Taking on any new fitness routine requires the right balance of nutrients. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are necessary to the health of the muscles to improve strength, promote better recovery, and stimulate weight loss. Users can take this nutrient at any point of their workout to repair the muscle tissue rapidly, giving them better gains than ever before.
The use of BCAAs is entirely safe, and scientific evidence supports it. The amino acids are crucial to building protein, used in muscle rebuilding.
Not every supplement offers the same support as effective as this nutrient is. Some companies don’t provide a high enough dose to make a difference, while others don’t give the right kind of BCAAs. In this guide, consumers will learn about the different options on the market and which ones make the grade.
The Top BCAA Supplements
Since every supplement has its claims, this guide dwindled all of the products available today to show the top supplements for BCAAs on the market. The products chosen for this guide include:
- Performance Labs BCAA
- XWerks Motion
- Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA
- Cellucor BCAA Sport
- Perfect Aminos
- Genesis Gold
- Transparent Labs.com BCAA Glutamine
- Essential BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
- MTN Ops BCAA
- IdealFit IdealLean BCAAs
- Beast Sports Aminolytes
- Huge Supplements BCAA
- Max Gains Promolex
- Genius BCAA Powder
- EHP Labs Beyond BCAA + EAA
- Naked BCAAs
Read on below to learn about what each of these products offers.
Performance Labs BCAA
Performance Labs BCAA comes from a company with an incredible reputation, offering muscle enhancement and performance support. BCAAs in this formula improve the user’s strength and increase endurance. In doing so, they prevent muscles from breaking down during workouts to get the most out of these growth sessions.
With the “ultramodern BCAA 2X” formula, users get a 2:1:1 ratio of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. Rather than leaving them in their current state, the resulting formula is Ajipure, using a fermentation process that makes the BCAAs easier to absorb.
Users will need between two and four capsules for each serving. The company recommends using them about 45-60 minutes before they begin their workout, but they should also follow the session with an additional 2-4 capsules. If the training is particularly intense, users can take another 2-4 pills during the routine.
Xwerks Motion isn’t just a formula for individuals that want to include more BCAAs in their routine. It also contains carbohydrates and electrolytes to act as a pre-workout booster, helping to improve performance as users gear up for their training session.
Each bag contains 50 servings of the formula, and each serving contains 3 grams of BCAAs and 25 grams of carbohydrates. Essentially, it offers an energy boost that lasts through an entire workout. It provides a specific type of carb called branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD) that maximizes this energy.
This formula is beneficial to individuals that engage in intense workouts or professional-level events. All ingredients are highly bioavailable, and users can choose from either raspberry lemonade or grape flavor.
Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA
Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA is a trendy formula for BCAAs, and they’ve been in the supplement business for over 20 years. The brand offers 10 grams of BCAAs in their supplement to help users improve their hydration and recovery after a routine. Plus, they provide several unique flavors (including Icy Blue Razz) to make the remedy more enjoyable for users.
Along with the basic BCAAs, users get a combined total of 14 amino acids that help form muscles, protein synthesis, and overall performance.
Cellucor BCAA Sport
Cellucor secures a second spot on this list with their BCAA Sport formula, helping users to remain hydrated all day long as they recover. Cellucor BCAA Sport is NSF certified with no banned ingredients to ensure athletes trust what’s inside.
The formula is a combination of a 2:1:1 BCAA blend (4,000 mg), other amino acids (2,250 mg), and glutamine (2,000 mg). Users only need one scoop of the formula per serving.
Rather than offering users another powder, Perfect Amino is condensed into a tablet with eight essential amino acids for the muscles. The amino acids include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Users will get a heavy amount of the proprietary blend within each serving, which means that users won’t know the exact measurement of any of the ingredients used.
Genesis Gold tops the list as the most expensive formula, supporting the hypothalamus and natural hormones. Every scoop gives the user 12 grams of an exclusive proprietary blend with 7 out of 20 amino acids. It also provides users with a mix of herbal extracts, probiotics, mushroom extracts, and plant extracts.
This formula is entirely organic, and it regulates the body’s natural chemistry to improve sleep and enhance the effects of a workout.
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
Transparent Labs’ BCAA Glutamine focuses on the growth and recovery of the muscles, which is why it provides a heightened amount of BCAAs compared to other products on this list. The BCAAs are entirely vegan, and they include L-glutamine and coconut water to make the formula even more effective.
Users that like a bit of variety will be happy to learn that there are more flavor options than many other supplements provide. The flavors include green apple, orange, blue raspberry, strawberry lemonade, and tropical punch. Consumers can promote better glucose metabolism, protein synthesis, less fatigue, immunity, and better muscle growth after a workout daily.
Essential BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
Essential BCAA 2:1:1 Powder comes from the MyProtein brand, and it doesn’t mess around. The whole point of this formula is to get an effective balance of leucine, isoleucine, and valine in a 2:1:1 ratio. The three BCAAs make it possible to recover quickly from workouts and improve muscle protein synthesis, which is the focus of most other products on this list.
Users need to take a scoop for each serving. However, they may need to take it up to four times a day to get the desired results. With the option of an unflavored snow cone, cold brew coffee, gummy fish, or blue raspberry, users can combine the remedy in any drink for much-needed support.
MTN Ops BCAA
MTN Ops BCAA is meant to work rapidly to improve the recovery of muscles after a workout. The formula meets all of the criteria for a helpful BCAA supplement with a balanced leucine, isoleucine, and valine ratio. Users will get 11 grams of the formula in each serving, and the tub contains enough for 30 servings.
Users can choose from several flavors, including citrus bliss, strawberry dragon fruit, green apple, and tropical punch.
IdealFit IdealLean BCAAs
While women can take the same BCAAs that men do, the IdealFit IdealLean BCAAs supplement supports weight loss, muscle growth, and other benefits. Users get a total of 7 grams of amino acids, helping with recovery after workouts.
The formula contains coconut water, green tea extract, and ThermoDiamine to improve fat loss. It also offers L-citrulline and L-glutamine.
Beast Sports Aminolytes
Aminolytes from Beast Sports helps users to replenish the electrolytes that they lose with each workout. It also improves protein synthesis when training is over to promote better muscle recovery. Users get a total of 10 grams of amino acids in each serving, though only half of that amount is BCAAs. Available in either watermelon or pineapple flavors, users can get a 30-serving bag.
Huge Supplements BCAA
Huge BCAA has an incredible amount of BCAAs – 8,000 mg – in every serving, making it one of the largest serving sizes in this guide. With 15 grams of amino acids, users also get coconut water’s hydration. With L-glutamine, users will find that the recovery process and protein synthesis is relatively easy. Consumers can choose from kiwi blueberry and bomb popsicle flavors.
Max Gains Promolex
Promolex from Max Gains offers all of the BCAA support within a capsule, helping users improve their muscle mass development. Users need to take five pills each day before bed to get the full boost. The company recommends swallowing the capsules with a glass of water, helping the body heal while in a state of rest.
Along with the 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, users also get the support of L-glutamine. Notably, the amount of BCAAs found in this formula is one of the lowest on this list, but it is much more convenient for users that don’t have time to prepare a drink from powder.
Best BCAA Supplements on Amazon
As beneficial as all of the products above might be, the only way that users can purchase any of them is through the official website. Users can also shop online at Amazon to find the best BCAA supplements with Prime shipping benefits.
Genius BCAA Powder
With the BCAA Powder from Genius, consumers support their muscle development and mental strength. It already has hundreds of positive reviews, helping with users’ physical and mental needs with proteins.
In every scoop, users will get L-glutamine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, citrulline malate, L-tyrosine, taurine, citicoline, Rhodiola Rosea, and caffeine. It offers dual roles as a BCAA supplement and a nootropic blend.
EHP Labs Beyond BCAA + EAA
Beyond BCAA from EHP Labs focuses on endurance and recovery, using a blend of essential amino acids and BCAAs. Unlike other products on this list, the creators claim that this formula helps users support their nervous systems.
Users get 10 grams of essential amino acids in each of their servings. However, they also get tyrosine and huperzine A in a nootropic blend in each serving. Users can choose various flavors, including peach candy ring, mandarin twist, and grape candy lollipop.
Naked BCAAs is a relatively straightforward supplement offering BCAAs from a natural and vegan source. It promotes fast absorption, including a 2:1:1 ratio for leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
This formula has the best value for the price it offers, which is relatively close to the other products.
NSP Nutrition Advanced Aminos 1000
Advanced Amino Acids 1000 by Vince Gironda’s NSP Nutrition provides users with essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids, all derived from egg whites. The whole purpose of this formula is to improve the user’s muscle size and strength, but it also promotes better recovery after training.
The additional ingredients offered keep the user’s appetite under control, which means they aren’t filling their body with calories that will only add fat to their body.
How to Rank the Top BCAA Supplements
These BCAA supplements tend to offer the same thing for consumers who aren’t sure what they’re looking for. Many of the ingredients are identical, though not all offer the full range of amino acids. With a closer look, it’s easy to see that some BCAA supplements just don’t measure up against others.
The criteria considered included:
The majority of these formulas offer between 5g and 15g of BCAAs per serving. Supplements that had less than this amount were not included in the guide.
The top products on the market have a specific ratio – two parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine, and 1 part valine. The supplements that may not want to spend as much have as high as ten parts leucine without changing anything else. Having a 2:1:1 ratio is crucial to the positive effects that BCAA supplements have on the body.
Mixability, Flavor, & Texture
As with any powdered supplement, some formulas are difficult to blend with water. Other formulas simply taste terrible. No one wants to take a formula they have to choke down, which is why these factors were considered while creating the guide.
Types of BCAAs
Every supplement providing BCAAs contains isoleucine, leucine, and valine. The formula is unsuitable for consumers and this list if it doesn’t.
BCAA supplement companies have been in business for years, but new companies know what they’re doing. Brands that had a reputation for high-quality remedies earned a place on this.
Honest Advertised Benefits
Anyone who uses a BCAA supplement knows that it can support the user’s need to build muscle mass and lose weight. However, there are limits. It can’t trigger gaining 10 lbs. of muscle, and it won’t force the user to sprout a six-pack in one night. The brand had to show that they are honest about what they can do for a place here.
Price & Value
No matter what kind of product someone purchases, the remedy needs to offer a price that matches its worth. Some people want to spend $100 to ensure that they get a good product, which means they must check that value.
BCAAs alone are enough to support the user when building up muscle mass. Complementary ingredients like coconut water and essential amino acids positively affect the recovery process.
What Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?
Branched-chain amino acids are a relatively small category that includes leucine, isoleucine, and valine. This amino acid has a branched chain of one carbon atom, bound to three carbon atoms.
In total, the body needs 20 different amino acids. Three amino acids are BCAAs, while nine are essential amino acids.
How Do BCAAs Work?
Consumers use BCAAs as a way to promote muscle growth and repair. They are essential to this process because the muscles use those amino acids to rebuild them after being damaged through physical exertion. The use of leucine is crucial, though valine and isoleucine have their parts to play.
BCAAs offer a safe and proven way to reach those goals whenever someone decides to improve their muscle mass or lose weight.
When to Take BCAAs
The beauty of branched-chain amino acids is that customers can use them multiple times around a workout. Some people choose to use them as a pre-workout formula, while other people use them during the exercise or just after it. When it comes down to it, users can take BCAAs at any time of their routine to give them the support their muscles need.
As a pre-workout, BCAAs increase energy levels and reduce how the proteins in muscles break down while the body is in motion. As a post-workout, it promotes better protein synthesis of the muscles, allowing them to form new muscles and heal after a workout. BCAAs can push users towards the end of their training when used during an exercise.
When used at any other time, users need to keep up with an active lifestyle to get the best BCAAs offered.
Types of BCAAs
There are three different types of BCAAs, and they account for three of the nine essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Leucine is considered an essential BCAAs because it increases energy levels. Current research suggests it helps keep the user’s blood sugar levels stable, rather than rising or falling unsafely. Plus, it helps with the formation of muscles and protein synthesis.
Isoleucine isn’t made by the body, much like the other essential amino acids that humans need. When an individual consumes isoleucine with fat or carbohydrates, it increases the body’s ability to burn fat for weight loss.
The third branched-chain amino acid, valine, helps the muscles get the extra glucose needed to maintain energy levels. Apart from the benefits for the muscles, using valine allows users to improve their immunity and brain function, which are not known effects of the other two BCAAs.
Benefits of BCAA Supplements
BCAA supplements are not the same as protein powders or pre-workouts, though these formulas may include BCAAs for these benefits.
The primary benefits of BCAAs include:
- Building muscle
- Increasing endurance
- Burning fat
- Reducing soreness of muscles
Building muscle is a top priority for anyone who uses a BCAA supplement, especially since BCAAs make the protein needed for muscles. BCAAs are a catalyst for new proteins, providing nutrients that repair muscle tissue for improved strength. Users need to get all types of amino acids to make a difference, but BCAAs, in particular, are necessary for each workout.
Working out takes endurance, and BCAAs make it easier to achieve this feat. With regular use, the energy that users get from BCAAs reduces fatigue and helps users to keep pushing through the end of a workout. Users can take BCAAs during this routine to help with physical endurance, though they are also quite helpful for anyone who needs better mental acuity and alertness during their day.
Consumers that want to shed extra weight could also find what they need in BCAAs. Leucine is particularly helpful with weight loss, but all three amino acids can do their part. Experts agree that combining BCAAs with glutamine can help users maximize the fat they lose while working out.
Once a workout is over, soreness starts to settle in. This effect is natural and normal, but BCAAs can help reduce muscle soreness during intense workouts.
Apart from these primary benefits, research indicates that the use of BCAAs helps users improve their immunity, reduce soreness during a workout, and keep blood sugar levels within a normal range.
The Science Behind BCAAs
Branched-chain amino acids have been studied for years with consistent results. Based on the research currently available, these supplements are often used to help consumers with muscle growth, endurance, soreness, and other vital factors in muscle development.
In 2006, a study focused on activating certain enzymes after users participated in physical exercise. The researchers confirmed that BCAAs play an important role in muscle and protein synthesis. BCAAs helped with protein synthesis, but they also reduced how quickly the protein degraded in the muscles, stimulating an anabolic effect.
A study in 2012 discovered that the use of BCAA supplements helped men reduce the damage that they sustained from exercising. The men involved with this study worked out with resistance training, and the researchers provided either a placebo or a BCAA supplement to them. If participants took the supplement both before and after the workout, soreness significantly improved. Plus, the use of this nutrient helps users to grow additional muscle tissue and promotes repairs. This healing was further supported in a 2018 study in Nutrients, noting that BCAA supplements specifically helped the participating males to have minor soreness after their workout.
Apart from the benefits to the muscles, BCAA supplements are also used by individuals who promote better blood sugar levels. Studies indicate that their effect on glucose levels positively impacts the user’s energy and ability to control their food cravings. In 2003, researchers tested this theory, finding that the use of BCAAs stimulated the glucose intake of skeletal muscle cells. Consumers can push themselves even further during a workout for better results with regulated energy levels.
Nourishing the body’s need for blood sugar support and muscle development are two keys to promoting weight loss. In 2007, a study on regulating glucose revealed that BCAA use helped burn through fat for energy, even in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
One of the most significant risks during weight loss is that many people experience muscle wasting, losing their muscle mass while they get in shape. BCAAs defend against this problem, making it highly beneficial to older consumers. Elderly individuals and people with specific diseases may use BCAAs to help with their quality of life. The effect is so strong that a 2007 study demonstrated improvements in muscle atrophy for cancer patients.
Including BCAAs in the diet improves the immune system as well. Researchers initiated a study in 2006 to show that BCAAs were necessary to synthesize protein, RNA, and DNA via lymphocytes, helping to fight back against infection. These compounds can help users who are currently fighting disease or illness return to good health. This should come as no surprise because these supplements also reduce fatigue for longer-lasting workout routines. More specifically, a study on the effects on the liver discovered that users reduced their symptoms associated with a common liver disease called hepatic encephalopathy. Unfortunately, the study made no correlation between BCAA use and mortality due to these conditions.
Along with relief from physical fatigue, a study in 2007 confirmed that using BCAAs could also help with mental fatigue. Consuming BCAAs triggered hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline when the user worked out, giving them more satisfaction from their workout plan.
As helpful as BCAAs are for the body, some studies indicate that these supplements may not be more effective than other remedies. One group of researchers stated that using a solid dose of protein had the same impact on muscle soreness. A study in 2017 further said that the claims made by BCAA supplement companies had no basis at all.
BCAA Supplement Dosage
The total amount of BCAAs that users need to take will entirely depend on the user’s routine. Individuals that use BCAAs as a pre-workout remedy will not need the same dose as someone who takes it as a post-workout.
If the user includes it as a pre-workout, their serving size will be about 6-10 grams of BCAAs. Post-workout dosages range from 10-15 grams. For consumers that want to include it as a general part of their routine for a non-workout day or just to support their muscle’s daily needs, the dose should be 5-10 grams.
The average dose of BCAA supplements is 5-8 grams per serving. Users should always follow the directions provided on their product’s label to get the best performance.
BCAA Supplement Side Effects
Before taking any supplement, users should know the risks. While herbal supplements and synthetic ingredients can pose a threat, BCAAs are already necessary for the body. Any healthy adult who uses a supplement should have no problems at all.
If an individual exceeds what they should consume, they might go through headaches, dizziness, nausea, or discomfort in their stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions About BCAA Supplements
Q: What are the best foods for BCAAs?
A: BCAAs are easy to get from the food that consumers eat. The best sources include chicken, canned tuna, eggs, wild-caught salmon, cottage cheese, quinoa, milk, beef, and lentils.
Q: Can women take BCAAs?
A: Yes. BCAAs are necessary for everyone, helping with recovery after workouts and fat loss. It promotes muscle growth for any gender and improves recovery after training. Neither women nor men experience side effects with the proper use of BCAAs.
Q: What’s the difference between BCAAs and protein powders?
A: A protein powder typically offers the user at least one type of protein, while BCAA supplements provide the user with the building blocks of protein. Both powders help users recover better and alleviate soreness, but the body uses them at different points during muscle protein synthesis.
Q: What are BCAAs?
A: BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids, and the human body cannot produce them independently. They are unique from other amino acids because they have one carbon branch.
Q: How do BCAAs work?
A: BCAAs help with muscle protein synthesis, providing the building blocks of protein.
Q: Why are BCAAs important?
A: While the body can make branched-chain amino acids, certain amino acids are essential but can only be included with the right dietary changes.
Q: How do I get BCAAs?
A: Keeping a balanced diet is the easiest way to get all of the amino acids that the body needs. However, the use of supplements can also help users to get BCAAs as required.
Q: What do BCAAs do?
A: BCAAs help the user build protein for the muscles, and they make up about 40% of the essential amino acids that the body retains. In fact, of every muscle cell, about 15% are made directly from BCAAs.
Q: What are the side effects of BCAAs?
A: Since the body needs BCAAs in the first place, most healthy adults never experience side effects from their use. Consuming more than the recommended amount of BCAAs can cause users to deal with nausea, headaches, indigestion, and other side effects.
Q: What are the dangers of BCAAs?
A: Though some remedies may come with a long list of dangers and warnings, BCAAs don’t. The only way healthy adults should experience any dangerous effects is by overconsuming BCAAs, but the side effects would still be mild.
Q: Should you take BCAAs every day?
A: Yes. Up to 20g of BCAAs daily are entirely safe, and users won’t likely experience any side effects. However, users that only take BCAAs on an intermittent basis can also see a degree of improvement.
Q: How long should I wait after taking BCAAs before eating?
A: Users should give themselves a 45-60-minute window after consuming a BCAA supplement to eat a meal.
Q: Do BCAAs affect sleep?
A: Yes, but in a positive way. For the most part, BCAAs won’t impact the user’s sleep at all, but some remedies help users sleep better. The only way that a BCAA supplement may adversely affect rest is if the formula offers caffeine.
Q: Do BCAAs do anything?
A: For most people, yes. These amino acids have been studied for decades to demonstrate their use and benefits. They reduce soreness and support the building of muscle.
Q: Are BCAAs bad for my kidneys?
A: For the most part, BCAAs have no adverse effects. However, in one study, it appeared that BCAAs possibly interfered with kidney function.
Q: Will BCAAs lead to weight gain?
A: No. More often than not, BCAA supplements reduce the user’s weight.
Q: How long does it take to see results from BCAAs?
A: Users will feel the results long before they see them, experiencing improvements in their workout on the day of their first use. They’ll likely feel minor muscle soreness after their training when they start taking this supplement.
Q: Do users need BCAAs if they already take protein?
A: These two types of supplements are much different from one another. A protein powder may offer all of the nine essential amino acids. However, BCAA supplements typically only offer three of those nine amino acids.
Q: Can users take BCAAs while working out?
A: Absolutely. The best time to take these supplements is before or during a workout, helping the user reduce their fatigue while improving endurance.
Q: Can users take BCAAs on an empty stomach?
A: To reduce the risk of nausea and maximize the likelihood of complete absorption, most companies advise users to take BCAAs while their stomach is still empty.
Q: Do BCAAs help with hydration?
A: No. On their own, a BCAA supplement will not likely benefit or hurt a user’s hydration. However, the complementary ingredients in a formula may help with hydration during a workout.
Q: Do BCAAs burn belly fat?
A: Yes. This formula won’t help the body purge excess fat without other changes. However, users must engage in a diet and exercise regimen to affect weight loss.
Q: Are BCAAs worth it?
A: Ultimately, using a BCAA supplement won’t benefit every person. If the user already has a lot of high-quality protein in their diet, they may not even need a supplement. Still, many users include BCAAs to reduce their soreness and improve lean muscle mass after their routine.
Q: What’s the difference between BCAAs and creatine?
A: These two substances are prevalent amongst fitness enthusiasts that want to support themselves during pre-workout and post-workout routines. While creatine helps users get more energy for intense exercise, BCAAs focus on protein synthesis.
Q: Is it okay to take BCAAs before bed?
A: Yes. BCAAs can be taken at any time of day, as long as the supplement doesn’t include caffeine.
The Top BCAA Supplements Final Thoughts
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help users improve protein synthesis and muscle mass by reducing soreness and fatigue. The best remedies offer a precise 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, helping users lose weight and effectively improve their bodies. Users need to include exercise and a healthy diet with BCAAs to make a difference in their bodies, but they are perfect for individuals who need a little support in their fitness routine. Try one of the best BCAA supplements on our list today!
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