The amino acids in our body are pretty amazing. Whether they are essential or nonessential, each of them has its own uniqueness and special functions. In this article, we will know the link between BCAA and hair loss.
The body contains a total of 20 amino acids, aren’t they a lot? Each one of them has their own specialties and functions, and they are also classified into different categories based on some of their biochemical properties like how they are structured or how they exist in the body if they can either be produced or if we must get them from the food we eat. As an example, when based on their existence in the body, they are classified into essential and nonessential amino acids. Another example is when they are classified based on their structure, wherein there is an actual group of amino acids which contains 3 essential amino acids that are grouped together because they have the same appearance – they are called the branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs.
The Body’s Building Block – Amino Acids
The body is composed of thousands of proteins. Our nails and hair, for example, are made up of these proteins; which shows how important proteins are for every little thing that occurs in the body. If proteins make up most of our bodies, what are proteins made of? The answer to that is they are actually made from the famed “building blocks of proteins” which are the amino acids.
Amino acids are very important for the body, our supply of amino acids in the body is considered to be crucial because they are known to be the only ones that may be responsible for the specific body functions they are tasked to handle. However, amino acids are grouped into being essential and nonessential depending if the body can make them or not.
Essential vs. Non-Essential Amino Acids
For nonessential amino acids, our body has natural ways of synthesizing these amino acids. They can be provided by our diet and even amino acid supplements are now available to get supplies of amino acids in an easier way.
For the essential amino acids, there is no other way but to get them from the food we eat or from supplements. They are naturally occurring in most protein-rich foods like eggs though, so it is not usually a problem to get all of the needed essential amino acids.
In terms of their occurrence or existence in the body, the BCAAs are essential and must be taken from the regular diet. There are also a lot of BCAA supplements readily available in the market, for convenience.
The Three Branch-Chained Amino Acids
Like essential amino acids, it is important to supply the body with enough BCAAs since they have their own specific roles and functions. But first, what are the three BCAAs? It is somehow easy to get familiar with their names because it is said that most of them came from one BCAA which is leucine. The other two BCAAs are isoleucine and valine.
Out of all the three BCAAs, leucine is said to be the most useful amino acid. Because of this characteristic of leucine, they are normally made into supplements for athletes and even as a treatment for such accident-caused injuries like burns. The main function of leucine has something to do with the growth and development of the muscles and the improvement of performance which is the reason why BCAA supplements are common for weightlifters and professional athletes.
Other special functions of leucine (or BCAAs in general) are:
- It can help lower blood sugar levels and prevent the development of diabetes.
- Used as a treatment due to its healing properties in terms of skin issues, muscle tissue problems, and minor bone injuries.
- Leucine is said to be effective prevention and treatment for most infections.
- The synthesis of blood sugar in the liver, which is caused mostly by stress or starvation, is regulated.
- The amino acid is used for the maintenance of muscle mass; making it a hit among muscle junkies.
- Hemoglobin in the body needs leucine for proper and healthy production.
- Leucine is one of the top contributors in terms of production of growth hormones; thus it increases the number when there are enough of them in the body.
BCAA AND HAIR LOSS
Since it was proven that leucine and the other two BCAAs are active contributors to increased production of growth hormone in the body, it means that they may also capable of providing aid for the restoration of hair that was damaged due to hair loss.
Previously, there were claims regarding BCAAs that are connected to hair loss, but there is actually no proof about this. But since the misconceptions about BCAAs and hair loss were established during that time, a lot of studies were conducted to make way for the truth which is the opposite of those claims – BCAAs are actually helpful in reversing hair loss.
First of all, BCAAs are considered to make up for 40% of the amino acids required by humans and other mammals. This is a positive sign that those amino acids are somehow in charge of the production of hair among mammals.
Second, the consumption of BCAA supplements is proven and tested as an effective way to increase the potassium ions in the body which then acts as an aid for hair loss medications to take effect.
Third, there was a study conducted to see if iron and BCAA deficiency can help in some cases of hair loss. After the subjects were given iron and BCAA supplements the result was a positive hair growth among them. Lastly, it is general knowledge that the hair is made of protein and that proteins are actually a byproduct of amino acids; thus, BCAAs may actually help treat hair loss.