Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are the building blocks for protein and muscle.
We can get them from the foods we eat (Meat, dairy, nuts, seeds) but they also come in supplement form which is a preferred and popular method of consumption for many people who are active.
Now, there are three branched-chain amino acids among the nine essential amino acids. These essential nutrients include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. And the name “Branched-chain” comes from its chemical structure… (1)
But, besides the exercise-related benefits of taking BCAAs; they are also used for the treatment of liver issues, anorexia, mania, and muscle preservation. (2)
However, let’s focus on the benefits you can get in the gym and during any intense exercise sessions like muscle growth, reduced fatigue, recovery, etc. And then we’ll get into the 7 BCAA products we think you’d really like and which are definite crowd favorites…
Best Overall – Scivation Xtend BCAA Powder
An overall great product needs to have good quality ingredients at a good price point.
The powder is sugar and carbohydrate-free and has zero calories per serving. Xtend also contains 3.5 g leucine, 2.5g of L-glutamine, and electrolytes for hydration.
Studies show that leucine and glutamine increase the rate of recovery when co-ingested and this means you can build muscle and make gains that much quicker. (9)
But, if you don’t like artificial sweeteners like Sucralose and acesulfame potassium then you might want to look elsewhere.
Price: $20-24 for 30 servings
Best Capsules – Natura BCAA Capsules
Mixing the powder and drinking a glass full of BCAAs isn’t appealing to everyone (Even if the taste is bearable).
Natura offers a 2:1:1 ratio between L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine and the Natura caps are NSF and GMP certified while manufactured in an FDA registered facility. Plus, they offer a “365 Day “You Must Be Thrilled!” Guarantee”!
So, if you aren’t thrilled with these caps, you’ll get your money back or another product in exchange.
Price: $20 for 30 servings
Best For Mass Building – Betancourt Nutrition Plus Series BCAA
This BCAA product has a 4:1:1 ratio of BCAA’s per serving which supplies more leucine per serving and we already know it’s a very important component for protein synthesis as mentioned previously.
You’ll also get electrolytes and Sustamine for adequate hydration so you can keep on performing.
Electrolytes are minerals which balance water, drive nutrients to cells, and support heart, muscle, and nerve function… so, the more the better! (10)
Betancourt is a great brand with good quality supplements so you can never go wrong with this product!
Price: $30 and under for 30 servings
Best For Aerobic Activity – ProSupps HydroBCAA BCAA/EAA Full Spectrum Matrix
Each serving of HydroBCAA has 7g BCAA + 3g EAA with zero sugar, zero carbs, no artificial colors or flavors.
So, if you’re health-conscious then this is a great BCAA option. But, consuming healthy, energy-supplying ingredients without a lot of the fake stuff will ensure long-lasting activity.
There’s a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so if you’re not happy then no worries.
Price: $23 for 30 servings
Best For The Money – MuscleTech Myobuild BCAA
We always need an option that’s affordable and high quality. And Myobuild is just that.
It’s a wallet-friendly option and it works very well for its intended purpose. This product has a 4:1:1 ratio of BCAAs, but it also contains Betaine which is an effective muscle-building compound.
In fact, Betaine significantly increased arm and thigh size in a study comparing users to a placebo group. But, it also improved power as well. (11)
Now, Myobuild also includes the non-essential amino acid taurine which plays a role in maintaining cellular function in the Central Nervous System, heart, and muscles. (12)
Then, take into consideration the added electrolytes and you have a powerful, muscle-promoting BCAA supplement.
Price: $16 for 36 servings
Best For Women/Weight Management – Raw Synergies Amino Slim Vegan BCAAs & Weight Management
Amino Slim was our choice for women whose focus is weight management.
Now, it’s not that men don’t want to be slim (Because some really do). But, it’s a generally a preconceived notion that most women want to look trim and sexy (Nothing wrong with this at all).
And to accomplish this you need a product with more than just BCAAs (Although effective on their own).
Amino Slim contains fermented BCAAs and glutamine but the secret ingredients here are ksm-66 ashwagandha & satiereal saffron.
Ashwagandha is a powerhouse of a compound. It’s one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda (Traditional Indian medicine) and has a wide range of health benefits, from its antioxidant properties, to stress relief, and positive effects on mental health. (15)
These benefits have a big effect on weight loss by also reducing stressful cortisol hormones. (15)
Satiereal saffron has similar effects on weight loss and when paired with the Ashwagandha, well… you have some real fat loss ammunition. (16)
Amino Slim is also caffeine-free if this is something you look for in a BCAA supplement.
Price: $24 for 20 servings
Best All Natural – Gnarly BCAA Workout Supplement
Gnarly is a vegan, all-natural product which combines high quality, plant-derived, fermented BCAAs and there are no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. So, there’s nothing you don’t want in this BCAA supplement and everything you do!
There’s 5g of BCAAs in a serving, with a 2:1:1 ratio which provides a sufficient amount of healthy, effective ingredients.
But, for the person who loves all-natural, this product is an ideal choice.
Price: $37 for 30 servings
Speaking in terms that we fitness lovers can all understand… BCAAs are used to aid in muscle growth (protein synthesis), performance, exercise recovery, muscle wasting, and even exercise-induced fatigue.
Muscle growth/Protein Metabolism – There is evidence to support the positive effects of BCAAs for protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation in resting muscle cells. (3)
But, leucine is especially important because it helps to coordinate protein synthesis, resulting in more muscle growth. And studies also show BCAA consumption after exercise to be beneficial as well. (4, 5)
Performance – Research has shown BCAA’s to have an anabolic effect during the recovery phase of endurance type exercise. (3)
But, a study on psychomotor performance concluded that BCAAs might also be a helpful aid during activities which require changes in intensity like sports for instance. (6)
Muscle Wasting – Taking BCAAs before and after exercise reduces muscle damage and this is a big benefit for people who play sports and exercise on a normal basis. (7)
Recovery – Although there is not sufficient evidence to support the role of BCAA’s in recovery from weight training, the protein synthesis and muscle wasting benefits lead us to believe they help with recovery.
Fatigue – BCAA intake has been shown to lower concentrations of fatigue substances like serotonin. This has a direct impact on exercise-induced fatigue, energy and muscle damage substances as well. (8)
A good BCAA supplement can improve your performance and health overall.
But, you don’t want just any supplement because quality does matter and you can rest assured we made our selections based on overall value.
So, make sure to choose a product which you think will best suit you and your budget because you absolutely can get results and not break the bank.
And these 7 BCAA supplements are a great place to start your BCAA journey if you’ve not started already…