Recent progress on branched-chain amino acids in obesity, diabetes, and beyond

Md Abu Bakkar Siddik, Andrew C. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids that are not synthesized in our body; thus, they need to be obtained from food. They have shown to provide many physiological and metabolic benefits such as stimulation of pancreatic insulin secretion, milk production, adipogenesis, and enhanced immune function, among others, mainly mediated by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. After identified as a reliable marker of obesity and type 2 diabetes in recent years, an increasing number of studies have surfaced implicating BCAAs in the pathophysiology of other diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Here we discuss the most recent progress and review studies highlighting both correlational and potentially causative role of BCAAs in the development of these disorders. Although we are just beginning to understand the intricate relationships between BCAAs and some of the most prevalent chronic diseases, current findings raise a possibility that they are linked by a similar putative mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-246
Number of pages13
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Cancers
  • Heart failure
  • Metabolism


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