There are three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), these are: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAA’s are considered essential, as unlike other amino acids they cannot be manufactured in the human body, and they can only be obtained in our diet. In total there are nine essential amino acids, but, BCAAs account for 35% of all the essential amino acids found within muscle protein. They are needed for protein building and can be metabolised and used as an energy source during aerobic exercise.
BCAAs are present in all protein rich foods, but are found in the greatest amounts in red meat and dairy products. Whey protein contains particularly high levels of BCAAs. The main benefits of BCAAs are: A reduction in the amount of muscle breakdown, improved preservation of muscle glycogen stores, improved immune health, and a possible improvement in endurance performance. Therefore anyone who trains intensively, wants to recover more quickly from training, increase lean muscle size, reduce muscle soreness, and improve endurance performance may benefit from BCAAs.