BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids and is increasingly being recognized as an important supplement in the field of sports nutrition. In short the term refers to three essential amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Amino acids are widely known as the building blocks of protein. When protein food is eaten it gets digested into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are sufficiently small to be absorbed into the bloodstream. They are then used by the body to build and repair tissues amongst other things.
Amino acids are split between those classed as essential and those labelled non-essential. This simply means that essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, whereas non-essential amino acids can. There are nine essential amino acids and each must be obtained from the diet. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
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