This study investigated the effect of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation on recovery from eccentric exercise. Twenty males ingested either a BCAA supplement or placebo (PLCB) prior to and following eccentric exercise. Creatine kinase (CK), vertical jump (VJ), maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), jump squat (JS) and perceived soreness were assessed. No significant (p > 0.05) group by time interaction effects were observed for CK, soreness, MVIC, VJ, or JS. CK concentrations were elevated above baseline (p < 0.001) in both groups at 4, 24, 48 and 72 hr, while CK was lower (p = 0.02) in the BCAA group at 48 hr compared to PLCB. Soreness increased significantly from baseline (p < 0.01) in both groups at all time-points; however, BCAA supplemented individuals reported less soreness (p < 0.01) at the 48 and 72 hr time-points. MVIC force output returned to baseline levels (p > 0.05) at 24, 48 and 72 hr for BCAA individuals. No significant difference between groups (p > 0.05) was detected for VJ or JS. BCAA supplementation may mitigate muscle soreness following muscle-damaging exercise. However, when consumed with a diet consisting of ~1.2 g/kg/day protein, the attenuation of muscular performance decrements or corresponding plasma CK levels are likely negligible.
Keywords: BCAA; eccentric exercise; muscle damage; recovery; sports nutrition; supplement.