Table of Contents
Advances in Molecular Biology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 364976, 6 pages
Review Article

Metabolic and Physiological Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acids

1Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3E 0M2
2Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

Received 6 July 2014; Accepted 8 August 2014; Published 19 August 2014

Academic Editor: Haile Yancy

Copyright © 2014 Md. Monirujjaman and Afroza Ferdouse. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) have unique properties with diverse physiological and metabolic roles. They have functions other than simple nutrition. Different diseases including metabolic disease lead to protein loss, especially muscle protein. Supplementation of BCAAs promotes protein synthesis and reduces break down, as well as improving disease conditions. They are important regulators of mTOR signaling pathway and regulate protein synthesis as well as protein turnover. BCAAs facilitate glucose uptake by liver and SK muscle and also enhance glycogen synthesis. Oxidation of BCAAs seems to be beneficial for metabolic health as their catabolism increases fatty acid oxidation and reduces risk of obesity. BCAAs are also important in immunity, brain function, and other physiological aspects of well-being. All three BCAAs are absolutely required for lymphocyte growth and proliferation. They are also important for proper immune cell function. BCAAs may influence brain protein synthesis, and production of energy and may influence synthesis of different neurotransmitters. BCAAs can be used therapeutically and future studies may be directed to investigating the diverse effects of BCAAs in different tissues and their signaling pathways.