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Branched-chain Amino Acids May be More Effective Than Rest Alone for Post-Workout Muscle Injury

Muscle injury after exercise can make it difficult for an athlete to continue working out. A recent study suggests that taking branched-chain amino acids may help reduce muscle injury after exercise more effectively than rest alone.


Researchers from the School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietitics of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences examined data from eight studies. All of the studies involved comparing branched-chain amino acids to a placebo, measured at least one outcome of muscle damage and soreness, involved branched-chain amino acids just before and just after exercise, and took measurements within four days. In told, the studies included 70 healthy men with a mean age of 23. The studies measured muscle soreness 34, 48, 72, and 96 hours after exercise.


While the studies did not show a change in muscle soreness, they did note a statistically significant reduction in the efflux of creatine kinase, which is a muscle injury marker, after exercise in the supplement group when compared with the control. They also noted significantly lower values of creatine kinase concentration in the branched-chain amino acid group, when compared with groups who only rested.


The study was published in the October 2017 issue of the journal Nutrition.


Branched-chain amino acids are essential for the body to build protein. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Previous studies suggest that branched-chain amino acids may help combat ALS, brain conditions that are a result of liver disease, and low appetite in both kidney failure and cancer patients.


Branched-chain amino acids can be found in meat, dairy products, or legumes and also can be taken as a supplement.

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