If you’re like me, you want to put only the highest-quality products into your body. When it comes to your fitness, your body needs the best to perform at its best.
With so many supplements on the market, there are hundreds of options to sift through. When I first started using BCAA supplements, I remember feeling overwhelmed. It took me so much time to dig up the best options. Fortunately for you, I’ve compiled a top 10 best BCAA supplement list to save you some time!
As with anything you expose your body to, your products should be high-quality. Low-quality products can hinder your progress, waste your money, or be harmful. Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing your supplement.
Find a Reputable Brand
Do some solid research on the brand. Check if it is well known, see if customers trust the company, and check the reviews. If it’s an unknown brand or has horrible reviews, cross that one off your list.
Ingredients and Quality
Always look at the nutrition facts and ingredients. If you’re unsure of what a specific ingredient is, research through credible sites. High-quality products won’t include unnecessary or dangerous ingredients. Overall, keep yourself well-informed about what goes into your body!
Taste or Convenience Preferences
BCAA powders offer a few different flavors. Fortunately, most people find an enjoyable flavor. However, if you don’t find one that you like, you may struggle with drinking it or give up.
In these cases, supplements in pill or capsule forms may be favorable. Also, you may find it easier to tote around with you to use on-the-go. With powders, you’re stuck carrying the containers or blender bottles that already contain the powder.
Cost vs Quality
As with most products, you don’t want to go too cheap and skimp on the quality. But, you don’t want to overpay for a poor-quality product either.
This is where research on ingredients and brands comes in handy. Compare the quality and price-per-serving for different brands to ensure plenty of bang for your buck.
10 Top BCAA Supplements
So now you know the basics of BCAA supplements. Without further ado, let me introduce you to my top 10 BCAA supplements!
Here are some of the factors we will focus on with these supplements:
The best BCAA powder
The best BCAA for men
The best BCAA for women
My personal BCAA reviews of my 10 top BCAA choices with pros and cons!
This product has my vote for the best BCAA powder!
Natural ingredients! It has no artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives. There aren’t any useless or harmful filler ingredients.
It contains no gluten or GMOs. All their BCAA sources are 100% vegan. This makes it great for people with dietary restrictions or preferences!
Added glutamine! Glutamine is an amino acid that is vital for the immune system and intestinal health. Some research10 shows that glutamine may aid muscle recovery and reduce soreness.
It follows the recommended 2:1:1 ratio.
Flavors! They offer strawberry lemonade, green apple, sour grape, orange, tropical punch, and blue raspberry!
Since it is flavored with coconut water powder, some people could have an allergic reaction.
Each container only has 30 servings. For casual users, this would still be affordable. But, if you need several doses per day, you’ll find yourself buying it very often. This would make for some great body gains, but a much lighter wallet.
Scivation offers another great choice for your BCAAs and glutamine!
It also provides a healthy dose of electrolytes for hydration.
Also portioned for the 2:1:1 ratio
It includes citrulline malate5. Citrulline malate offers some added benefits. For example, it helps you produce more fuel for your body. Also, it promotes the elimination of toxic byproducts that our body generates during exercise.
15+ flavors to choose from! You shouldn’t have a hard time finding a flavor you like!
The facility produces other allergenic foods.
Although it is sugar-free, they use artificial sweeteners for taste.
The label states that it contains milk. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, you might consider other products!
This product offers a different ratio, as well as some other beneficial ingredients!
Myobuild uses a ratio of 4:1:1 in an attempt to push your benefits to the max! This makes it great for muscle growth and performance enhancement.
Sodium and potassium to balance your electrolytes.
Betaine Anhydrous. Studies2 done athletic males show that betaine substantially increased muscle endurance and performance! This could make it the best BCAA for men, especially for strength training.
Taurine. Taurine7 is another amino acid that is valuable for muscle endurance and performance.
Tart cherry concentrate and coconut water create the lovely fruit punch blast taste!
Be mindful of any dietary restrictions you have. It contains soy and coconut. The facility processes other products that contain milk, egg, wheat, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish. The product may not be 100% allergen-free, so exercise caution!
It contains artificial flavoring.
With a higher ratio, you should check with your doctor to verify safety!
If I had to pick the best BCAA for women specifically, I would choose this one!
Fat burning, weight loss, and craving reduction
Building and toning lean muscle
Mood boost and stress relief
Amino Slim adds glutamine to your BCAAs!
It contains SatieReal, which is made from saffron. SatieReal is used for weight loss by making your body feel full. This works to reduce your appetite and snack cravings.
It also contains KSM 66, which is made from ashwagandha. This compound is used for enhanced performance and mental clarity.
Amino Slim has the added perk of being 100% vegan!
Currently, the only flavor this comes in is lemonade.
Reactions to the herbal blends vary from person to person. It’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor about added herbal supplements. This especially applies if you have medical conditions or take medications.
Sascha Fitness offers other unique ingredients and benefits!
Similarly to the MuscleTech product, Sascha Fitness BCAA uses a 4:1:1 ratio.
It contains L-Carnitine. L-carnitine6 is another amino acid. It helps signal your body to burn fat for fuel.
It also contains HMB (beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid)4. HMB is a metabolite of leucine that boosts the effectiveness of leucine. Another leucine metabolite called HICA is included. HICA4 helps your body cleanse the waste byproducts in our bodies from exercise.
There’s a great assortment of flavors available: Grape, Lemon-Lime, Mango Coconut, Pineapple, Watermelon, Pina Colada.
This powder is vegan and sugar-free. The colors and flavors are all-natural and sweetened with Stevia.
The facility manufactures products that contain allergens, so be mindful of food allergies!
Again, check with your doctor before using a product with a higher dose ratio!
Best BCAA is very affordable, which is great if you’re on a tight budget!
Best BCAA utilizes an omega 6 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) matrix.
Omega 614 is a form of healthy fat. It plays a significant role in brain function, heart health, and metabolism. CLA14 is believed to reduce the amount of fatty tissue deposits in your body. Many people use CLA as weight-loss and fitness supplements. The purpose of this matrix is to promote post-workout recovery and prevent muscle loss.
This product comes in multiple flavors: Fruit punch, Arctic ice, Blue raspberry, Blueberry lemonade, Cherry lime, Grape, Green fusion, Mango, Passion fruit, Rainbow ice, Snowcone, Sour candy, Strawberry margarita, Sweet lemon tea, Watermelon ice.
Although they don’t use artificial colors, they do use a handful of artificial flavors and sweeteners. This includes sucralose, which is the same as Splenda.
The Omega 6 and CLA matrix contains coconut oil powder. Be mindful if you have a coconut allergy!
It contains several additives, some of which have controversial health effects.
Evlution Nutrition keeps their BCAA powder straightforward!
They don’t use any added compounds, just your clean BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio.
BCAA5000 is free of: Stimulants, Sugar, Carbohydrates, Gluten.
The lack of carbohydrates makes this formula very keto-friendly.
One of the best things about this brand is the great taste and flavor variety! They have: Blue Raz, Cherry Limeade, Furious Grape, Lemon-lime, Mango, Peach, Lemonade, Pineapple, Pure Acai Berry, Watermelon.
Keep in mind that this product does contain soy.
Although they stick with the basics, some of the flavors do contain both natural and artificial flavoring. BCAA5000 contains sucralose, aka Splenda.
This product comes from a facility that uses common food allergens.
Their supplement comes in a patent-pending 3:1:2 ratio. This ratio aims to provide a steady release of amino acids to offer benefits throughout all stages of muscle repair and development.
They still keep it simple with just your BCAAs. Their coloring comes from fruit and vegetable juices.
Since many consumers are competitive athletes, MP has their products tested. These tests ensure that the product contains no banned substances listed by all major sports associations.
It’s super affordable!
The watermelon taste includes a minimal amount of artificial flavors.
Currently, watermelon is the only available flavor.
Be careful with this new ratio. Be extra cautious and speak with your doctor.
What Are the Benefits of BCAAs?
BCAAs have a wealth of benefits for health and fitness. Let’s start by explaining what BCAAs are.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. It consists of 3 amino acids that are considered “essential” 17. This means that you must consume these acids through your diet or supplements. Unlike most other amino acids, your body doesn’t produce these on its own. The 3 amino acids in BCAAs are:
Why Are They Important?
Amino acids are the vital building blocks for life. They form a loop that is essential to breaking down and creating protein, which is necessary for every part of your body. When you consume protein through your diet, it is broken down into amino acids. From there, the amino acids synthesize more protein to distribute throughout your body.
Now that we know what BCAAs are, we can explore what they do and their benefits.
Boost Protein Synthesis
As I mentioned earlier, amino acids synthesize protein. Protein synthesis15 replaces old, worn-out proteins within your body. When it comes to your muscle health and development, this is a vital process.
Build Muscle Mass and Endurance
By boosting protein synthesis, BCAAs form new proteins that add to your muscle mass. BCAAs also trigger the release of enzymes1 that are necessary to build muscle mass. For better results, try combining BCAAs with products that contain extra amino acids. For example, whey protein shakes can contain these other amino acids.
Higher levels of tryptophan cause fatigue during exercise12. This occurs when your BCAA levels begin to deplete during exercise. BCAAs block the reception of tryptophan in your system. When you supplement with BCAAs, you extend the amount of time that your body blocks this fatigue-inducing hormone. BCAA activation8 also kicks in when your muscle energy source becomes depleted.
Faster Recovery and Less Soreness
Another benefit of protein synthesis is the reduction of muscle breakdown9 and soreness. Since protein synthesis rapidly rebuilds damaged muscle fibers, your muscles recover much quicker. With less muscle damage, you experience less muscle pain in the following days.
Some studies have shown a tie between BCAAs and weight loss.
Excess glucose from the foods you consume get stored inside fatty tissue. The longer you can exercise, the more your body digs into glucose. When all the regular glucose stores are depleted, your body burns fat for energy.
This can happen even if you aren’t restricting your calorie intake. A high-protein diet paired with calorie restriction enhances fat burning13.
What Is the Best Way to Use BCAAs?
BCAAs can be beneficial for your muscles at any time. However, there are some general recommendations to consider.
Dosages and Timing
As far as timing goes, the main preferred times are before, during, and after your workout.
Some people choose to consume BCAAs in the middle of their workout. Since BCAAs reach peak levels after about 30 minutes, it may fight fatigue for the rest of your workout. If you prefer, you can split your daily BCAA intake into several servings throughout the day.
The product you choose will advise you on dosages. The most common dose ratios11 are 2:1:1 and 3:1:1. The dosage for average gymgoers is around 5mg in total. For the 2:1:1 ratio, you would take 3mg of leucine, 1mg of isoleucine, and 1mg of valine. The 3:1:1 ratio is used in more intense physical training.
The most important rule in safety is always to consult your doctor! This is especially important if you have or suspect any serious medical conditions. Also, if you are doing an intense workout routine and need extra supplementation. Never take more than the recommended dose unless your doctor has approved it.
As you can see from my BCAA reviews, there is a wide variety within the BCAA supplement market. My top choice is the Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine. They make sure their product is pure, high-quality, and science-backed. Your supplement choice should always prioritize what is safe and healthy.