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Top 10 BCAAs Supplements Reviews Guide

Alex Platt

02/27/2020 · 15 min reading

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!

How to Choose the Best BCAA Supplement

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!

1 Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine

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This product has my vote for the best BCAA powder!

Pros

  • 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 research 10 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!

Cons

  • 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.

2 Scivation XTend BCAAs

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Scivation offers another great choice for your BCAAs and glutamine!

Pros

  • It also provides a healthy dose of electrolytes for hydration.
  • Also portioned for the 2:1:1 ratio
  • It includes citrulline malate 5. 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!

Cons

  • 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!

3 BulkSupplements BCAA Powder

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This product is one of the purest BCAA supplements I’ve come across!

Pros

  • There’s a total of 3 ingredients: leucine, isoleucine, and valine! Those are your BCAAs with no added compounds! Here are some other awesome perks:
  • It is entirely free of soy, sugar, dairy, yeast, additives, and gluten. If you have a sensitivity to any of these ingredients, this option can suit you better.
  • Also utilizes the 2:1:1 ratio

Cons

  • Unfortunately, there is no flavoring. This BCAA powder may need to be mixed with a beverage that is already flavored, such as a smoothie. Otherwise, you’ll encounter an unpleasant taste.

4 Optimum Nutrition BCAA

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This product gives you a good deal of options to suit your preferences!

Pros

  • Optimum Nutrition is the only product on this list that offers both powder and capsule forms. Both forms follow the average 2:1:1 ratio.
  • You may find capsules to be more convenient on-the-go. The capsule sizes are helpful if you have trouble swallowing bigger capsules.
  • You can choose unflavored, or the pleasant tastes of fruit punch and orange.
  • The facilities are compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). Daily quality assurance checks are performed.

Cons

  • If you choose unflavored, be prepared to mix it with a strong-flavored drink!
  • The flavored powders contain artificial sweeteners.
  • It contains soy products, which is an allergen for some people.

5 MuscleTech Myobuild BCAA

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This product offers a different ratio, as well as some other beneficial ingredients!

Pros

  • 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. Studies 2 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. Taurine 7 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!

Cons

  • 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!

6 RAW Synergies Amino Slim

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If I had to pick the best BCAA for women specifically, I would choose this one!

Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • 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.

7 Sascha Fitness BCAA

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Sascha Fitness offers other unique ingredients and benefits!

Pros

  • Similarly to the MuscleTech product, Sascha Fitness BCAA uses a 4:1:1 ratio.
  • It contains L-Carnitine. L-carnitine 6 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. HICA 4 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.

Cons

  • 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!

8 BPI Sports Best BCAA

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Best BCAA is very affordable, which is great if you’re on a tight budget!

Pros

  • Best BCAA utilizes an omega 6 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) matrix.
  • Omega 6 14 is a form of healthy fat. It plays a significant role in brain function, heart health, and metabolism. CLA 14 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.

Cons

  • 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.

9 Evlution Nutrition BCAA5000 Powder

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Evlution Nutrition keeps their BCAA powder straightforward!

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

10 MP Essentials BCAA

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MP Essentials uses an outside-the-box approach!

Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • 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:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

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 synthesis 15 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 enzymes 1 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 exercise 12. 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 activation 8 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 breakdown 9 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.

BCAAs reduce your body’s levels of lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase 3. These compounds play a significant role in muscle damage.

Burn Fat

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 burning 13.

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.

Studies comparing pre and post-workout 16 protein with BCAAs showed equal body composition improvement.

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 ratios 11 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.

Safety

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.

In Conclusion

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.

References

  1. Blomstrand, E., Eliasson, J., Karlsson, H., & Köhnke, R. (2006). Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Cholewa, J., Wyszczelska-Rokiel, M., Glowacki, R., Jakubowski, H., Matthews, T., & Wood, R. et al. (2013). Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. BioMed Central.
  3. Coombes, J., & McNaughton, L. (2000). Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  4. Editors, B. (2020). What is HMB? (and Why Add Creatine?). Blonyx.
  5. Editors, B. (2020). A Beginner’s Guide to Citrulline Malate. The Core™ – Guides on Protein, Supplements & Training | BULK POWDERS®.
  6. Editors, W. (2020). L-Carnitine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Webmd.com.
  7. Editors, W. (2020). Taurine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Webmd.com.
  8. Gualano, A., Bozza, T., Lopes De Campos, P., Roschel, H., Dos Santos Costa, A., & Luiz Marquezi, M. et al. (2011). Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  9. Howatson, G., Hoad, M., Goodall, S., Tallent, J., Bell, P., & French, D. (2012). Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  10. Legault, Z., Bagnall, N., & Kimmerly, D. (2015). The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  11. Malani, K. (2017). BCAA Dosage: How Much, How And When To Take BCAA?. My Fit Fuel.
  12. Meeusen, R., & Watson, P. (2007). Amino acids and the brain: do they play a role in “central fatigue”? – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  13. Mourier, A., Bigard, A., de Kerviler, E., Roger, B., Legrand, H., & Guezennec, C. (1997). Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  14. Publishing, H. (2009). No need to avoid healthy omega-6 fats. Harvard Health.
  15. Sandler, D. (2020). Muscle Protein Synthesis Gets You Bigger and Stronger. Muscle & Fitness.
  16. Schoenfeld, B., Aragon, A., Wilborn, C., Urbina, S., Hayward, S., & Krieger, J. (2017). Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  17. Staff, M. (2020). Amino acids: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Medlineplus.gov.
Alex Platt

Alex is a former Personal Trainer and the go-to guy when it comes to his blog - SuppsAdvisor.com. Every piece of content is thoroughly checked, rechecked, and then published by Alex!

He is very much into sports activities such as tennis, skiing, surfing and of course working out.

His motto: be active, healthy, and happy!

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