Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Apr;15(2):203-212. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.2.203.

Association between dietary branchedchain amino acid intake and skeletal muscle mass index among Korean adults: Interaction with obesity

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 38541, Korea
  • 2Health & Nutrition R&D Group, Maeil Dairies Co., Ltd, Pyeongtaek 17714, Korea


The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), including isoleucine, leucine, and valine, promote muscle protein synthesis. However, obesity may interfere with protein synthesis by dysregulating mitochondrial function in the muscles. This study aimed to examine the association between dietary intake levels of BCAA and skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) in middle-aged participants, and the effect of obesity/ abdominal obesity on this association.
The data of 3,966 men and women aged 50–64 years who participated in the 2008–2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. Intake levels of energy-adjusted dietary amino acids were obtained using a 24-hour dietary recall. SMI was calculated by dividing the appendicular skeletal muscle mass by body weight (kg) and multiplying the result by 100%. Multivariable general linear models were used to analyze the association of dietary BCAA intake levels with SMI.
The beneficial effects of energy-adjusted dietary BCAA intakes on SMI were greater in the non-obesity/non-abdominal obesity groups; however, no significant associations were observed in the obesity/abdominal obesity groups (P > 0.05).
Healthy weight and sufficient intake of dietary BCAA are recommended to maintain muscle mass.


Branched-chain amino acids; leucine; skeletal muscle; obesity; Koreans
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