Side Effects of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Side Effects of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Before taking an amino acid supplement, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved. Luckily, there aren’t too many risks and side effects linked to taking BCAAs.

6 Possible Side Effects of BCAAs

  1. Nausea
  2. Headaches
  3. Metabolism Issues
  4. Neurotransmitter Issues
  5. Pregnancy Complications
  6. Lowers Blood Pressure

When taking BCAAs, there is a possibility of nausea, pain, and headaches, although it is unlikely. If you take BCAAs before or after surgery, there is a chance that BCAAs could interfere with your blood glucose levels.

Avoid using BCAAs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should also proceed with caution if you suffer from chronic alcoholism or branched chain ketoaciduria.

When taking amino acid supplements, remember that arginine and methionine are the ones that are most likely to cause side effects. BCAAs can also affect the way your neurotransmitters work, so it’s important to be cautious with them. There also is some chance that BCAAs could interact with prescription medications.

Talking to a medical professional before you start taking supplements is always a good idea. You should avoid BCAAs if you are pregnant or suffer from ALS

Your body needs a balanced amount of all the essential amino acids to work properly. It’s not just about hitting the recommended daily dosage, it’s also about making sure you get BCAAs in proper proportions.

If you overdo certain amino acids and skimp on others, your body could end up struggling to maintain your metabolism as was discovered by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Side Effects of Arginine

Arginine has many different functions within the body. It stimulates the production of both human growth hormone and nitric oxide. It also removes ammonia from your body and can stimulate your immune system.

Although arginine does many good things for your body, some people experience digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, and gout from taking this supplement. It naturally lowers your blood pressure, so if blood pressure levels are a concern for you, you should stay away from arginine.

Arginine also can be dangerous for people with kidney or liver disease, as it can lower your blood potassium levels. If you have diabetes or ulcers, or have experienced a recent allergy, asthma, or herpes episode, contact your doctor before you take arginine. 

Side Effects of Methionine

Methionine boosts the production of another amino acid called homocysteine in your body. If your levels of homocysteine are too high, it can lead to vascular disease. Everyone should be cautious when taking methionine–talk to your doctor before starting, and avoid staying on it for an extended period of time.

Pregnant women should avoid methionine completely. If you are taking methionine, supplements containing folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 can help prevent your homocysteine levels from spiking. 

Effectiveness of BCAAs

In general, BCAAs are not as beneficial as taking a whole protein supplement. Complete proteins are much easier for your body to absorb and come with fewer risks.

Whole proteins generally lead to better muscle growth than taking BCAAs. Additionally, scientific evidence surrounding BCAAs is mixed––they tend to only provide good results if you aren’t consuming adequate protein through your diet. However, it is impossible to overdose on BCAAs as there is no toxicity.