What are branched chain amino acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are so called because of their structure, which includes a “side chain” of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Of these, leucine is the most heavily researched, and appears to offer the biggest physiological benefit. (More on that below.)
For the science geeks, these hydrophobic (water-fearing) amino acids are referred to as “aliphatic” (from the Greek aleiphar, or oil), as their central carbon attaches to a branched non-cyclic, open carbon chain.
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