Branched-Chain Amino Acids

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Branched-chain amino acids help muscles recover faster and allow athletes to workout harder because they feel more energized and less sore between workouts.

What is a branched-chain amino acid?

Dr. Peter Ferraro: Amino acids are commonly referred to as building blocks of protein. What makes an amino acid a branched-chain is its chemical structure. Basically, they allow us to synthesize hormones and neuro transmitters, they aid in muscle recovery, increase fat oxidation, increase energy output and most importantly for us, is aid in muscle hypertrophy.

How do our bodies use these amino acids?

Dr. Peter Ferraro: Our bodies use amino acids because they’re fast acting and they’re primarily metabolized by our skeletal muscle. These specific amino acids skip the liver directly and go right into our blood stream. You can see why it’s so crucial for us, especially for those who lead an active lifestyle or workout, to utilize them. Protein levels really need to remain high for exercise because energy levels are depleted rapidly especially during physical activity, exercise, running, lifting weights, athletic performance, even quite honestly just a physically demanding job.

Which natural foods contain branched chain amino acids? For those who prefer supplements, do BCAAs come in a supplement form?

Dr. Peter Ferraro: They do. BCAA’s are commonly found in foods we eat. They are in meats, dairy, legumes. Although for BCAA’s, or some foods that we eat when you’re trying to follow a hard training plan or you’re cutting calories, it can be difficult to make sure you get enough of the BCAA’s just in your traditional diet. That’s where the BCAA supplementation really helps. They’re commonly found in powdered form, they’re in pill form, and now even in a ready to drink pre-mixed form where you can just open the bottle and drink your BCAA’s.

Who should take a BCAA supplement?

Dr. Peter Ferraro: We really feel that everybody needs branched chain amino acid supplementation in their diet. Regardless if you’re an athlete or not, I believe the majority of people aren’t aware of what they’re actually consuming and what their bodies really need. You can’t really blame them because it’s not something that’s readily taught unless you have some type of formal nutritional education. Our athletes and regular gym goers should absolutely take these supplements as they need to focus on muscle recovery and growth. The most important part of that is our athletes get to train harder because by ingesting their branched chain amino acids, they’re not as sore the next day. Their recovery happened much faster. It allows them to continue to build muscle.

If you are interested in speaking with Ferraro Spine and Rehabilitation please visit or call 973-478-2212 to schedule an appointment.

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