Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Caleb Heim

Second Advisor

Andrea Powell

Third Advisor

Beate Wone


Amino Acids, Metabolism, Branch Chain Amino Acids, Catabolic reactions, Exercise, Decrease Muscle Fatigue, Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine, Recovery

Subject Categories

Cell and Developmental Biology


Over the past 150 years, amino acids have been found and researched in the nutrition biochemistry field. Over these years, three have been identified; leucine, valine and isoleucine; to make up the branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) that play a crucial role on the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. The metabolism of BCAAs is a highly complicated process that is regulated by the activation of the alpha-keto acids dehydrogenase complex (BCKDH complex) to complete the catabolic reaction. With exercise, it has been found to increase the metabolism of BCAAs by increasing the BCKDH complex, which will decrease the fatigue and muscle breakdown experienced during training. Additionally, BCAAs have been found to increase insulin uptake in the body and decrease delayed onset muscles that is experienced the days following activity. Although BCAAs have a positive impact on exercise performance and recovery, they can negatively impact the body if not in the correct balance.



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