Amino Acids

, Volume 51, Issue 9, pp 1387–1395 | Cite as

Branched-chain amino acids do not improve muscle recovery from resistance exercise in untrained young adults

  • José Maria Estoche
  • Jeferson Lucas Jacinto
  • Mirela Casonato Roveratti
  • Juliano Moro Gabardo
  • Cosme Franklim Buzzachera
  • Erick Prado de Oliveira
  • Alex Silva Ribeiro
  • Rubens Alexandre da Silva
  • Andreo Fernando AguiarEmail author
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of BCAA supplementation on muscle recovery from resistance exercise (RE) in untrained young adults. Twenty-four young adults (24.0 ± 4.3 years old) were assigned to 1 of 2 groups (n = 12 per group): a placebo-supplement group or a BCAA-supplement group. The groups were supplemented for a period of 5 days. On day 1 and 3, both groups underwent a RE session involving two lower body exercises (hack squat and leg press) and then were evaluated for muscle recovery on the 3 subsequent moments after the RE session [30 min (day 3), 24 h (day 4), and 48 h (day 5)]. The following indicators of muscle recovery were assessed: number of repetitions, rating of perceived exertion in the last RE session, muscle soreness and countermovement jump (CMJ) during recovery period (30 min, 24 h, and 48 h after RE session). Number of repetitions remained unchanged over time (time, P > 0.05), while the rating of perceived exertion increased (time, P < 0.05) over 3 sets, with no difference between groups (group × time, P > 0.05). Muscle soreness increased (time, P < 0.05) and jumping weight decreased (time, P < 0.05) at 30 min post-exercise and then progressively returned to baseline at 24 and 48 h post-exercise, with no difference between groups (group × time, P > 0.05). The results indicate that BCAA supplementation does not improve muscle recovery from RE in untrained young adults.


Supplementation Essential amino acids Muscle function Strength exercise Muscle soreness Muscle power 



We address special thanks to all the participants for their engagement in this study.


This study was funding by North University of Paraná (UNOPAR) (Grant number: 02.2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

This research involved human participants, who were carefully informed of the procedures, risks, and benefits of the investigation and signed an informed consent document approved by the research ethics committee of the University.


  1. American College of Sports Medicine position stand (ACSM) (2009) Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41(3):687–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aminiaghdam S, Baturak K, Panahi PM, Hatami Khaidan (2012) The effects of BCAA supplementation on muscle damage following a lower-body resistance exercise bout in soccer players. Footb Sci 9:62–69Google Scholar
  3. Andrade WB, Jacinto JL, da Silva DK, Roveratti MC, Estoche JM, Oliveira DB et al (2018) l-Arginine supplementation does not improve muscle function during recovery from resistance exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 43(9):928–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Areces F, Salinero JJ, Abian-Vicen J, Gonzalez-Millan C, Gallo-Salazar C, Ruiz-Vicente D et al (2014) A 7-day oral supplementation with branched-chain amino acids was ineffective to prevent muscle damage during a marathon. Amino Acids 46(5):1169–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bijur PE, Silver W, Gallagher EJ (2001) Reliability of the visual analog scale for measurement of acute pain. Acad Emerg Med 8(12):1153–1157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson H, Kohnke R (2006) Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr 136(1):269S–273SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borgenvik M, Apró W, Blomstrand E (2012) Intake of branched-chain amino acids influences the levels of MAFbx mRNA and MuRF-1 total protein in resting and exercising human muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 302(5):E510–E521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chrismas BCR, Taylor L, Carrol S, Smith A, Pemberton P, Seigler JC et al (2009) Reproducibility of creatine kinase: how useful is this measurement tool? In: 11th ISEI symposium, Exercise immunology: prescriptions for health, Newcastle, Australia, 9–12 Sept. 2013Google Scholar
  9. Clarkson PM, Ebbeling C (1988) Investigation of serum creatine kinase variability after muscle-damaging exercise. Clin Sci (Lond) 75(3):257–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. da Silva DK, Jacinto JL, de Andrade WB, Roveratti MC, Estoche JM, Balvedi MCW et al (2017) Citrulline malate does not improve muscle recovery after resistance exercise in untrained young adult men. Nutrients 9(10):E1132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fouré A, Bendahan D (2017) Is branched-chain amino acids supplementation an efficient nutritional strategy to alleviate skeletal muscle damage? A systematic review. Nutrients 9(10):E1047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fouré A, Nosaka K, Gastaldi M, Mattei JP, Boudinet H, Guye M et al (2016) Effects of branched-chain amino acids supplementation on both plasma amino acids concentration and muscle energetics changes resulting from muscle damage: a randomized placebo controlled trial. Clin Nutr 35(1):83–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gee T, Deniel S (2016) Branched-chain amino acid supplementation attenuates a decrease in power-producing ability following acute strength training. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 56(12):1511–1517Google Scholar
  14. Greer BK, Woodard JL, White JP, Arguello EM, Haymes EM (2007) Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and indicators of muscle damage after endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 17(6):595–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN (2012) Exercise induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9:20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jackman SR, Witard OC, Jeukendrup AE, Tipton KD (2010) Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(5):962–970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jackman SR, Witard OC, Philp A, Wallis GA, Baar K, Tipton KD (2017) Branched-chain amino acid ingestion stimulates muscle myofibrillar protein synthesis following resistance training exercise in humans. Front Physiol 8:390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karlsson H, Nilsson P, Nilsson J, Chibalin A, Zierath J, Blomstrand E (2004) Branched-chain amino acids increase p70S6k phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle after resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 287(1):E1–E7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kephart W, Wachs T, Mac Thompson R, Brooks Mobley C, Fox C, McDonald JR et al (2016) Ten weeks of branched-chain amino acid supplementation improves select performance and immunological variables in trained cyclists. Amino Acids 48(3):779–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kim DH, KimS-H Jeong WS, Lee HY (2013) Effect of BCAA intake during endurance exercises on fatigue substances, muscle damage substances, and energy metabolism substances. J Exerc Nutr Biochem 17(4):169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Knechtle B, Mrazek C, Wirth A, Knechtle P, Rust CA, Senn O et al (2012) Branched chain amino acid supplementation during a 100-km ultra-marathon—a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 58(1):36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Layman DK, Baum JI (2004) Dietary protein impact on glycemic control during weight loss. J Nutr 134(4):968S–973SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. MacLean DA, Graham TE, Saltin B (1994) Branched chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise. Am J Physiol 267(6 Pt 1):E1010–E1022Google Scholar
  24. Marcora S (2009) Perception of effort during exercise is independent of afferent feedback from skeletal muscles, heart, and lungs. J Appl Physiol 106(6):2060–2062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mattacola CG, Perrin DH, Gansneder BM, Allen JD, Mickey CA (1997) A comparison of visual analog and graphic rating scales for assessing pain following delayed onset muscle soreness. J Sport Rehabil 6(1):38–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nosaka K, Sacco P, Mawatari K (2006) Effects of amino acid supplementation on muscle soreness and damage. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 16:620–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pasiakos SM, Lieberman HR, McLellan TM (2014) Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review. Sports Med 44(5):655–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ra SG, Miyazaki T, Ishikura K, Nagayama H, Komine S, Nakata Y et al (2013) Combined effect of branched-chain amino acids and taurine supplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle damage in high-intensity eccentric exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 10(1):51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rahimi MH, Shab-Bidar S, Mollahosseini M, Djafarian K (2017) Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and exercise-induced muscle damage in exercise recovery: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Nutrition 42:30–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Riazi R, Wykes LJ, Ball RO, Pencharz PB (2003) The total branched-chain amino acid requirement in young healthy adult men determined by indicator amino acid oxidation by use of L-[1-13C]phenylalanine. J Nutr 133(5):1383–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rindom E, Nielsen MH, Kececi K, Jensen ME, Vissing K, Farup J (2016) Effect of protein quality on recovery after intense resistance training. Eur J Appl Physiol 116(11–12):2225–2236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Robertson RJ, Goss FL, Rutkowski J, Lenz B, Dixon C, Timmer J et al (2003) Concurrent validation of the OMNI perceived exertion scale for resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 35(2):333–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sharp CP, Pearson DR (2010) Amino acid supplements and recovery from high intensity resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 24(4):1125–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shimomura Y, Yamamoto Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Murakami T, Shimomura N et al (2006) Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle. J Nutr 136(2):529S–532SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shimomura Y, Inaguma A, Watanabe S, Yamamoto Y, Muramatsu Y, Bajotto G et al (2010) Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 20(3):236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM (2016) American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 48(3):543–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tipton KD, Rasmussen BB, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Owens-Stovall SK, Petrini BE et al (2001) Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 281(2):E197–E206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Waldron M, Whelan K, Jeffries O, Burt D, Howe L, Patterson SD (2017) The effects of acute branched-chain amino acid supplementation on recovery from a single bout of hypertrophy exercise in resistance-trained athletes. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 42(6):630–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wolfe R (2017) Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality? J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14:30CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Maria Estoche
    • 1
  • Jeferson Lucas Jacinto
    • 1
  • Mirela Casonato Roveratti
    • 1
  • Juliano Moro Gabardo
    • 1
  • Cosme Franklim Buzzachera
    • 1
  • Erick Prado de Oliveira
    • 3
  • Alex Silva Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Rubens Alexandre da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andreo Fernando Aguiar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Center of Research in Health SciencesNorth University of Paraná (UNOPAR)LondrinaBrazil
  2. 2.Département des Sciences de la Santé, Programme de Physiothérapie de L’université McGill Offert em Extension à l’université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) et Laboratoire de recherche BioNRQuébecCanada
  3. 3.School of MedicineFederal University of UberlandiaUberlândiaBrazil

Personalised recommendations