Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, vary in composition and function. Three of the most essential amino acids for protein synthesis are the BCAA’s (Branch chain amino acids) valine, leucine and isoleucine. BCAA’a are categorized as essential amino acids because the body does not produce them; therefore, they must be consumed through food or supplements.
What makes these essential amino acids even more important than the other 8 essential amino acids is their promotion of more protein synthesis and glucose regulation. The domino effect is a plethora of beneficial functions.
For one, increased protein synthesis results in higher protein composition. Studies show that higher protein composition, especially through bcaa supplementation, can stave off excess fat and obesity.
It’s a commonly known fact that protein endows us with muscle and therefore, strength. However, with bcaa’s we are talking more than everyday strength to complete routine tasks. They reduce protein breakdown and aid in muscle recovery, which greatly improves workout performance. One study found that leucine fosters significant improvement in power and endurance in outrigger canoeists.
Another study that examined participants in a strength-training program shows the group given BCAA’s gained significantly more strength than the carbohydrate and whey protein groups. In addition, they had significantly higher increase in lean body mass and weight gain.
What’s more is that bcaa’s play a role in treating an array of illness, such as liver and cardiovascular diseases.
Since it’s often a hurdle to eat enough food containing bcaa’s, it’s convenient to turn to supplements. When purchasing these supplements, there are a few attributes to look for to get the best results:
– If you don’t like scarfing down a handful of pills, powders are recommended.
– Take a consistent dosage pre, during and post workout.
– Try to find brands with the least fillers. Some fillers can decrease absorption or cause allergic reactions. If you can’t pronounce it, investigate.
– Stick to what you know. Brands that you have previously heard of and have been around for some time tend to have more credibility.
– Be sure the taste is palatable. You’ll be taking them multiple times per day, and you don’t want to end your workout goals prematurely because the supplement tasted too bad.
Reviews of the Best BCAA Supplements
This company has become a staple of purity and quality. It offers over 400 clean nutrients in powder form, free of common additives. The engineered powder provides all the benefits of BCAA’s including fast muscle growth and recovery.
– The 3 BCAA’s are engineered in a 2:1:1 ratio (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) for ideal performance.
– This supplement boosts muscles fast.
– It’s one of the purest supplements.
– No need to worry about allergens like soy, dairy yeast, gluten, sugars or other additives.
– There’s less post workout tissue damage.
– Recover faster and get optimal results
– These supplements are lab tested for quality.
Ingredients Per 1500 mg
750 mg L-Leucine
0.3 to 1% lecithin
Bulk Supplements BCAA is pure, fast and effective. An added perk is the price won’t break the bank.
#2. Solgar BCAA Plus
This award-winning company has over 60 years under its belt, and has become an emblem of quality. Solgar is known for pure ingredients and glass containers.
B-6 improves bcaa metabolism.
The bcaa’s are free form for better absorption and assimilation.
Solgar BCAA is non-gmo, kosher, gluten free, vegan, yeast and soy free.
This company is over 60 years old.
540 mg L-Leucine
360 mg L-Isoleucine
300 mg L-Valine
Vegetable Magnesium Stearate
Solgar BCAA is an exceptionally pure supplement that’s even safe for vegans and those with allergies. Although some ingredients may affect absorption, the effect is minimal.
Life Extension provides high potency, high absorbency, scientifically researched raw ingredients. LE 2:1:1 ratio BCAA’s are vegetable capsules with few additives.
BCAA’s occur in the 2:1:1 ratio for increased metabolism.
LE BCAA’s supplement is suitable for vegetarians.
Life Extension is known for providing high potency supplements.
There are very few added ingredients.
This product has no added soy, yeast, fish, gluten, sweeteners, preservatives, colors, corn or yeast.
1200 mg L-Leucine
600 mg Isoleucine
600 mg Valine
Vegetable Cellulose Capsules
Life Extension BCAA’s are safe, high potency capsules that work fast. One downside may be that 4 capsules equal 1 serving size. This may be more than enough for some consumers, especially if taking these before and after a workout.
Doctor’s Best is a company founded by physicians with branded, thoroughly researched ingredients. This BCAA is in a unique instantized form for easy consumption. It has only one added ingredient, which is soy lecithin.
The company was founded by a group of doctors.
There’s only one added ingredient.
The new instantized form dissolves fast in water.
Doctor’s Best uses the 2:1:1 ratio for ideal bcaa metabolism.
Ingredients Per 1 Scoop (5 g)
2500 mg Leucine
1250 mg Isoleucine
1250 mg Valine
It’s produced by a reputable company with minimal additives and high quality bcaa’s. This one is also convenient: just add a scoop to the liquid of your choice before and after exercising.
Since 1986, Optimum Nutrition has dominated the amino acid supplement industry with products like gold standard 100% whey and casein. ON also spearheaded the “anytime energy” category. The company’s raw materials are double tested to comply with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices Guidelines).
Another gold standard product the company created is the Gold Standard BCAA Train and Recover. This one offers the benefits of branched chain amino acids along with three other nutrients to boost performance. It’s also great tasting.
This supplement boosts training and promotes faster recovery.
Rhodiola, electrolytes and Wellmune enhance the bcaa effects.
It contains the 2:1:1 ration of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
A serving contains just 15 calories.
Ingredients Per 1 Scoop (10 g)
200 mg rhodiola root extract
5g BCAA blend
250 mg bakers yeast beta-glucan
60 mg magnesium
100 mg potassium
90 mg sodium
9 mg vitamin C
4 g carbohydrates
Natural and Artificial Flavors
This BCAA gold standard supplement encourages ideal energy and strength during and after workouts with the addition of immune boosting, performance and endurance supplements. It also comes in pleasant flavors, which is a plus since powders can be an acquired taste. However, consumers should watch out for the added ingredients, of which there are plenty.
As mentioned above, Optimum Nutrition gets kudos for 30 plus years in the industry and gold standard supplements. The company also introduced the “anytime energy” category. Although these capsules aren’t gold, this ON BCAA is in a convenient pill form with the optimal 2:1:1 ratio.
ON has been in business for over 30 years.
ON BCAA capsules contain 2:1:1 Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine ratio for the best performance.
The capsules are easy to swallow.
You just need to take 2 pills pre workout and 2 post workout.
This is a great supplement for muscle recovery.
Ingredients Per Serving
500 mg of micronized L-Leucine
250 mg of micronized L-Isoleucine
250 mg of micronized L-Valine
Optimum nutrition is a reputable company with over 30 years of experience. ON BCAA’s are effective and convenient. However, the supplement’s purity level isn’t excellent because of the additives, which are a common find in capsules.
If you’re looking for a reputable company, Jarrow Formulas may withstand the test with over 40 years of experience formulating high quality supplements at affordable prices. The company’s BCAA contains B-6 and glutamine for improved effects.
Jarrow has been around for over 40 years.
Added B-6 improves workout metabolism, performance and recovery.
Glutamine also promotes muscle growth and performance.
There’s no added soy, yeast or gluten.
300 mg L-Leucine
500 mg L-Glutamine
150 mg L-Isoleucine
150 mg L-Valine
Vegetable Source Magnesium Stearate
For the most part, this is a pure supplement with only 3 added ingredients. It has a unique amino acid combination that has proven effects, and there are only 2 capsules per serving.
#8. MET-Rx BCAA
For 20 years, MET-Rx has striven to develop innovative blends for muscle fuel and recovery. The BCAA has 2 added nutrients for added nitrogen and metabolism support.
You’ll get the blend of BCAA’s with a 2+: 1: 1 ratio.
Vitamins B-6 and E provide metabolism and nitrogen during workouts.
The softgels make this convenient and fast to consume.
Ingredients Per 4 Softgels
1200 mg L-Leucine
500 mg L-Isoleucine
500 mg Valine
titanium dioxide for color
16 mg (941%) Vitamin B-6
3.5 mg (23%) Vitamin E
Consumers are generally satisfied with this unique vitamin and amino acid blend. Some drawbacks include the additives and large amount of softgels per serving (4).
Evlution offers a few protein supplements that contain bcaa’s. 5000 keeps it plain and simple, but it stands out with a whopping 5g (5000 mg) per serving. It’s bound to supply 5-star results.
Evlution 5000 contains the beneficial 2:1:1 ratio in fairly large doses: 2500:1250:1250.
The capsules are convenient and easy to swallow.
It’s got Ultra Premium BCAA to go beyond the results that bcaa’s already provide.
Ingredients Per 8 Capsules
2500 mg L-Leucine
1250 mg L-Isoleucine
1250 mg L-Valine
Aside from the additives that could reduce absorption and the fact that a serving includes eight capsules, this product does what bcaa’s do without much complaint.
Muscletech offers a variety of nutritional supplements for serious trainees and athletes. This BCAA is simple but unique with a whopping 8:1:1 ratio.
It minimizes breakdown and promotes synthesis with its 8:1:1 ratio.
Only 1 capsule is needed per serving.
800 mg L-Leucine
100 mg L-Isoleucine
100 mg L-Valine
Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Polyethylene glycol coating
There are benefits to having a higher percentage of leucine to increase protein synthesis. On the other hand, this supplement has a few multisyllabic, unrecognizable ingredients that may spark concern.
Whether you are seeking as few ingredients as possible, fast muscle growth or great taste, there are plenty of bcaa’s from which to choose. The options are not limited to this blog, so be sure to further your research to discover the amazing benefits of bcaa’s and the right supplements for your needs.