If you’re into bodybuilding, strength training, athletic training, or fitness of any sort, chances are you’ve heard about branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Their benefits include enhancing muscle growth, reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, increasing energy and endurance, and of course weight loss. However, does BCAA improve mood?
Before we understand the role of branched chain amino acids in enhancing mood, let’s first take a quick glance at what are BCAAs and what are the different types of amino acids that make up BCAAs.
Different Types of Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched chain amino acids, similar to other types of amino acids, are used by the body to make protein. Or in other words, they are the building blocks of protein. However, an important distinction between BCAAs and other types of amino acids like non-essential amino acids is that our body cannot make BCAAs so they have to be consumed through food or supplementation.
There are three types of BCAAs or essential amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine, all of which have a molecular structure that branches to one side. Besides these three, the other essential amino acids are histidine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, and tryptophan.
BCAAs and Other Essential Amino Acids May Help Improve Mood and Sleep
Taking amino acid supplementation has been shown to offer several health benefits. But does BCAA improve mood? While it’s a well-known fact that it can support muscle repair and enhance exercise performance, its other positive health consequences are relatively less known. It can also help improve mood which helps in mitigating depression.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, plays a vital role in producing serotonin - also known as the happiness hormone - a chemical that regulates mood, sleep, and behaviors. Acting as a neurotransmitter in the body, tryptophan thus helps improve mood and even sleep. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression and sleep issues. Findings from studies prove that tryptophan supplement intake can help reduce symptoms of depression while improving mood and enhancing sleep.
Scientific Findings - Does BCAA Improve Mood?
In a study, 60 older female participants were divided into two groups one of which was given a placebo and the other, 1 gram of tryptophan each day for a period of 19 days. The group that consumed tryptophan - one of the essential amino acids - was found to have boosted energy and happiness levels.
Another published study conducted on more than 3000 adults showed that BCAA can help reduce anxiety, depression, and psychological distress. As can be seen, contrary to popular perception, amino acids including BCAA play an important part in vital body functions apart from increasing exercise performance and building and repairing muscles. These include making proteins, hormone synthesis, nutrient absorption, and synthesis of neurotransmitters.
Ready To Boost your Fitness and Mood?
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Whether you’re using BCAA for anxiety, depression, weight loss, or increasing lean muscle mass, remember it’s important to ensure you’re not exceeding the maximum prescribed limit. BCAA dosage varies according to the situation and following the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended dose is essential for safety and for deriving the maximum benefits.
To attain the benefits of BCAA and other essential amino acids, shop supplements today!