Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), also known as valine, leucine and isoleucine, are known for their role in promoting muscle repair and growth, decreasing muscle soreness and increasing power output [1
]. Many athletes (including runners) supplement with BCAAs to improve performance.
While runners can supplement their routine with BCAAs, they are actually found abundantly in whole foods, so if you eat a well-balanced diet, it’s not necessary to take BCAA supplements. Animal proteins (such as poultry, fish, pork, and beef) contain all nine essential amino acids, including the BCAAs. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it’s more difficult to get all three BCAAs from a singular plant-based protein; however, a combination of these proteins will result in adequate intake.