Martin Young, D.Phil., professor with the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease

A new study published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers shows that an increase in the consumption of branch chain amino acids later in the day could result in a negative effect on cardiovascular health.

Using animal models, findings suggest that consuming BCAAs at the end of the active period —— dinner time — caused a dramatic growth of the heart, resulting in a 75 percent increase in cardiomyocyte size in four hours. The high consumption of BCAAs also worsened heart disease progression.

Martin Young, D.Phil., professor with the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease, has devoted much of his career studying the effects of circadian rhythms on heart health, and was surprised by the findings.

“Our study is the first to show such a dramatic growth of mammalian heart cells following a single meal,” Young said. “This study highlights an interaction between heart health and behaviors, and in this case, the behavior being what time of the day we should be eating certain nutrients.”

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