Protein shakes have been a staple for gym-goers who engage in vigorous workouts for a long time now. As per a new study, these BCAA containing shakes can have a detrimental impact on one’s mood as well as lead to obesity by expanding one’s appetite. Moreover, this research also says that a diet high in BCAAs can shorten one’s lifespan.
What Does This New Study Reveal?
A new research suggests that proteins shakes which people drink for building muscle mass may damage health in the long run and may even reduce lifespan. Basically, protein shakes are high in branched chain amino acids including leucine, valine, and isoleucine which are believed to raise muscle mass in those who practice bodybuilding.
However, this new study which has been conducted on mice reveals that a diet that is rich in BCAAs but lacks other necessary nutrients may have negative impacts on health in the long-term. Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia have found that BCAAs can have adverse effects on mood, cause cravings, and increase weight along with shortening lifespan.
This study, which has been published in the Nature Metabolism journal, looked at the effects that a diet high in BCAA levels had on mice which normally consumed a diet that was high in carbs while being low in fats. It was found that BCAAs in blood competed with tryptophan which lowers the markers of serotonin in the brain.
Tryptophan is a component amino acid of serotonin, which is the happiness hormone. This can lead to an increase in appetite and consequent weight gain. It was also found that this caused lifespan to shorten. It is crucial to note here that BCAAs have health benefits as well. However, a balance is required in the levels of amino acids without which negative impacts ensue.
Samantha Solon-Biet, Ph.D., a co-lead author of this study said, “What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important — it’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”
BCAAs – Health Benefits And Risks
Branched chain amino acids are not only found in shakes but other forms of supplements as well. These increase lean muscle mass, prevent muscle damage, and improve performance. They may also hold some benefits for patients who have liver disease. However, previous studies have also revealed some health risks which are associated to BCAAs.
While it is not clear whether BCAAs encourage the development of insulin resistance, research does show that these amino acids can lead to diabetes type 2. They can also cause liver problems as a 2016 study shows the link between nonalcoholic liver disease and liver injury with high markers of BCAAs. Some reports also say that BCAAs can cause cancer growth and heart disease.
BCAAs may help increase muscle mass, strength and prevent muscle damage but they also have some risks associated to them. A new research goes as far as to say that a diet with too high markers of these branched chain amino acids can slash one’s lifespan, cause obesity and cause mood-related problems.