How Much Is “Too Much” BCAAs?
- by amino VITAL
Before consuming any kind of product – supplement or otherwise – it’s usually a good idea to figure out how safe it is first. With some products, there’s no reason to be worried – there’s not much of a risk in drinking a protein shake or BCAA supplement, for instance – but even the safest products often have some limit governing how much is considered “too much” for the body to handle. Those who use BCAAs to increase their gains, boost their energy, and improve their recovery times after working out will be happy to know that the upper limit for using BCAAs is far higher than what most people consume. Still, it’s probably best to ask the question, “How much is ‘too much’ BCAAs?” To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® shed some light on this topic.
How Much BCAAs Should I Take?
As with many nutrients, the amount of BCAAs that a person should consume will depend on a number of factors, including their size, metabolism, gender, and level of activity. For instance, an active man will probably need more BCAAs than an active woman, but that woman might need more than a sedentary man. We’ll discuss some general guidelines below, but remember that they don’t apply in all cases.
The first thing you should consider when determining how much BCAAs to take is that many people get enough of these compounds in their normal diet. Most sources of protein contain BCAAs, after all, so the requirements of someone who isn’t very active can probably be met by simply observing a balanced diet. For these people, a good rule of thumb is nine grams of BCAAs per day for women and 12 grams per day for men1.
However, exercise – especially frequent or intense exercise – forces the body to use extra BCAAs to maintain and grow muscle mass, among other things. The result of these processes is that an active person probably needs more BCAAs than their diet contains. Again, the exact dosage will vary from person to person, but someone who works out regularly could require as much as 20 grams of BCAAs to maximize the benefits of these supplements, though the majority of people likely don’t need quite that much.
How Much BCAAs Is Considered Too Much?
If you’re concerned with using too much BCAAs, there’s good news: it’s tough to take too much without really trying. A study conducted in 2012 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimated that the upper limit of consumption for leucine, one of the three BCAAs, is about 35 grams2 per day – and that’s a conservative estimate, according to the researchers. Since most BCAA supplements are only partly made up of leucine, that means you’d have to take more than 35 grams of BCAAs to reach the limit, which is far more than what someone is likely to consume, even accidentally.
To give an example, the Rapid Recovery post-workout mix from aminoVITAL® – which is the product that provides the largest dose of amino acids in our list of offerings – only contains 3.6 grams of amino acids. This mix comprises five different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, valine, arginine, and glutamine, so to reach 35 grams of leucine alone, you might have to take 10 of these supplements before you reach the point where you’ve consumed “too much” BCAAs. In other words, as long as you use these products as intended, you won’t have to worry about taking too much BCAAs.
What Happens If I Take Too Much BCAAs?
On the off chance that you do take too much BCAAs, know that the effects are generally pretty mild. Using too much BCAAs has been associated with fatigue, nausea, headaches, coordination issues, changes in your sleep cycle, and low mood. However, the vast majority of people who use BCAAs don’t experience these issues, so they should not be expected unless you plan on far exceeding the recommended doses.
There are, however, a few (very specific) instances in which even a moderate amount of BCAAs could cause an issue. One of these situations is if you have an upcoming surgery, as the consumption of BCAAs may have an impact on blood sugar, which could, in turn, affect how well you heal after surgery3. For this reason, it is probably a good idea to stop taking BCAAs about two weeks before the date of your surgery.
There are also a few medical conditions that could be exacerbated by taking BCAAs, whether you use too much or not. One of these is a rare ailment called maple syrup urine disease, which prevents the body from processing BCAAs. Those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, should avoid these supplements, too, as should those with the disorder called branched-chain ketoaciduria. Finally, anyone dealing with chronic alcoholism may want to steer clear of BCAAs as well.
Aside from these particular instances, you should be able to use BCAAs without trouble, though, as with any supplement, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before making them part of your regular routine.
Try BCAAs from aminoVITAL® to Boost Your Energy and Improve Your Workouts
If you’re someone who chooses to pursue an active lifestyle, consider adding BCAAs to your routine. These potent supplements can increase gains, improve energy levels, fight fatigue, and promote recovery after even the most intense workout. To learn more about how BCAAs can help you, visit aminoVITAL® online or call us today at (888) 264-6673.