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Testing BCAA

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Alexandra90, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Alexandra90

    Alexandra90

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    My order with BCAA and Glutamine has arrived. I have taken one capsule BCAA and it seem to have a slightly positive effect on my brain fog and energy levels. I also feel a bit less wired. Can also be that I'm having a good day since it's to soon to tell anything. I don't expect any miracles.

    I'm very careful with experimenting and always a little afraid. I will wait with the glutamine to be safe.

    Is BCAA generally safe? And do someone have a good explanation to why they can work? Can they help the body to heal longterm or only mask?
     
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  2. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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  3. Alexandra90

    Alexandra90

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  4. Philipp

    Philipp

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    Hi Alexandra,


    as far as I know at least one theory behind it is that leucine competes with tryptophan for uptake into the cerebrospinal fluid. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, so it shifts the ratio of other neurotransmitters to serotonin in the direction of said other transmitters (e.g. dopamine). Dopamine is effectively a cerebral vasodilator, while serotonin is a vasoconstrictor – so you might get more nutrient support. But that can't be the whole story because most pwME seem to have problems with the regulation of liquor-flow more so than strictly just opening or closing vessels.

    Another theory that was discussed somewhere on these boards is that overproduction of serotonin plays a role at least for a subset of pwME. Who knows.


    BCAA in general also have some role in using fatty acids for energy and Leucine is involved in activating mTor-pathways. Both might play a role for us, someone mentioned recently they responded well to Beta Hydroxybutyrate and there is a recent thread on how an mTor-inhibitor helped some patients – so maybe our brains run better if they can use more ketone bodies, and maybe the regulation of mTor-pathways doesn't work very well (since the supposedly helpful medicine is inhibitory there, if BCAA do indeed help here in some way it cannot be as simple as them activating the same pathway, unless you e.g. need to do a bit of both at different times).


    As far as supplements go, BCAA are pretty much as safe as they come. They are basically literally broken down food mostly without allergens. That doesn't mean someone in a sick state can't have a bad response to them by any means, but you generally won't find many things with less risk. Do keep in mind though that many commercial BCAA tabs contain a bit of B6 (pyridoxine) which tends to be a bit less safe for quite a few pwME, especially in higher quantities, so maybe recheck the label if you haven't.


    I do not think it has been super-well established how well this stuff works for us, but I am really just posting because this is literally the first post in several years I felt i could at least provide some kind of answer to until @Hip shows up and drops the knowledge bombs that kept me from signing up here for a decade ;)


    Btw, glutamine may do something with the gut lining because it is used somehow for the tight junctions there, theoretically decreasing intestinal permeability which in turn might help if you have dysbiosis, yeast etc etc. I don't know if this works in a practical setting though or how relevant that is. It is also used as a building block for glutathione, but normally it is not the rate-limiting step there (cysteine is). How good or bad this may be for us seems to be pretty individual. For what it's worth, I seem to do pretty bad on it unless I take quite a bit of vitamin c alongside it. A guess to why that is would be that the glutathione oxidizes quicker than it gets recycled and the oxidized version builds up – but again, I don't really know what I am talking about, so take it for what it's worth.


    As a side note, when I was relatively new to this whole supplement game I thought I could judge pretty quickly how well stuff was working for me – until I realized that I have the mild problems with fluid retention many of us do and what was (probably) actually doing the trick was the glass of water I was drinking to take the pills. It is super hard to work around that (and obviously placebo and the normal ups-and-downs) when trying to evaluate how good supplements work for you because there is no practical way (...that i know of) to accurately gauge how much said glass of water alone would have affected you at each point in time, so I'd say don't fret too much over it. But that's my personal take after the years.
     
  5. Demepivo

    Demepivo Dolores Abernathy

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    @Alexandra90 A good site to check out the science of supplement is Examine.com

    Here is te page in BCAAs
    https://examine.com/supplements/branched-chain-amino-acids/

    Last year in Robert Naviaux's metabolomic studies he found lower levels of BCAAs in patients. Fluge & Mella found the same thing in female patients, they concluded male patients made up the shortage from breaking down muscle tissue.

    @JaimeS Can you add anything?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  6. Demepivo

    Demepivo Dolores Abernathy

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    Something which I've found to maybe work better than BCAAs is Creatine. It is cheap too. :)

    https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/

    It seems to help by providing phosphate groups which assist the recycling the the body's fuel currency ATP. Mitochondria are supposed to provide you with enough but the work of Naviaux, Fluge & Mella et al suggest it's dysfunctional in PWME
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  7. Demepivo

    Demepivo Dolores Abernathy

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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  8. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member

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    Just to repeat what you already said. In general, Naviaux's and Armstrong's studies look like we should be adding proteins and healthy fats to the diet as opposed to carbs, since we make better use of the former. That's translating direct metabolomic information to dietary intake, though, and there are no studies on type of diet in ME/CFS with a great deal of legitimacy that I know of. So be aware that this conclusion, while logical, is still a leap away from what we've seen in the literature.

    And as always, I'm not a doctor and this isn't medical advice, etc etc.
     
  9. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @Alexandra90 - below are some articles about BCAAs and something called "central fatigue", which sounded a lot like PEM to me. I started taking BCAAs almost 3 years ago and within one week, my PEM recovery time had been cut in half, which was huge, and it's remained that way. I have not had any bad reaction to them. I take 2000 mg. leucine, 1000 mg isoleucine and 1000 mg valine daily in divided doses in the morning on an empty stomach (before breakfast and before lunch). Nutreval testing showed that I was low in leucine. And a little research indicated that it was unusual to be low in this amino acid, but it makes sense in light of Navaux's work.

    The articles talk about the relationship between BCAAs and tryptophan.

    http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=41341
    http://www.ncf-net.org/forum/Fword.htm
    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/2/544S.full
    http://www.sportsci.org/jour/9901/rbk.html
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11310928
     
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  10. Alexandra90

    Alexandra90

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    Since I started BCAA I have noticed a positive change even on days when I don't take it. More energy and cognitive improvements (can read/look at computer sceens even on bad days). Less feeling of "walking in deep water" and less muscle stiffness/weakness. I try to still live inside my frames to be safe.

    Is this really possible? I can't understand how it would be so effective.. :) maybe just a coincidence.
     
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  11. Philipp

    Philipp

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    It might be possible. There is some research into chronic pain states which, if I recall correctly, tells us that your brain essentially gets 'DDoSed' (spam-mailed to the point where it cannot handle all the input) if whatever is causing the pain signaling is activated all the time. If you say you have less muscle stiffness, this may mean you disabled a part of the pain signaling - the BCAA could help you make energy from ketone bodies, or some other pathway that functionally causes this might be involved. More energy means more relaxation (relaxing muscles, a bit counterintuitively, takes energy) means better nutrient support (completely contracted tissues partly cuts off said tissue from blood support) which all might lead to less pain signaling.

    Now, you will not perceive this as pain anymore because the brain mostly interprets changes in pain signaling, not absolute values. You will, however, have cognitive impairment because your prefrontal cortex (or whatever else is involved) still has to process all the incoming signals, leaving less capacity for other tasks. This process seems to amplifiy itself over time because the longer a low energy-state persists the more hypoperfusion you have in your tissues so in turn more pain signaling and yada yada yada - breaking this vicious cycle occasionally may 'reset' it rather than just dial it back, so you might feel better for a couple of hours/days.

    None of this matters too much though, I'd say the important thing is you're feeling better and if it turns out you can keep it this way (i.e. it is actually the supplement working instead of our usual random ups and downs) that's just plain awesome regardless of why it works! Fingers crossed!
     
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  12. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

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    Do you buy each of these amino acids separately or all together in one product?
     
  13. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    This is what I take: https://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutr...trition+bcaa+capsules,+1000mg,+400+count&th=1

    I take 8 capsules a day (yeah, its a lot but it works) If you read the label carefully, you'll see that the serving size is 2 capsules, not one. I take 4 on an empty stomach before breakfast and 4 late morning before lunch.

    When I first took BCAAs, I took this product: https://www.iherb.com/pr/MRM-BCAA-G-6000-150-Capsules/12581 and took 6 a day. It also has glutamine which seemed to help my blood sugar. I found that I could go longer without eating, my blood sugar seemed more stable on the glutamine. And then I switched brands and took glutamine separately but some time ago I started having severe insomnia problems (unrelated to the BCAAs) and stopped the glutamine because it can be converted to either GABA or glutamate as I understand it.

    Sushi also takes BCAAs and has had good results. I think she takes them in bulk form, instead of capsules, but they are altogether in a certain ratio, not taken separately.
     
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  14. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    I think it's possible. I was stunned when after a week of taking BCAAs, my PEM recovery time was literally cut in half. Nothing had touched it before. I've been taking them ever since! :nerd:
     
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