Background: Diabetes is a chronic condition; those with diabetes are at high risk for developing diabetes complications. One important approach to tackle the diabetes burden is to screen for undiagnosed diabetes and to identify factors that lead to the risk for developing diabetes in the future. The earlier identification of individuals at risk of developing diabetes is crucial for delaying or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that circulating concentrations of branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) predict the risk for developing diabetes; thus, contributing to recent resurgence of interest in these common analytes.
Objective: The present review aimed to address the recent findings regarding BCAAs and their role in insulin resistance and diabetes.
Discussion: Recent studies demonstrate that BCAAs are strongly associated with a number of pathological mechanisms causing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Conclusion: The research findings related to BCAA signaling pathways and metabolism broaden our understanding of this topic. However, it remains unclear how increased levels of BCAAs will assist in the prediction of future insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Future research needs to determine whether BCAAs are a causative factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, or just a biomarker of impaired insulin action.