In a new study, researchers found that excessive use of amino acids (mainly in protein powders) for bodybuilding may bring harmful side effects.
The side effects include shorter lifespan, mood issues, and weight gain.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Sydney.
Amino acids have long been used by people to improve fitness and muscle growth.
Common products high in amino acids include ultra-bulk protein powders and lean mass-promoting snack bars.
However, most people who use amino acids mainly focus on the benefits and ignore its potentially harmful side-effects.
In the current study, the team focused on the effects of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which is great for adding muscle mass.
Mice were fed with double the normal amount of BCAAs (200%), the standard amount (100%), half (50%) or one fifth (20%) for life.
The researchers found that mice who were fed 200% BCAAs ate more food, which resulted in obesity and a shortened lifespan.
This is because BCAAs could influence hormone levels in the body, which increase appetite and lead to massive overeating.
The researchers suggest that diets high in protein and low in carbs may be beneficial muscle growth but they could harm health in mid-late life and lead to a shortened lifespan.
They suggest that keeping amino acids in balance is important. It’s best to vary protein sources through a healthy and balanced diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
For example, dairy, chicken, fish, and eggs are nutritious sources of BCAAs. Vegetarians can find BCAAs in beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins.
The leaders of the study are Professor Stephen Simpson and Dr. Samantha Solon-Biet.
The study is published in Nature Metabolism.
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