Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation in Combination With Voluntary Running Improves Body Composition in Female C57BL/6 Mice

J Diet Suppl. 2016;13(5):473-86. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2015.1112866. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


Exercise is an inexpensive intervention that may be used to reduce obesity and its consequences. In addition, many individuals who regularly exercise utilize dietary supplements to enhance their exercise routine and to accelerate fat loss or increase lean mass. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a popular supplement and have been shown to produce a number of beneficial effects in rodent models and humans. Therefore, we hypothesized that BCAA supplementation would protect against high fat diet (HFD)-induced glucose intolerance and obesity in mice with and without access to exercise. We subjected 80 female C57BL/6 mice to a paradigm of HFD feeding, exercise in the form of voluntary wheel running, and BCAA supplementation in the drinking water for 16 weeks (n = 10 per group). Body weight was monitored weekly, while food and water consumption were recorded twice weekly. During the 5th, 10th, and 15th weeks of treatment, glucose tolerance and body composition were analyzed. Exercise significantly improved glucose tolerance in both control-fed and HFD-fed mice. BCAA supplementation, however, did not significantly alter glucose tolerance in any treatment group. While BCAA supplements did not improve lean to fat mass ratio in sedentary mice, it significantly augmented the effects of exercise on this parameter.

Keywords: BCAA; exercise; high fat diet; obesity; rodent; supplement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Weight
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drinking Water
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Drinking Water