Updates: BCAAs and ALA

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:


We edited our page on Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) for clarity. We added citations, and we expanded two sections:

Although research on BCAAs in clinical settings (e.g. BCAAs through IV tubes to counter various diseases) has grown over the past few years, most people are interested in this supplement for its exercise-related properties. BCAAs contain leucine and can help promote muscle growth when protein is not available. BCAAs may also bring a minor anti-fatigue benefit to people undergoing prolonged physical exercise.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

We’ve also updated our page on Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA). We added information to the section on glucose management (ALA has been used to reduce blood glucose) as well as to the sections on safety and toxicology.

ALA is a compound found both in the human body and, in trace levels, in some food products. It’s structurally similar to fatty acids and is a minor source of dietary sulfur (too minor to bring the same sulfur-mediated health benefits garlic does).

ALA’s precise mechanism of action remains uncertain, but it seems to influence a molecular pathway involving proteins such as SIRT1, AMPK, and PGC-1a. This pathway is mostly involved in the process of drawing energy into cells and using it. More precisely, it helps draw glucose and lipids into cells (usually AMPK related) and assists mitochondrial function and production (usually PGC-1a mediated). ALA is one of the rare antioxidants that can work inside the mitochondria.

ALA isn’t for everybody, but evidence suggests that it may benefit both glucose regulation and nerve health, which should be of interest to people diagnosed with type-II diabetes.