Examining Common Mix-Ups About Branched-Chain Amino Acids

If you’re into fitness, you’ve probably heard the benefits of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements. BCAAs provide a lot of protein and help keep your energy up, through components like leucine, isoleucine and valine. The effects these supplements give makes them a cult classic.

However, some hearsays and misconceptions can’t be avoided. There is a wide variety of myths surrounding BCAAs, such as making it a complete protein substitute or that it helps people access total muscle building in a flash. Most, if not all, are a little too extreme and tend to exaggerate the advantages of BCAAs.

Here are a couple of common myths that should get cleared up:

“BCAAs Don’t Have Calories”

Most people tend to think that BCAAs don’t have calories like usual protein food because they are consumed in the form of a supplement. However, calories are measured to understand the unit of energy your body is taking. BCAA supplements are not an exemption.

Since BCAAs contribute to your energy production, they still contain a minimal amount of calories. There are about 20 calories in every 5000mg of BCAAs.

“Bulk L-leucine Powders Are Better Than BCAA Supplements”

BCAAs have leucine in them, which is an amino acid that helps regulate your blood sugar, improve your muscle tissues and more. People think that consuming more of the pure L-leucine powder means more leucine intake, which can help reap more advantages than BCAA powder. 

Too much leucine can actually lead to lower blood sugar levels and a higher deposition of fat. With BCAA supplements, the leucine is in a smaller dose and mixed with other amino acids.

“Consume BCAAs During Fasting to Improve Muscle Protein Synthesis”

One of the reasons BCAAs are a fan favourite is because they help a lot with muscle protein synthesis and create more muscle tissues. Due to this, people have a theory that they can still take BCAAs amid a fasting period to continue their muscle growth and progression.

BCAAs can help trigger muscle protein synthesis, but they cannot sustain the process. Your body needs more amino acids from other foods to fully build muscle. BCAA can help with your metabolism during fasting, but it’ll do little to help develop muscle.

“BCAA Supplements Are Useless; You Can Get the Same BCAAs From Food”

There are two kinds of people: One thinks BCAA supplements are a total replacement for usual protein foods, while another thinks BCAAs have no use since you can get the same advantages from food. Both are a little too extreme and wrong. 

BCAAs make amino acids easier to consume and ingest. However, BCAAs don’t have complete amino acids; it’s important to take them in conjunction with animal-based and dairy foods. Although you can do a workout without those supplements, it’s still more practical to take BCAAs than to eat a turkey while doing a rep if you need the energy.


BCAAs are not perfect, but they’re still incredibly useful for you to achieve most fitness goals and muscle benefits. Just be sure to do your research and take other people’s advice with a grain of salt. 

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