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BCAA Helps Maintain Exercise Performance
When and How Much BCAA Should You Take?

You should take enough to raise the concentration of BCAA in your blood

When you take BCAA, it is supplied to your muscles via your blood, so in order to make sure the BCAA you take has the desired effect, you need to take enough to raise the concentration of BCAA in your blood.

We researched exactly how much BCAA is necessary to raise its concentration in the blood.

Changes in BCAA blood plasma concentration after drinking beverages that include BCAA

In this experiment, 8 healthy adult males (average age: 38.5) drank beverages that had 8,000mg, 4,000mg, 2,000mg, 1,000mg, 500mg, and 0 milligrams of BCAA. Each subject drank 500 milliliters at one time while at rest (taking approximately 1 minute to drink the beverage). Over the next two hours, they gave periodic blood samples, and we looked at how their BCAA blood plasma concentration changed.

Source: JAPANESE SOCIETY OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, p1 Vol. 27, 2005 partially revised

Thirty minutes after ingestion, BCAA blood plasma concentration peaks. Two hours after ingesting a beverage that contains 2,000 milligrams or more of BCAA, concentrations higher than before ingestion are maintained, but 1 hour after ingesting a beverage that contains 1,000 milligrams or less of BCAA, the concentration has returned to pre-ingestion levels.

Conclusion: Drinking a beverage containing at least 2,000mg of BCAA raises the BCAA concentration in the blood.

This study indicates that, since your body requires more BCAA during exercise, you should probably get 2,000 milligrams or more of BCAA 30 minutes before or during exercise.

How can you get 2,000mg of BCAA from the foods you eat?

BCAA is found in large amounts in animal proteins. See below for a list of foods that provide the required amount of BCAA.

  • Beef: 70g
  • Dark tuna: 40g
  • Eggs: 2
  • Milk: 2 cups

Because it is difficult to eat while exercising, the best way to get the required supply of BCAA is supplements and beverages containing BCAA.