TABLE 8-1 Relevant Data Identified for BCAA


Type of Injury/Insult

Type of Study and Subjects



Tier 1: Clinical trials

Aquilani et al., 2008


Randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Postinjury, short-term parenteral supplementation of BCAAs (500 mL of 4% mixture of amino acids solution; provided 19.6 g of BCAAs and 1.6 g arginine) for 15 days

Disability Rating Scores (DRS) improved significantly for treated patients (p < 0.001; geometric mean of DRS decreased, from 23.17 to 19.68), while the score in placebo recipients remained virtually unchanged. 68% of treated patients achieved DRS scores that allowed them to exit the vegetative or minimally conscious state.

na=41 rehabilitation patients with a posttraumatic vegetative or minimally conscious state, 47±24 days postinjury

From day 15 to discharge from rehabilitation center, further significant brain function improvement was detected in patients in treatment group (p < 0.03); no improvement was detected in placebo group.

No adverse effects were mentioned.

Aquilani et al., 2005

Severe TBI

Randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Postinjury, 15 days of intravenous BCAA supplementation (19.6 g/day)

After 15 days, DRS for both treatment and placebo groups improved significantly (p < 0.02) compared to baseline. But improvement in treatment group was significantly greater than placebo group (p < 0.004).

n=60 men with TBI

After 15 days, significant increase in total BCAA was seen only in treated group (p < 0.01).

Plasma tyrosine level increased in the treated group (p < 0.01), while tryptophan increased in the placebo group (p < 0.01).

No adverse effects were mentioned.

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