7

votes

IF: BCAA vs HGH

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM

BCAA is recommended to perserve muscle while fasting but it also releases insulin almost at the rate of glucose (from what I read). Doesn't insulin prevent HGH? So if I use BCAA during a IF, HGH gets blunted? Isn't HGH a pottent fat burner & muscle Builder?

Which would be a better option?

UPDATE

From this study BCAA lowers HGH preworkout but increases testoserone postworkout.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on November 23, 2012
at 05:11 PM

You mean, you take 10g of BCAA an hour before you break you fast, or every hour until you break your fast?

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:17 PM

From a little more research, it looks like valine is glucogenic as well. Leucine and lysine are the only two strictly ketogenic amino acids.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on July 11, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Yea, I'll check the podcasts. Brad Pilion writer of Eat Stop Eat said it's ok but to stick to a true fast.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:41 PM

Good question..

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4 Answers

1
D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on November 23, 2012
at 12:20 PM

This answer's coming a little late, but I think it's worth noting BCAA's are usually only recommended if you plan on doing heavy lifting in a fasted state. The research that supports IF, which is not eating for brief periods of time, also supports not needing supplements during that time to preserve muscle. I IF every day and I don't take BCAA's unless I'm working out, in which case I'll take down about 10g an hour until I break my fast. Usually that only requires one serving though.

1
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:11 PM

There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine.

Per this source (emphasis is mine), http://pathman.smpdb.ca/pathways/SMP00032/pathway:

In muscle, the final products of leucine, isoleucine, and valine catabolism can be fully oxidized via the citric acid cycle; in liver they can be directed toward the synthesis of ketone bodies (acetoacetate and acetyl-CoA) and glucose (succinyl-CoA).

Because isoleucine catabolism terminates with production of acetylCoA and propionylCoA it is both glucogenic and ketogenic.

Because leucine gives rise to acetylCoA and acetoacetylCoA, it is classified as strictly ketogenic.

From that information, I'm going to take an educated guess that perhaps if you supplement with pure leucine, you shouldn't invoke an insulin response as you'll remain fueling your ATP production with ketones.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:17 PM

From a little more research, it looks like valine is glucogenic as well. Leucine and lysine are the only two strictly ketogenic amino acids.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:31 PM

I don't really know a ton about this subject, but my understanding is that fasting increases HGH via a reduction in blood glucose (and to a lesser extent free fatty acids), independent of factors like insulin. A common theory suggests that this is due to glucose's stimulating effect on somatostatin (which is also known as growth hormone-inhibiting hormone). With somatostatin out of the way, HGH is released freely from the pituitary.

So BCAA's would increase insulin, but not glucose (or FFA's) levels, so they probably wouldn't have a significant effect that way. But factors affecting growth hormone secretion are pretty complex, so they might have an effect a different way.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a study examining the effect of a BCAA supplement on HGH levels in a fasted state, so I can't say for sure what the effect they would have. But I'd say keep the BCAA's since they have benefits and I don't know why they would blunt HGH as of now.

1
3d0093dd591d9b88db74d7bba970dea0

(222)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:59 PM

It does also help with insulin sensitivity via glucagon, but I still don't think it'd be ideal during IF, even though I've heard of that protocol. I remember someone asking Robb Wolf about this aspect of LeanGains at some point. He thought it was legit.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on July 11, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Yea, I'll check the podcasts. Brad Pilion writer of Eat Stop Eat said it's ok but to stick to a true fast.

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