Vanity, vanity…all is vanity…

I know this is a lament made by King Solomon, but as I look in the mirror, I can identify.  However, there is more than just vanity at stake with aging.

I am researching Branched Chain Amino Acids  (BCAA) and their role in the body.  We all remember our fifth grade health class (if not, I will offer a reminder) where we learned that the building blocks of our body are proteins.  Proteins contain Amino Acids.

These little darlings have amazing power.  The BCAA have amazing power to get into the mitochondria and rebuild the cells.  Rebuilding=anti-aging.  Anti-aging=vanity… so you know where I am going with this.

As we get older, and older means 50+, we start losing 1% of muscle strength per year.  You may have thought I was going to talk about sagging skin and feminine vanity, but I am also talking to men who are seeing that they are not having the muscle strength and the power to rip those abs when they hit a certain age.

BCAA have the power to support muscle maintenance, muscle growth, and muscle recovery.  In addition, according to a recent study, these substances show promise in fighting multiple killer diseases of aging.   So many times I have spoken to people who say that they don’t mind getting older, but they do mind the loss of quality of life.

As I am now closer to 100 than I am to 1, I am concerned about the quality of life.  I am researching longevity due in part, I confess, to vanity.

What I am discovering is that the BCAAs have a unique quality in that they are not broken down by the liver, but rather are passed via the bloodstream directly into the skeletal muscle.  Because they arrive intact, they are able to enter the mitochondria and start the reviving process.  Here are some of the good things the BCAAs do:

  1. Fight obesity
  2. Fight metabolic syndrome
  3. Fight liver disease
  4. Fight cancer cachexia
  5. Reduce muscle soreness.

Additionally, they are involved in the formation of glutamate and GABA.  These substances aid in stress management.  And finally, back to vanity….  Exercise (which can be interpreted as vanity) actually enhances the mitochondrial function induced by BCAAs.

Until next time,


(Parente Matilde, MD. ‘Can a Power Booster also be a Longevity Booster?’ Life Extension  2011 May/June:62-68.