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Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential nutrients including leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They're found in meat, dairy, and legumes.

BCAAs stimulate the building of protein in muscle and possibly reduce muscle breakdown. The "Branched-chain" refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids.

BCAAs are used for reduced brain function in people with advanced liver disease and for a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs. They are also commonly used to improve athletic performance, prevent fatigue, reduce muscle breakdown, and other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to support these other uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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When taken by mouth: BCAAs are likely safe when used in doses of 12 grams daily for up to 2 years. It might cause some side effects, such as fatigue and loss of coordination. BCAAs should be used cautiously before or during activities that require motor coordination, such as driving. BCAAs might also cause stomach problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and bloating.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if BCAA supplements are safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: BCAAs are likely safe when taken in food amounts. They are possibly safe when taken by children in larger doses for up to 6 months.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig disease): BCAA supplements have been linked with lung failure and higher death rates when used in patients with ALS. If you have ALS, do not use BCAA supplements until more is known.

Branched-chain ketoaciduria: People with this condition can experience seizures and severe delays in mental and physical development when BCAAs are consumed. Don't use BCAAs if you have this condition.

Diabetes: BCAA supplements might affect blood sugar levels. Watch for signs of low or high blood sugar and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and take BCAA supplements.

Surgery: BCAA supplements might affect blood sugar levels, and this might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using BCAA supplements at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Diazoxide (Hyperstat, Proglycem)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Branched-chain amino acids are used to help make proteins in the body. Taking Diazoxide along with branched-chain amino acids might decrease the effects of branched-chain amino acids on proteins. More information is needed about this interaction.

Levodopa

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Branched-chain amino acids might decrease how much levodopa the body absorbs. By decreasing how much levodopa the body absorbs, branched-chain amino acids might decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. Do not take branched-chain amino acids and levodopa at the same time.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Branched-chain amino acids might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking branched-chain amino acids along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Branched-chain amino acids are used to help make proteins in the body. Taking drugs called glucocorticoids along with branched-chain amino acids might decrease the effects of branched-chain amino acids on proteins. More information is needed about this interaction.

Thyroid hormone

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Branched-chain amino acids help the body make proteins. Some thyroid hormone medications can decrease how fast the body breaks down branched-chain amino acids. However, more information is needed to know the significance of this interaction.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

BCAAs are important nutrients found in protein sources such as meat, dairy, and legumes. It's estimated that adults should consume about 68 mg/kg daily (leucine 34 mg/kg, isoleucine 15 mg/kg, valine 19 mg/kg). But other estimates suggest that adults might actually need 144 mg/kg daily. Recommended amounts for children depend on age. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Acide Isovalérique de Leucine, Acides Aminés à Chaîne Ramifiée, Acides Aminés Ramifiés, Aminoacidos Con Cadenas Laterales Ramificadas, BCAA, BCAAs, Branched-Chain Amino Acid, Branched Chain Amino Acid, Branched Chain Amino Acid Therapy, Branched Chain Amino Acids, Isoleucine, Isoleucine Ethyl Ester HCl, Leucine, Leucine Ethyl Ester HCl, Leucine Isovaleric Acid, Leucine Methyl Ester HCl, L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Leucine Pyroglutamate, L-Valine, N-Acetyl Leucine, N-Acétyl Leucine, Valine, 2-amino-3-methylvaleric acid, 2-amino-4-methylvaleric acid, 2-amino-3-methylbutanoic acid.

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