Plaintiff Jon Seiger bought Force Factor Pure BCAA because it was advertised as helping to build muscle. Unfortunately, the complaint for this class action claims that it may actually cause a loss of muscle.
The class for this action is all persons in the US who bought Force Factor Pure BCAA.
BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are believed by some to create an anabolic state in muscles. An anabolic state exists when the rate of muscle protein synthesis exceeds the rate or muscle protein breakdown. (Its opposite is called a catabolic state.)
The front label of Force Factor, LLC’s Pure BCAA product promises that it will “build and repair muscle,” “reduce fatigue,” and “improve endurance.” Elsewhere on the label, it says, “Pure BCAA will help your body synthesize new muscle proteins and repair damaged ones for real lean muscle gains. … Pure BCAA is designed to activate protein fusion by flooding your muscles with essential aminos.”
Muscle protein is composed of twenty amino acids. Nine are “essential” amino acids. They are called “essential” because the body must take them in via diet, because it cannot make them by itself. And while the product does contain essential amino acids, the complaint says, it only has three of them.
The complaint leans heavily on the work of Dr. Robert Wolfe, an authority on amino acids and muscle metabolism. The complaint says he “has published 452 peer-reviewed research articles, 126 review articles, and three books. His papers have been cited 50,663 times.”
Dr. Wolfe published a paper in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition with the title “Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?” After reviewing both theoretical concepts and empirical research on the subject, Dr. Wolfe found that “the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.”
To create an anabolic state, Dr. Wolfe says, requires plenty of all nine essential amino acids. When some of the essential amino acids (EAAs) are missing, the complaint says, “the only source of EAA precursors for muscle protein synthesis are those derived from muscle breakdown…” The complaint quotes Dr. Wolfe as saying that “it is impossible for muscle protein synthesis to exceed the rate of muscle protein breakdown when the precursors are derived entirely from protein breakdown, and thus an anabolic state cannot occur in the absence of exogenous amino acid intake.”
Dr. Wolfe later concludes, “In fact, available evidence indicates that BCAAs actually decrease muscle protein synthesis.”
The complaint also briefly quotes three other expert sources that agree that BCAAs do not increase muscle synthesis.
The complaint claims that the company has committed deceptive acts or practices, false advertising, and breaches of warranties, among other things.