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There are nine essential amino acids which are not made by the body and therefore must be obtained via the diet. 3 of the 9 essential amino acids are: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine. These are called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) because their molecular structure is branched. While all other amino acids are broken down in the liver; BCAAs are metabolized primarily in lean body mass tissue. Because of this, they could help improve exercise performance and also reduce the rate of lean body mass break down. BCAA supplementation may promote lean body mass protein synthesis and also increase lean body mass in individuals who consume a low protein diet. The amino acid leucine plays a critical role in the synthesis of muscle protein. Isoleucine plays a vital role by inducing cells to store more glycogen. Valine functions synergistically with the other two BCAAs, to encourage normal growth, repair bodily tissues, regulate blood sugar levels, and supply the body with energy. Valine also stimulates the central nervous system and is required for healthy mental function.

L-Isoleucine: Isoleucine is the BCAA best known for its role in increasing endurance, helping to repair lean tissue, and encouraging blood clotting at the site of injury. This BCAA has been shown to provide potential benefit for athletes because its primary role in the body is to increase energy and help recovery from strenuous physical activity. An isoleucine deficiency can produce symptoms like those of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and can include: headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, confusion, irritability

L-Leucine: Leucine works with the BCAAs isoleucine and valine to help repair lean mass, regulate blood sugar, and maintain the body’s energy levels. L-leucine has also shown to temporarily increase the production of growth hormone.

L-Valine: Valine may help in removing excess nitrogen from the liver and in transporting nitrogen to other tissues in the body as required. Valine has also been studied as an adjunctive nutritional support in liver and gallbladder disease.

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