that day so I could not isolate any effects.
This morning, before my MAF walk, I decided to try the second serving of BCAAs. They were given to me by athlete Van Wilder. I took them with Creatine in water before leaving the house around 5:30 AM. The product is Optimum Nutrition Essential AmiN.O. Energy. Here’s a picture of the product.
Here is the nutrition label.
These have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee but they are taken in much more quickly than coffee. I definitely noticed a buzz from the caffeine. I also had some strange data from my heart rate monitors. I also had some soreness/pain in my left knee so I took it a bit easier as documented here(Measuring Heart Rate).
I can’t say whether there was an effect beyond the caffeine effect.
In the meanwhile I ordered another product as recommended by Ben Greenfield (Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Amino Acids For Muscle Gain, Appetite Control, Injury Repair, Ketosis And More.) Ben provides some compelling arguments for why BCAAs (Kion Aminos) may be a good choice for fasted workouts with ketogenic athletes. There are quite a few studies referenced on Ben’s page.
- Lucà-Moretti M1, Grandi A, Lucà E, Mariani E, Vender G, Arrigotti E, Ferrario M, Rovelli E. Results of taking Master Amino acid Pattern as a sole and total substitute of dietary proteins in an athlete during a desert crossing. Adv Ther. 2003 Jul-Aug;20(4):203-10.
- M. Lucà-MorettiA. GrandiE. LucàE. MarianiG. VenderE. ArrigottiM. FerrarioE. Rovelli. Comparative results between two groups of track-and-field athletes with or without the use of Master Amino acid Pattern® as protein substitute. Advances in Therapy, July 2003, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 195–202.
- Lucà-Moretti M1, Grandi A, Lucà E, Muratori G, Nofroni MG, Mucci MP, Gambetta P, Stimolo R, Drago P, Giudice G, Tamburlin N. Master Amino acid Pattern as substitute for dietary proteins during a weight-loss diet to achieve the body’s nitrogen balance equilibrium with essentially no calories. Adv Ther. 2003 Sep-Oct;20(5):282-91.
- Minkoff. “Understanding the Discovery of the Ideal Amino Acid Pattern for Human Nutrition.” Explore! For the Professional Vol 12, Issue 6; 2003.
- Endurance Planet Podcast interview of Dr David Minkoff. Ask the Doc Special: Your Guide to Understanding Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP).
- Prof. Dr. M. Lucà-Moretti. A Comparative, Double-blind, Triple Crossover Net Nitrogen Utilization Study Confirms the Discovery of the Master Amino Acid Pattern. ANNALS OF THE ROYAL NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE OF SPAIN – VOLUME CXV – SECOND ISSUE – MADRID, 1998.
The Other Side
On the other side, Menno Hensellmen has some arguments against BCAAs and refers to this study for his position (Robert R. Wolfe. Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2017 14:30).
An extensive search of the literature has revealed no studies in human subjects in which the response of muscle protein synthesis to orally-ingested BCAAs alone was quantified, and only two studies in which the effect of intravenously infused BCAAs alone was assessed. Both of these intravenous infusion studies found that BCAAs decreased muscle protein synthesis as well as protein breakdown, meaning a decrease in muscle protein turnover. The catabolic state in which the rate of muscle protein breakdown exceeded the rate of muscle protein synthesis persisted during BCAA infusion. We conclude that the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.
I will report on the BCAAs.