Best BCAA Supplements

BCAA stands for branched chain amino acid and refers to a group of essential amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, and valine. There are a ton of BCAA supplements out there right now but what do they really do? And what is the best BCAA supplement?

Firstly, if you’re on a fat-loss diet, BCAAs are super important. Branched chain amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein but without the calories. They help to preserve existing muscle mass. The reason why this is so important is because if you are on a diet you are highly likely to lose muscle along with fat.

This is even more true if you do cardio in a fasted state. But BCAAs do a great job of preserving muscle mass so you can ensure that the majority of your weight loss is fat.

I’ve actually used BCAA supplements whilst bulking too and found them to be a very effective helper in that regard. I would definitely recommend BCAAs to be a staple in your supplementation routine. So let’s take a look at some more specifics and then the top five best BCAAs on the market.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

​OUR RATING

  • ​Contains 7g of BCAAs
  • 2:1:1 ratio -research proven to help muscle growth and strength
  • 3.5g og Leucine for muscle protein synthesis
  • 2.5g of L-Glutamine
  • 1g of Citrulline Malate
  • Added electrolytes
  • ​Sugar free, carb free and zero calories
hardboiledbody egg

Our #1 Rated


  • ​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • Easy to swallow capsules
  • Contains gelatine
faded hardboiledbody egg

Our #2 Rated


bulk supplements pea protein
​​Bulk Supplements
​BCAA Powder
  • 2​:1:1 ratio
  • 100% pure powder
  • Non-GMO
faded hardboiledbody egg

Our #3 Rated

​OUR #1 RATED

xtend bcca

In the ​BCAA Supplement category

​OUR #2 RATED

optimum nutrition bcaa capsules

In the ​BCAA Supplement category

​OUR #3 RATED

bulk supplements pea protein

In the ​BCAA Supplement category

What are BCAAs?

Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs which are essential building blocks of protein.  Being essential means they are not produced by the body but the body needs them.  We have to get them via food.

The 3 BCAAs are leucine, valine and isoleucine.  They account for up to 35% of all muscle proteins and your body relies on them once glycogen stores are used up.

As these are essential and not something your body produced, it becomes quite obvious why they are a popular sports supplement.

Benefits of BCAAs

There are a number of reasons why people choose to including BCAA supplementation into their regime.  They have many benefits including:

  • Improved exercise performance - Research has shwon that physical and mental performance in exercise can be improved by consuming BCAAs.  They can also improve strength, power and exercise capacity (​1, 2).
  • Increased muscle growth - BCAAs stimulate muscular protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown ​ (​3).
  • Reduced fatigue during exercise - BCAAs have been shown to limit the release of tryptophan which triggers the release of the serotonin making you feel fatigued and tired.  Keeping your BCAA levels topped up, prevents thi release and thus delays the onset of fatigue.  What more could you ask for.
  • Improved immune function - Working out intensely lowers your immune system and if you workout a lot glutamine in the body becomes reduced significantly.  Glutamine is needed to fuel the immune system.  BCAAs keep your glutamine levels topped up during and atfer exercise.  That extra support is always welcome (​4, ​​5)

What To Look For In A BCAA Supplement

The first and most important consideration is the ratio of the BCAAs.  Research has shown time and time again that a 2:1:1 ratio of the 2 BCAAs is ideal (leucine: valine: isoleucine).

Other considerations will be additional ingredients such as sugar or unnecessary fillers you may want to avoid.

Generally sticking to a quality brand that has a good reputation evidenced by reviews and standing will be helpful in ensuring your supplement is good.

When To Take BCAAs

There has been many different studies that suggest taking BCAAs before, after and during is a good time to take them.  You can read our article here about that.

The conclusion that was eventually drawn is that taking them regularly, every day and over an extended period of time is the best approach to supplementation.  You should even supplement on days when you aren't working out.

This appears to be a similar suggestion for many supplements.  Beta alanine is another example that suggests, regular prolonged use gets the best results.

Top 5 BCAA Supplements

​Scivation

​​Xtend BCAA Powder

Price

​Our Rating

xtend bcca
  • ​Contains 7g of BCAAs
  • 2:1:1 ratio -research proven to help muscle growth and strength
  • 3.5g og Leucine for muscle protein synthesis
  • 2.5g of L-Glutamine
  • 1g of Citrulline Malate
  • Added electrolytes
  • ​Sugar free, carb free and zero calories

Scivation's BCAA powder offers 7gs of BCAAs whic has been shown to support muscle repair, recovery and growth.  It also comes with electrolytes to help refuel and replenish.

Scivation's 7g formula ensures that their is enough leucine within the mix to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.  They also follow the 2:1:1 ratio of each BCAA as this has been scientifically proven to be the optimum ratio and one found in nature.

It is perfect for taking before fasted morning cardio. In fact, it makes running on an empty stomach an absolute joy. I used to dread waking up and having to hit the treadmill without eating. And I could see my muscles wasting away along with the fat loss.

But mixing Xtend in my shaker with a tall glass of water is so refreshing. It tastes amazing (I recommend Blue Raspberry) and suddenly I wasn’t losing so much muscle.

It really helps me power through a cardio session. It’s also great for when you’re craving something sweet but have to restrict your calories.

PROS ​​7gs of BCAA in a 2:1:1 formula, supplying enough leucine for protein synthesis.

CONS ​​Not the cheapest on the market.

Our #1 Rated

xtend bcca


  • ​Contains 7g of BCAAs
  • 2:1:1 ratio -research proven to help muscle growth and strength
  • 3.5g og Leucine for muscle protein synthesis
  • 2.5g of L-Glutamine
  • 1g of Citrulline Malate
  • Added electrolytes
  • ​Sugar free, carb free and zero calories

Scivation's BCAA powder offers 7gs of BCAAs whic has been shown to support muscle repair, recovery and growth.  It also comes with electrolytes to help refuel and replenish.


Scivation's 7g formula ensures that their is enough leucine within the mix to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.  They also follow the 2:1:1 ratio of each BCAA as this has been scientifically proven to be the optimum ratio and one found in nature.


It is perfect for taking before fasted morning cardio. In fact, it makes running on an empty stomach an absolute joy. I used to dread waking up and having to hit the treadmill without eating. And I could see my muscles wasting away along with the fat loss.


But mixing Xtend in my shaker with a tall glass of water is so refreshing. It tastes amazing (I recommend Blue Raspberry) and suddenly I wasn’t losing so much muscle.


It really helps me power through a cardio session. It’s also great for when you’re craving something sweet but have to restrict your calories.

PROS ​​7gs of BCAA in a 2:1:1 formula, supplying enough leucine for protein synthesis.

CONS ​Not the cheapest on the market.

​​Optimum Nutrition

​​​BCAA Caps

Price

​Our Rating

optimum nutrition bcaa capsules
  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​10g of amino acids per serving
  • Co​​ntains gelatine

​Optimum Nutrition are a reputable company offering a capsule form of BCAA that may be more appealing than a powder.  With 10g of amino acids per serving, this is a generous amount that will serve you well.

​If you don’t like adding another powder to the mix (believe me, I sympathize with that), then you’ll probably want to pick up a bottle of BCAA pills.

I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s supplement as some of the best branched chain amino acids in pill form. They’re really easy to swallow down and you don’t have to deal with any strange chemical flavors.

They’re also easy to carry around with you and you don’t have to worry about leaking shaker bottle.

Optimum Nutrition is one of the few brands I trust completely. And they haven’t let me down with this BCAA supplement, which has a terrific 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine that will really support your muscle preservation needs.

PROS ​​7gs of BCAA in a 2:1:1 formula, supplying enough leucine for protein synthesis. Capsules are a convenient way to take.

CONS​ Capsules aren't easy for everyone to swallow.

Our #2 Rated

optimum nutrition bcaa capsules


  • ​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • 10g of amino acides per serving
  • Contains gelatine

Optimum Nutrition are a reputable company offering a capsule form of BCAA that may be more appealing than a powder.  With 10g of amino acids per serving, this is a generous amount that will serve you well.


​If you don’t like adding another powder to the mix (believe me, I sympathize with that), then you’ll probably want to pick up a bottle of BCAA pills.


I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s supplement as some of the best branched chain amino acids in pill form. They’re really easy to swallow down and you don’t have to deal with any strange chemical flavors.


They’re also easy to carry around with you and you don’t have to worry about leaking shaker bottle.


Optimum Nutrition is one of the few brands I trust completely. And they haven’t let me down with this BCAA supplement, which has a terrific 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine that will really support your muscle preservation needs.

PROS ​7gs of BCAA in a 2:1:1 formula, supplying enough leucine for protein synthesis. Capsules are a convenient way to take.

CONS ​​Capsules aren't easy for everyone to swallow.

​​Bulk Supplements

​​​BCAA Caps

Price

​Our Rating

bulk supplements pea protein
  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​Pure powder
  • ​Non-GMO

Here is another example of a supplement company that I really trust. BulkSupplements always does a great job and you can tell they genuinely care about their customers.

If you are looking for an unflavored supplement, this is the best BCAA supplement. I love the fact that you can add this powder to any other liquid and not taste it. 

Personally, I think it goes great mixed into coffee thrown into a carb-free whey protein shake. The powder itself is really fine, good quality, easy to mix, and has a great amino acid profile that will really make a difference in your fasted workouts.

PROS ​​​Pure powder - easy to add to a shake or sprinkle on pre workout food.

CONS ​​​Powder can be difficult to incorporate​. Sometimes capsules are easier.

Our #3 Rated

bulk supplements pea protein


  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​Pure powder
  • ​Non-GMO

​Here is another example of a supplement company that I really trust. BulkSupplements always does a great job and you can tell they genuinely care about their customers.


If you are looking for an unflavored supplement, this is the best BCAA supplement. I love the fact that you can add this powder to any other liquid and not taste it.


Personally, I think it goes great mixed into coffee thrown into a carb-free whey protein shake. The powder itself is really fine, good quality, easy to mix, and has a great amino acid profile that will really make a difference in your fasted workouts.

PROS ​​​​​​Pure powder - easy to add to a shake or sprinkle on pre workout food.

CONS ​​Powder can be difficult to incorporate​. Sometimes capsules are easier.

​​B​PI Sports

​​​BCAA ​Powder

Price

​Our Rating

bpi sports bcaa powder
  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​Flavored powder

​If you’re looking for a tasty BCAA powder that’s a little bit more affordable than Xtend, I recommend the BCAA powder by the good people at BPI Sports.

It’s tasty (I recommend Watermelon Ice), it has a great muscle preserving formula, and it’s really easy to mix into water or any of your other favorite drinks. If I can’t get my hands on Xtend, I would choose to go for this option as it is still one of the best branched chain amino acids supplements around.

PROS ​​​Great tasting and easy to use.

CONS ​Not everyone wants flavored.

Our #4 Rated

bpi sports bcaa powder


  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​Pure powder
  • ​Non-GMO

​If you’re looking for a tasty BCAA powder that’s a little bit more affordable than Xtend, I recommend the BCAA powder by the good people at BPI Sports.


It’s tasty (I recommend Watermelon Ice), it has a great muscle preserving formula, and it’s really easy to mix into water or any of your other favorite drinks.

​If I can’t get my hands on Xtend, I would choose to go for this option as it is still one of the best branched chain amino acids supplements around.

PROS ​​​Great tasting and easy to use.

CONS ​Not everyone wants flavored.

​​B​​SN

​​​​Amino X

Price

​Our Rating

bsn amino energy
  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​10g of amino acids per serving
  • Includes L-citrulline, Taurine and L-Alanine
  • ​Variety of flavors

​​BSN Amino is a great product to get a good dose of BCAAs.  Offering 10 grams of BCAAs per serving plus the addition of l-ananine, taurine and l-citrulline to compliment your workout and give additional support to recovery.

A good variety of flavors to choose and all have favourable reviews which doesn't happen a lot.

​BSN is a reputable company and their product does not disappoint.

PROS ​​​More affordable than other brands.

CONS ​​​Not any we can see!

Our #5 Rated

bsn amino energy


  • ​​2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine
  • ​10g of amino acids per serving
  • Includes L-citrulline, Taurine and L-Alanine
  • ​Variety of flavors

BSN Amino is a great product to get a good dose of BCAAs.  Offering 10 grams of BCAAs per serving plus the addition of l-ananine, taurine and l-citrulline to compliment your workout and give additional support to recovery.


A good variety of flavors to choose and all have favourable reviews which doesn't happen a lot.


​BSN is a reputable company and their product does not disappoint.

PROS ​​​Good option for those on a budget.

CONS ​Not any we can see.

The best BCAA supplement is largely a matter of personal preference. Some people like fruity tasting powders, some like flavorless powders, and others prefer capsules. Whatever your preference, the BCAA supplements listed above are the best of the best and there is something for every individual’s unique preferences. Any of those supplements will help you preserve muscle mass whilst on a diet and will make dieting much more fun, easy, and enjoyable.

Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com

 

 

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