Ketosis and Fasting: Do BCAAs Break a Fast or Ketosis: Thomas DeLauer

Ketosis and Fasting: Do BCAAs Break a Fast or Ketosis: Thomas DeLauer

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the burning questions and you have to hear me out throughout this entire video for it to make sense do branched-chain amino acids kick you out of ketosis and even more importantly are you losing all of the hard-earned muscle that you’ve worked for men and women if you go into ketosis will you lose too much of the wrong kind of weight at the end of this video I’m going to explain exactly how the process works and proves that you actually maintain more muscle and more health when you’re in ketosis so let’s get down to the science but first I have to describe a little bit about what ketosis is in the first place so ketosis is a metabolic state where your body predominantly oxidizes fat as a source of fuel it does this in the absence of carbohydrates so your body users license fats as a source of fuel now you can see when this happens the body’s burning fat this can be very very advantageous if you’re trying to change your body composition or you’re trying to gain more energy but then we have to look at what branched chain amino acids are you see a lot of people think that they can consume branched chain amino acids while they’re in ketosis to make sure they don’t burn muscle I’m going to explain in this video why that may not be the case but first off let me explain what BCAAs are you see they are branched chain amino acids meaning they are forms of amino acids which are building blocks of protein that have carbon and hydrogen side chains that’s why they’re branched chains and the job of these branching amino acids is to help with protein synthesis so essentially they go into the bloodstream and they help the body build up the muscle tissue that it needs to sustain life now the unique thing about branched amino acids is they’re not degraded by the gut you see when you consume most amino acids they get broken down by the digestive system and broken down by the liver through a degradation process branched chain amino acids are very unique meaning as soon as you ingest them they go right into the blood plasma and can be utilized this is great for when it comes down to using as a source of energy when you’re working out or it’s great when you’re trying to supplement additional protein without actually consuming protein but this can pose an issue when we’re in ketosis you see branched chain amino acids are proven to spike your insulin particularly one called leucine you see amino acids are made up of three group we’ve got leucine isoleucine and valine leucine in particular triggers a massive insulin spike now what is insulin insulin is something that’s secreted by the pancreas in response to glucose when we consume carbohydrates our body secretes insulin our pancreas secretes insulin so that the glucose can get into the cell well ketosis by nature is the absence of insulin you see since insulin is required to get carbohydrates into a cell when hearing ketosis that ketones are what get the food into the cell sync of ketosis with the word sort of like having the word key in ketosis the ketosis part has the key to the cell so that you don’t need insulin well if leucine and branched amino acids spike your insulin then they kick you out of ketosis now there was one study in particular that took a man that was fasting for 50 days now it’s a long time too fast and it’s important to note that when you’re fasting or when you’re in ketosis you still have levels of ketones in your blood well this man was fasting for 50 days and what they did is they injected him with insulin and what they found is that when he was in ketosis he obviously had high levels of 3 hydroxy butyrate he obviously had high levels of free fatty acids and of course he had low levels of glucose they injected him with insulin his ketone bodies disappeared meaning he was out of ketosis for a brief amount of time this occurred for about 30 minutes and then stabilized so even though it’s not a long period of time it is proof that if you’re in ketosis and you have a spike in insulin you are kicked out of ketosis and now for the one that’s going to absolutely blow your mind the big question do you burn muscle when you’re in ketosis do you shrink do you lose tone do you lose size you lose everything you’ve worked for well there’s a study that actually proves that it’s quite the opposite see what this study looked at was a large group of people that ordinarily eat carbohydrates as their primary source of fuel what they did is they replace those carbohydrates with fats and when they did that they by default ended up in ketosis well that means that they had high levels of beta hydroxy butyrate high levels of 3 hydroxy butyrate and other ketone bodies well what was really really interesting was they measured amino acid levels now the levels of water what gluconeogenesis were decreased those gluconeogenesis are the amino acids that are normally increased if you’re breaking down existing muscle tissue you break that muscle tissue down into gluconeogenesis well there is a decrease in those levels meaning there was actually a decrease in the amount of muscle that would normally be burned then to make matters even better there was a 50% increase in the availability of branched chain amino acids naturally occurring in the body that’s right a 50% increase in BCAAs just by being in ketosis in the first place so case in point you don’t need BCAAs while you’re in ketosis for one they will kick you out of ketosis but – your body is producing enough of them so you don’t need them so when you start hearing that you need to be taking BCAAs to make sure you don’t lose muscle when you’re in ketosis start referencing some science and take back control of what works for you and not what the man is telling you – as always keep it locked in here on my channel if you have any ideas for future videos make sure you let me know in the comment section below and I will see you on either Monday Tuesday or Thursday

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Ketosis and Fasting: Do BCAAs Break a Fast or Ketosis: Thomas DeLauer
Ketosis Overview
Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when dietary carbohydrates are in such low quantities that your body must rely almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism
A traditional ketogenic diet sees you reduce carbs to around 5% of total energy intake with a maximum carb limit of 50g per day.
Simply put, a ketogenic diet results in your body using and burning fat, rather than carbs, for fuel (energy)
BCAA’s Overview
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are so called because of their structure, which includes a “side chain” of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms.
BCAAs are the only amino acids not degraded in the liver.
All other amino acids are regulated by the gut and the liver before being circulated elsewhere in the body.
This means that dietary intake of BCAAs directly influences plasma levels and concentrations in muscle tissue (Layman DK 2003). Interestingly, BCAAs are burned for energy (oxidized) during exercise, so they’re also an important exercise fuel.
So this poses the question…. If it can be used as fuel, can it break a fast?
BCAAs, however, head directly into the bloodstream. This means that dietary intake of BCAAs directly influences plasma levels and concentrations in muscle tissue
There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine
BCAA supplementation may reduce muscle soreness, accelerate recovery, promotes muscle protein synthesis and supports fat loss (1,2)
Ketosis and Insulin
Insulin’s primary purpose is to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, into a molecule called glucose.
Insulin allows cells in the body absorb glucose so your body can use it for fuel, ultimately lowering levels of glucose in the blood stream
Ketosis and Insulin
Ketosis will take place when the body needs energy and there is not sufficient glucose available for the body.
This happens when the body is lacking insulin and blood glucose levels become high.
BCAAs can Spike Insulin
Studies have shown that branched-chain amino acid supplementation increases insulin levels and concentrations of FFAs
Leucine, specifically, stimulates glucose uptake for up to 45 minutes (3,4)
Insulin and Ketosis Study
Despite there being some benefits to supplementing BCAAs, it may not be wise to do so while in a ketogenic state
In one study, a man voluntarily fasted for 50 days.
His ketones were high (14 mmol/l) and he was injected with insulin (around 0.1 IU/kg, so around 7-8 IU).
For 30 min, his ketones and blood sugar dropped and there was a massive uptake of ketones by the brain and ketone production was halted.
However, within 30 min his ketones started shooting back up
In short, an insulin spike can kick you out of ketosis, albeit temporarily, as insulin clearance is seemingly fast (5)
BCAAs While in Ketosis (Increase in circulating BCAAs)
In one study dietary replacement of carbohydrate by fats were studied in six healthy subjects, which was preceded and followed by a 3-day period of balanced diet.
During the ketogenic diet, levels of free fatty acids, glycerol and 3-hydroxybutyrate rose significantly and glucose levels decreased by 16.5 +/- 3.2%
The hormonal pattern switched towards a catabolic mode with a fall in insulin levels (-44.0 +/- 6.3%) and a rise in glucagon concentration (+39.0 +/- 10.4%).
The average levels of gluconeogenic amino acids (alanine, glutamine, glycine, serine and threonine) were reduced by 8-34% while those of the branched chain amino acids increased by more than 50%.
Concluded that a ketogenic diet may result in an increase of circulating BCAAs within the body – so supplementing with BCAAs may be even less necessary while in ketosis (6)
1) All About BCAAs | Precision Nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2) Ten Benefits of BCAAs | Poliquin Article. (n.d.). Retrieved from
3) The Ketogenic Diet and Insulin Resistance | Ruled Me. (n.d.). Retrieved from
4) Ketosis – What is Ketosis, Effects of Ketosis and Ketosis Levels. (n.d.). Retrieved from
5) Hyperlipid: Neuron fuel and function. (n.d.). Retrieved from
6) Hormonal and metabolic changes induced by an isocaloric isoproteinic ketogenic diet in healthy subjects. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from 5

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