Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. "Branched-chain" refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids. People use branched-chain amino acids for medicine.
Branched-chain amino acids are commonly taken by mouth or given intravenously (by IV) by healthcare providers for brain conditions due to liver disease (acute, chronic, and latent hepatic encephalopathy). Branched-chain amino acids are used for many other conditions and may be taken by athletes to improve athletic performance, prevent fatigue, improve concentration, and reduce muscle breakdown during intense exercise.
How does it work?
Branched-chain amino acids stimulate the building of protein in muscle and possibly reduce muscle breakdown. Branched-chain amino acids seem to prevent faulty message transmission in the brain cells of people with advanced liver disease, mania, tardive dyskinesia, and anorexia.