Best BCAA Supplements: Top 10 BCAA Brands Reviewed

Best BCAA Supplements

The abbreviation BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acid) is a combination of three amino acids with a branched molecular structure. The 3 amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Together with other 6 amino acids, BCAAs are included in the group of essential i.e. indispensable molecules.

It is interesting to know that almost 35% of the composition of the essential amino acids in the human muscle proteins is namely leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAA supplementation is considered to be an interesting strategy in diets for improving protein balance in skeletal muscle in a number of conditions.

BCAA improves the increase of muscle mass and concomitant fat loss - when taken in addition to whey protein, according to an 8-week study in-training schemes in the spectrum of strength endurance and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Now it is time to pay some attention to a particular supplement, used by many generations that have grown up practicing it. We can consider BCAAs as gold class supplements because of the complete research on them and generations of experience on their use. Moreover, they are anyway present in our food even if you don’t take them as a supplement. Modern researches present a new look at their effectiveness. 

Which is the truth? – are BCAAs just showmanship or do they deserve their justified glory? Is it true that they promote growth beyond hormonal stimulation? Are they safe? We will answer all these questions in our article in the most impartial and scientific approach possible.

Top 10 BCAAs Supplements Reviewed

BCAA Complex 5050

by Dymatize

Dymatize All9 Amino, 7.2g of BCAAs, 10g of Full Spectrum Essential Amino Acids Per Serving for Recovery and Optimal Muscle Protein Synthesis, Fruit Fusion Rush, 30 Servings

Dymatize Nutrition BCAA Complex 5050 Overview

Dymatize BCAA Complex 5050 is powdered unflavored, branched-chain amino acids:

  • Supports muscle protein synthesis;
  • 2:1:1 "muscle ratio;"
  • Ultra-pure and unflavored;
  • Dietary supplement.

What Is Dymatize BCAA Complex 5050

Dymatize BCAA Complex 5050 is a completely standard BCAA product, each serving containing 5 grams of the three amino acids - L-Valine, L-Leucine, and L-Isoleucine.

BCAA products are among the main supplements for the most serious and advanced athletes. They assist with workout recovery and stimulate muscle growth.

Usage

Take 1-2 servings (1-2 teaspoons) (the product is without a scoop) near the time of your workout. In the event that you drink a protein shake after your workout, take BCAA supplements Complex 5050 before training. Otherwise, you can drink a dose before, and dose after training.

On non-training days, you don’t need to take the product, but if you decide to - the appropriate time is in the morning after getting up from sleep or during the day between meals.

Essentials BCAA

by MusclePharm

MP Essentials BCAA Powder, 6 Grams of BCAA Amino Acids, Post-Workout Recovery Drink for Muscle Recovery and Muscle Building, Valine Powder, BCCA Post-Workout, Fruit Punch, 60 Servings

What Is MusclePharm BCAA

MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 provides:

  • An equal amount of leucine in comparison to the other two amino acids;
  • More valine for boosting of the recovery processes;
  • Regulation of the muscle breakdown;
  • Increased building of muscle mass;

With this formula, the amino acids get excreted both before and after the exercise. BCAA 3:1:2 minimizes muscle damage and loss of weight while increasing the lean muscle mass.

How This Product Will Help Me

Three of the essential amino acids have the structure of a branched-chain and are known by the acronym BCAAs (branched-chain-amino-acids).

They are valine, isoleucine, and leucine. They account for about 35% of the proteins that make up the human muscles. This fact makes these three amino acids of particular interest to all who train hard and strive to shape their bodies.

The intake of BCAAs supplements with food covers the most vital needs of the body and is often necessary in cases of exhaustion and diseases. If you seek a rapid increase in your muscles, you simply cannot go without the additional intake of branched-chain amino acids.

MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 are BCAAs in a unique proportion for better recovery and muscle mass increase. MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 are the only branched-chain amino acids on the market in a ratio of 3:1:2.

Their highly specialized formula aims to improve the recovery and the anabolic processes with the right amount of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Suggested Use

Consume 1 serving one to three times daily. For optimal use, take between meals, 30-45 minutes before workouts, and/or immediately after workouts. BCAA 3:1:2 is a suitable product for getting lean muscle mass, relief, and burning fat.

What Is NOW Foods BCAA

NOW Foods BCAA contains the so-called branched-chain amino acids. They give assistance to the recovery, stimulate muscle growth and reduce muscle fatigue.

NOW Foods BCAA contains the so-called BCAA (branched-chain amino acids). They are also called "muscle amino acids" because they represent 35% of the essential amino acids in the muscle proteins.

What Is the Purpose of BCAA

The branched-chain amino acid supplements have been proven to be a good assistant for the achievement of the training objectives.

  • Improve muscle mass gain by stimulating protein synthesis.
  • Reduce muscle fatigue, especially during long and aerobic workouts.
  • Serve as muscle fuel during long and grueling workouts.

What Does This Mean In Practice

BCAA supplements are among the most widely used supplements by athletes of all disciplines. If your workouts are intense, long and exhausting, NOW Foods BCAA can reduce muscle fatigue and give you the opportunity to train a little harder.

Taken after training, BCAAs will help you increase your muscle mass by stimulating the protein synthesis in the muscles. If you are on a low-calorie diet or train on an empty stomach, BCAAs are a great way to keep the muscles that you have built with so much effort.

Suggested Use

As a dietary supplement, take 1-2 level teaspoons 1 to 3 times daily in juice, water, or your favorite beverage. 

BCAA 5000

by Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Powder, Unflavored, Keto Friendly Branched Chain Essential Amino Acids Powder, 5000mg, 60 Servings, 12.16 Ounce

Optimum Nutrition BCAA Overview

BCAA supplements 5000 contains a strong portion of Branched-Chain Amino Acids Branched (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine).

  • Instant solubility;
  • 2:1:1 leucine, isoleucine, valine;
  • Unflavored;
  • High concentration;
  • Support for muscle recovery and growth.

What Studies Say About the Supplementation with BCAA 5000

Scientific studies indicate that BCAA 5000 can stimulate protein synthesis even in the absence of training. BCAA 5000 serves as a nitrogen donor in the form of L-alanine which is also converted to glucose when the glycogen stores are depleted.

This way you do not have to take huge amounts of carbohydrates to store glycogen in your body. Perhaps the most interesting feature of BCAAs is their ability to contribute to the burning of fat.

When the body feels their presence in the bloodstream during exercise, which is a sign of intense muscle breakdown, it automatically transmits a signal to the appropriate mechanisms to start using the fat as fuel, instead of the valuable proteins found in the muscles.

The power of this mechanism can be increased by limiting of the carbohydrate intake 2 hours before training.

How This Product Will Help Me

This is a product of great benefit to all training people. Clinical studies show that BCAA 5000 can stimulate protein synthesis even in the absence of training.

BCAA 5000 plays the role of a nitrogen donor in the form of L-Alanine which also turns into glucose when the glycogen stores are depleted. This way you do not have to take huge amounts of carbohydrates to store glycogen in your body. Perhaps the most interesting feature of BCAAs is their ability to contribute to the burning of fat.

Suggested Use

Consume Instantized BCAA 5000 Powder between meals, 30-45 minutes before workouts, and/or immediately after a workout.

BCAA Pro

by Universal Nutrition

Universal Nutrition Bcaa Pro, 100 Capsules

Let's Learn More About Universal BCAA Pro

Universal BCAA Pro is a unique nutritional supplement which will be of great benefit to you. The improved formula for this product has branched-chain amino acids (BCAA supplements).

The valine-isoleucine-leucine ratio is 2:1:1 and this ratio is scientifically proven. With valine as their leader, this successful “trio” will become the builder of your muscles. Universal BCAA Pro will also help you increase your muscle mass.

It will assist you in the maintenance of lean body mass, especially when you are calorie deficient. Universal BCAA Pro will improve your endurance beyond recognition. Last but not least - this product will help you recover quickly after an intense workout.

Everything listed here is of great importance to all training individuals, no matter their experience. With the help of Universal BCAA Pro, you will get the body you want.

Thinking of you, Universal BCAA Pro has once again created a product that would meet your needs and desires. The dosage is exactly calculated and is in the form of capsulated tablets.

Universal BCAA Pro plays a key role in the maintaining of your metabolism. Also, don’t neglect the fact that this extremely high-quality product will reduce the catabolism of your muscles. This, as you might guess, is of vital importance for the bodybuilders and to anyone training intensively and persistently.

Suggested Use

For its potential anti-catabolic benefits, take 2 BCAAs capsules prior to training and another 2 capsules after completion of training.

What Is Solgar BCAA Plus

Solgar BCAA Plus is a nutritional supplement that helps the bodybuilding muscles and to reduce body fat. 

Solgar BCAA Plus is:

How This Product Will Help Me

The product provides the 3 essential branched-chain amino acids L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine, which are the building material for the muscles.

BCAAs supplements are used for generating energy and for protein synthesis; they take part in the metabolism of the neurotransmitters (natural chemicals in the brain that influence the mood and brain function). This product is suitable for vegetarians.

Suggested Use

Take two (2) to four (4) vegetable capsules daily, or as suggested by a healthcare practitioner.

MRM BCAA+G Product Overview

  • Muscle size, strength & recovery;
  • Ultimate muscle recovery formula enhanced with L-glutamine;
  • 100% micronized BCAA;
  • Muscle recovery;
  • Produced in a certified facility - GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices).

What Is MRM BCAA+G

BCAA+G is designed to help you build muscle and improve your strength. This is a precise blend of branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs supplements and L-glutamine supplements.

These ingredients have been proven to increase protein synthesis and to protect muscles. This product works by improving your ability to retain nitrogen, to synthesize more proteins and to preserve your muscles even during intense workouts.

Studies have proven that the amino acids used in this product help with post-workout recovery and help you develop more lean muscle mass. BCAA+G will also help with burning fat and the Vitamin B6 used in this blend will help your muscle tissues absorb amino acids more efficiently.

What Are the Benefits for Any Athlete That Takes BCAAs Supplements

Your body needs to be able to synthesize proteins to build muscle mass. However, there are fewer free amino acids present in your system when you workout.

Taking a BCAA and Glutamine supplement helps increase the number of free amino acids available in your system. This is how these supplements help you develop more lean muscle mass and synthesize more proteins.

Your body cannot synthesize BCAA, which is why it is important to incorporate foods rich in BCAA in your diet or to use a supplement. If you are looking for an efficient supplement for recovery and muscle growth, BCAA+G is an ideal option.

This ultimate muscle recovery formula is designed for athletes and will help you build more muscles, recover faster after workouts and give you more energy to workout regularly.

Suggested Use

Take 3 scoops 1-2 times daily. 1 serving should be taken prior to exercise and 1 serving immediately following exercise. Please Note: BCAA+G does not mix well in water and must be swirled or shaken prior to each drink.

It is normal for BCAA+G to float on top of the water. Also, BCAA+G can be consumed as a powder directly into the mouth and chased with water.

MET-Rx BCAA 2200 Overview

  • Contains vitamin B6 to optimize BCAA metabolism;
  • Builds protein and supports energy production;
  • Dietary supplement.

What Is MET-Rx BCAA 2200

BCAA 2200 is a new product from MET-Rx. This BCAA supplement is a blend of three different chain amino acids used by professional athletes. BCAAs are delivered to your system thanks to the use of nitrogen technology.

What Are the Benefits from Taking MET-Rx BCAA 2200

  • Bodybuilders need BCAA since these amino acids are building blocks for muscle tissue.
  • Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are metabolized in muscle tissues.
  • BCAAs have two functions - providing energy to your muscles and functioning as building blocks for proteins.
  • BCAAs provide your muscles with the nitrogen needed to function, which is especially important during intense workouts.
  • Enhanced with high-potency Vitamin B-6, which plays an essential role in BCAA metabolism for optimal usage.

Suggested Use

Take four (4) softgels immediately after your workout. You can take an additional four softgels before your workout. As a reminder discuss the supplements and medications you take with your health care providers.

Scivation Xtend BCAAs Overview

  • 7 g BCAAs;
  • 0 g carbs;
  • 0 g sugar;
  • 0 calories;
  • Support muscle growth;
  • Support recovery;
  • Replenishes electrolytes;
  • 90 servings;
  • NSF - certified for sport.

What Is Scivation Xtend BCAAs

One serving of Scivation Xtend delivers 7 g of BCAAs. Scivation BCAA supplement product also contains Glutamine and Citrulline Malate and uses the 2:1:1 ratio, which is widely considered as a gold standard for muscle-building supplements.

This product is made with a unique blend of electrolytes to help you stay hydrated during your workouts. This is a delicious sugar-free supplement that will help you get through your most intense workout sessions.

What Are the Benefits from Taking Scivation Xtend BCAAs

  • Scivation Xtend is a popular product among world-class athletes and professional bodybuilders.
  • This product helps powerlifters and athletes workout for longer periods of time and exercise more intensively.
  • You can get more out of your workouts thanks to this supplement.

Suggested Use

Take four (4) softgels immediately after your workout. You can take an additional four softgels before your workout. As a reminder discuss the supplements and medications you take with your health care providers.

Platinum 100% BCAA

by Muscletech

MuscleTech Platinum BCAA Pill, 8:1:1 BCAA Formula, 1000mg of BCAA per Caplet, 200 Caplets

What Are Branch Chain Amino Acids

Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are branched-chain amino acids. They are considered essential amino acids because the human body does not produce them on its own, but are supplied only through food and supplements.

BCAAs effectively contribute to the building of lean muscle mass, helping the storage of muscle glycogen and stimulating protein synthesis. They protect the muscles from rupture during a workout. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs supplements are not metabolized in the stomach but directly into the muscles.

This unique property of theirs means that they build muscle mass and simultaneously stop the catabolic processes. These three amino acids cannot be synthesized by the human body and are essential for muscle growth. You can increase the effectiveness of BCAAs supplements by taking 10 mg of Vitamin B6 with every 10 grams of BCAAs.

What Are the Benefits of BCAAs

During exercise amino acids become more important as it is difficult to maintain the desired levels from food alone. With this powder, you can reach optimum levels of branch chain amino acids in a quick and easy way.

Who Are They Suitable For

They're generally consumed by active individuals and are suitable for anyone taking part in intense training or exercise.

Suggested Use

Take 1 serving daily with water. For optimal results, take up to 5 servings per day.

What Are BCAAs

The abbreviation BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acid) is a combination of three amino acids with a branched molecular structure. 

The 3 amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Together with other 6 amino acids, BCAAs are included in the group of essential i.e. indispensable molecules.

It is interesting to know that almost 35% of the composition of the essential amino acids in the human muscle proteins is namely leucine, isoleucine and valine.

What Do BCAAs Contain

Each of the amino acids, taken separately, has common and unique features. Taking them in combination together, however, creates a new type of impact. Up to this moment, it is considered that the proportions of the intake of the amino acid modify the impact, making it tilt towards one or the other direction of functioning.

The ratio of leucine: isoleucine: valine varies in formulas. There are different combinations. Combinations with not exact ratios – they most frequently copy the ratio of amino acids in muscle tissue, in certain contractile proteins or the concentration of amino acids in the cell plasma at rest.

No data on whether a particular combination is better than another.

What You Should Know About BCAAs

BCAA supplementation is considered to be an interesting strategy in diets for improving protein balance in skeletal muscle in a number of conditions. 

The most important are:

  • Protection of muscles - in severe long training or in the absence of glycogen (either due to diet or exercise);
  • Stimulation of muscle growth - in excess calorie diets thanks to mTOR, regardless of insulin levels (low carb diet);
  • Improvement in the muscle performance and reduction of muscle fatigue (muscular and nervous) - including improvement of the work of creatine kinase, aldolase, and myoglobin; reduction of muscle strain, improvement of concentration and functional strength.

Not all allegations, however, are enough target-specific and based on well-controlled studies. For this purpose, you can find evidence of any effect separately below:

  • BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis in the cell formations of the skeletal muscle. Similarly, the stimulation of protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle, induced by the use of combined food (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) is mainly due to BCAAs in the composition of the food.
  • One of the three amino acids - leucine, is a leading factor in the stimulation of protein synthesis thanks to its stimulating effect on the inputting of ribosomal signal RNA into the ribosomes of the muscle cells.
  • We would like to remind the reader - these are networks of cellular organelles that produce a protein to attach to the mRNA (messenger RNA). A large number of mechanisms for the synthesis, including phosphorylation of the S6 ribosomal protein kinase, eiF4E binding protein 1. eIF4G contributes to the effect of leucine on starting the reading of the mRNA.
  • These mechanisms not only promote global protein synthesis (in the body) through the initiation of mRNA translation but also contribute to deciding which protein is synthesized between competing mRNAs.
  • A key component is the signal regulation of the kinase protein called the mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin).
  • The latter proteins are known to promote the synthesis of muscle protein in competition with the synthesis of other proteins in general centers synthesis (ribosomes), thanks to leucine.
  • All this means that the branched-chain acids positively influence muscle growth and recovery, including anabolic recovery when taking a calorie surplus.
  • In oral intake, BCAAs reach muscles and organs through the blood and lymph and inhibit proteolysis (the breakdown of proteins) regardless of insulin levels. That means they protect the muscles without being dependent on insulin and they can also keep the muscles safe in the absence of carbohydrates or low blood sugar.
  • These are the conditions in the body’s muscle cells after severely prolonged training, in glycogen depletion or in a diet low in carbohydrates.
  • There are several other effects associated with BCAAs. First, it seems that their cellular metabolism (as fuel) during exercise is related and activated in conjunction with one of the fatty acids. The presence of BCAAs increases the fat burning process under these conditions (depleted glycogen). 

What Are the Purposes and the Health Benefits of BCAAs

Despite having been used more than over 50 years in the sports nutrition science, BCAAs still need more research for the final establishment of their qualities, likewise vitamins.

I have summarized the most important of more than 30 studies conducted over the years on the effects of BCAAs.

Proven and Potential Benefits for People

  • Improvement of the increase of muscle mass and concomitant fat loss - when taken in addition to whey protein, according to an 8-week study in-training schemes in the spectrum of strength endurance and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
  • Reduction of muscle damage and speed recovery in athletes - results are achieved with the intake of BCAAs before and after exhaustion by falling jumps. Researchers suggest that this could be due to the high availability of BCAAs which serve to enhance protein synthesis and reduction of secondary muscle damage associated with training. Similar results have been shown in other earlier studies as the final conclusion suggests the prevention of muscle protein catabolic processes during and after a training session.
  • Improvement on the mind concentration during long aerobic loads (average increase by + 20%);
  • Inhibition of general fatigue during prolonged aerobic exercise - the effect is attributed to the ability of BCAAs to increase the flow of tryptophan to the brain receptor 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine). The results were taken after 30-mile simulated cycling on rough terrain, leading to a drop in the levels of glycogen and serious fatigue and exhaustion. It turns out that the effect of suppressing fatigue is suppressed if trainees receive glucose during/after training. Currently, there is no information that leads to a similar effect of suppressing the effectiveness of BCAAs.
  • BCAAs can serve as muscle fuel during long exercise periods that deplete glycogen levels.
  • BCAAs improve muscle recovery during long workouts which deplete glycogen –proven in tests with marathon runners.

They also:

  • Increase endurance and fat burning - in long workouts which deplete glycogen.
  • Help liver health in patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatitis C. Increasing researches confirms the benefits of inclusion of BCAAs into the patients’ treatment.  They reduce the risk of liver cancer in patients with liver disease.
  • Improve appetite in cancer patients (+ 55% appetite, compared with 16% of placebo);
  • Prevent the loss of muscle power and muscle mass in people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - there is some evidence that BCAAs  also delay the negative effects on the locomotor system in people with the Lou Gehrig's syndrome;
  • Reduce the creatinine synthesis after systemic intake before and after training. It is assumed that this is related to the BCAAs' participation in cellular metabolism as energy or protein synthesis. The study is statistical, from the middle range ones.

Are There Any Side Effects and Contraindications When Taking BCAAs

  • Potential toxicity on the central nervous system – a person should not exceed the recommended doses. Do not mix BCAAs with neurotoxins: glutamate, aspartame, D-aspartic acid, aspartate, monosodium glutamate. Recently people started talking more and more about the neurotoxic effect in studies of professional footballers in Italy regarding the increased occurrence of diseases of the nervous system.
  • Indirect connection with cerebral hyperammonemia - this is a condition occurring in a situation with a liver problem during the processing of amino acids or in case of sport with a huge volume and intensity (professional sports). This information is according to relatively new science, called the "theory of the ammonia fatigue." This condition occurs due to the fact that the quantities of ammonium products, produced by the deamination of adenosine monophosphate (cycle of purine nucleotides in the oxidation of BCAAs, cannot be fully detoxified by the liver. They saturate the blood and impair the brain function, including the damaging/killing of cells. This has no direct connection with the intake of BCAAs as it happens without them also- the intake of BCAAs just increases the potential for training even harder i.e. it is not the influence of BCAAs, but the hazardous training approach.

Who Shouldn't Intake BCAAs? What Are the Possible Combinations

 BCAAs should not be taken by:

  • Breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, and infants, young children - there is not enough data on the safe recommendation.
  • Patients with Parkinson's disease, taking medication for controlling the disease - there is some evidence of drug interaction.
  • People suffering from neurodegenerative diseases – there is a potential risk and researches have yet to examine the toxic effects on the nervous system in case of overdose.
  • Do not take BCAAs with other substances with neurotoxic effect - the effect gets accumulated.

Recommended Doses of Intake

The recommended dosage of BCAAs is still an unclear matter. Amino acids have a high limit of intake and many scientists didn’t think about the risks associated with their daily intake up to this point. There are different experiments that have been conducted with doses from 2g to 40 g/day for athletes weighing 75-95 kg, i.e with doses of 40 mg to 2 g per kg. 

The test period is 30 days to a year. The most commonly recommended doses in sports range between 3 to 10 grams in two doses before and after training. Please notice that the specific weight, when looking for a muscle protecting effect, should be consistent with the muscle weight of the day of the training.

Taking BCAAs should be taken into consideration and added to the daily protein intake, i.e. you need to consume 25 grams BCAAs + 170 g proteins in the diet = 195 g.

Do I Need BCAAs and How Much

If we assume that 10 g/per intake or 20 grams/day is the maximum well-known dose (no such studies have been conducted, though), then you should take in accordance your workout severity (total tonnage/trained muscles) and pay attention whether you reach your glycogen exhaustion point or not.

Taking optimal doses in the amateurs’ training is considered as an average between 5 and 10 g/intake according to what and how hard you have trained. Some athletes work more precisely, and they take 10 g in 2 doses daily for the arm area, 12 at chest and shoulders area, 16 g for the back area(a special day), 20 grams a day in the leg and bottom area. 

This is just an example of the above-mentioned recommendations. The more severe and prolonged the exercise, the lower the carbohydrates in your food, the greater synthesis of lactic acid and the lower the calories - the higher the need for BCAAs is.

The intake of BCAAs in short splits to 50 minutes by bodybuilders with positive caloric balance and diet, high in carbohydrates, would be pointless. On the other hand, heavy exercisers by crossfitters with 90-minute workouts and 10 tons operating weight, on a high-fat low-carb diet, requires the essential need of BCAAs.

In other words, each diet and conditions define if BCAAs are necessary or not, in terms of talking about muscle protection.

What Will Happen If We Overdose

Your liver will oxidize the BCAAS, as with any other amino acid. You will not achieve a better effect but if you continue to take these acids systematically, a real risk impact occurs.

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