Branched-Chain Amino Acid Treatment in ABI patients

Author/Year/ Country/Study design/PEDro Score/ N





Aquilani et al (2005)

Population: TBI; Mean Age=32yr; Gender: Male=40, Female=0; Mean GCS=5.9.
Treatment: Patients were randomized to receive either 19.6g/d IV BCAA supplementation (n=20) or an iso-nitrogenous placebo (n=20) over a period of 15 d. A group of healthy patients (n=20) matched for age, sex and sedentary lifestyle served as controls for the study.
Outcome Measure: Disability Rating Scale (DRS), plasma concentration of BCAAs: tyrosine and tryptophan.

  1. At 15 d post admission, DRS scores significantly improved in TBI patients compared with the control group (p<0.02); improvement was greater in the BCAA group than in the placebo group (p<0.004).
  2. 15 d after admission only patients given BCAA supplementation significantly improved their baseline total BCAAs, including leucine (p<0.01), isoleucine (p<0.02) and valine (p<0.001).
  3. Level of plasma tyrosine significantly improved in the BCAA group (p<0.01) but remained lower than in health controls.
  4. Plasma tryptophan concentration was higher in patients on placebo than treatment (p<0.01).
  5. Nutritional intake and nitrogen balance tended to be higher in patients on placebo than in the BCAA group, but the difference was not significant.

PEDro = Physiotherapy Evidence Database rating scale score (Moseley et al., 2002).