BCAAs are three essential amino acids, which means your body needs them for the proper functioning of the body, but can’t make them (1). It should be either obtained from food or nutritional supplement (2).
These amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine (3). They are present in protein-rich foods such as meats, nuts, beans, and some grains (4).
However, people who have increased protein needs like those who train often and intensely, endurance athletes, bodybuilders, weight lifters, may benefit from BCAA supplements which enhance muscle growth (5).
BCAA supplements are marketed in various forms with different potent combinations of promising maximum benefit. This article explores the best BCAA supplements and lists the best in the following 6 categories.
Our Best Picks:
1. The Best BCAA powder: Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine
2. The Best BCAA capsule: Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA
3. The Best budget BCAA: Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1 Branched-chain amino acids
4. The Best Vegetarian BCAA: Naked BCAAs
5. The Best Tasting BCAA: XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion
6. The Best BCAA for Women: IdealLean BCAAs for Women
1. Best BCAA Powder: Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine
BCAA and glutamine are the two most popular supplements amongst people who are into fitness and sports.
L-Glutamine supports protein metabolism leading to muscle growth. BCAAs, especially leucine support muscle protein synthesis and prevention of muscle breakdown.
About Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine
Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine is a top-ranking supplement that harnesses the goodness of BCAAs combined with glutamine. Like every Transparent Labs product, this supplement has 100% formula transparency and is totally free of dyes, unnecessary fillers, and harmful additives.
Manufactured in the USA, it is shipped worldwide, except for a few countries with increased high fraudulent activity.
1 scoop should be mixed with 10-12 fl.oz. of a beverage of your choice. You can take this 30-45 minutes before or during your workout. On non-training days, CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine can be taken in the morning, for improved recovery.
What it Contains:
Transparent Labs CoreSeries Glutamine comes in a tub with 30 servings, with 6 distinct flavors of tropical punch, blue raspberry, strawberry lemonade, sour grapes, orange and green apple.
Each serving of 1 scoop (19.65g) contains:
- BCAA 2:1:1 – 8,000 mg
- Glutamine – 5,000 mg
- Coconut water powder -1,000 mg
For optimum results, you are advised to take at least 2 servings of this BCAA powder. However, do not exceed 4 servings in a day.
Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA glutamine is made of fermented vegan BCAAs. It has no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or coloring. This gluten-free, non-GMO supplement is completely natural.
The coconut water powder helps restore hydration and helps in replenishing the electrolytes that are lost during exercise.
This BCAA powder is an all-natural supplement with 5 active ingredients that have been specially designed to stimulate protein synthesis, improve glucose metabolism, and its uptake by the muscle cells, which boosts the overall performance. This makes it one of the best BCAA for muscle growth.
- No artificial sweeteners or coloring
- Gluten-free and vegan friendly
- Uses fermented vegan BCAAs
- No artificial preservatives
Summary: Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine is a non-GMO, completely natural BCAA supplement that with its affordable price and carefully researched ingredients, has taken its spot as one of the best BCAA with glutamine.
2. Best BCAA Capsules: Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA
Powder supplements can’t be used by everyone, especially those who are sensitive to super sweet or intense flavors.
Fortunately, BCAA capsules are also available which is much more convenient to carry around as compared to powder and easy to have at any time.
About Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA
Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA is a well-known supplement from Ajipure and NutriGenesis. Together, they maintain industry-leading quality standards for cleanliness, purity, and effectiveness in an eco-friendly environment.
Every product is produced in a sterile, tightly controlled lab setting. Chosen best among the BCAA capsules, it is an all-natural supplement with prebiotic infused nutricaps from fermented tapioca, which readily dissolves in the body.
For best results, take 2-4, 45-60 mins pre-workout, and 2-4 right after the workout. During intense training, an additional 2-4 BCAA Nutricaps can be taken mid-way, as an intra-workout supplement.
Performance Lab BCAA, have a 30-day performance promise. If not satisfied, they will refund your money with no questions asked.
What It Contains:
Performance Lab® Sports BCAA is available as a pack of 120 capsules. This will meet your BCAA needs for 20 days. The three BCAAs are in a muscle-calibrated 2:1:1 ratio, which makes it the best BCAA for athletes.
Each serving size of 6 capsules contains:
- Total BCAA – 3000 mg
- L-Leucine – 1500 mg
- L- Isoleucine – 750 mg
- L-Valine – 750 mg
This GMP certified non-GMO product is 100% plant-based. It is free of allergen, soy, gluten, and caffeine, with all-natural ingredients.
Performance Lab BCAA has no artificial flavors, sweeteners, and synthetics. The capsules are made of prebiotic and are suitable for vegans. It is a non-prescription product and is totally devoid of any synthetic additives.
- 30-Day Performance promise
- Free of allergens, gluten, soy, and caffeine
- Delivered in Vegan-friendly nutricaps
- 100% plant-based, prebiotic infused
Summary: Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA is a plant-based, non-GMO, BCAA supplement that provides maximum support to your athletic demands. It is safe, natural, and well-tolerated which assures a daily dose of strength and endurance.
3. Best Budget: Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1
BCAAs mainly focus on muscle protein synthesis and the prevention of muscle breakdown. This helps faster muscle recovery, maximizing your training output.
However, BCAAs can be costly and may not be affordable to all. A budget-friendly BCAA supplement can be the right answer.
About Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1
Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1 brings to you a highly affordable, trusted quality, the third party tested, lab-verified, unique product that gives your body the assistance and support for muscle strength, recovery, and endurance.
Manufactured in the USA under an FDA registered facility with adherence to GMP regulations, Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA powder helps stimulate the production and circulation of energy.
As a dietary supplement, you may take it three times daily. Timing varies with individual needs but for best results, use before workouts.
What it Contains:
Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1, comes in various packs, such as 100g pure powder as well 1 kg to 5 kg pure powder. The servings per container are 66, and can easily supply you for 20-25 days.
Each serving size of 1500 mg contains:
- L-Leucine – 750 mg
- L-Isoleucine – 375 mg
- L-Valine – 375 mg
This natural BCAA supplement is free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives making it available for most. It has no fillers, no additives, just clean and pure raw ingredients.
This makes it suitable for diabetics, people who want to lose weight but not muscle mass, and allergy-prone individuals.
- Comes in different size packs with unbeatable price
- Ideal for diabetics as it is sugar-free
- Soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additive-free
- Third-party tested
Summary: Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1 Instantized Powder has the goodness of BCAA in its purest form which is highly affordable. It is free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives.
4. Best Vegetarian BCAA Supplement: Naked BCAAs
Plant-based proteins are low in essential amino acids which are mostly found in animal protein. Without dairy products, it is more difficult.
For vegetarians and vegans, who are into fitness training, it is crucial to take an extra step to make sure that you are adding sufficient amino acids mainly BCAA to your diet.
About Naked BCAAs
Naked BCAAs is the highest pharmaceutical grade supplement that is specially formulated keeping in mind the needs of vegetarian and vegan people.
Its fastest dissolving and rapid absorption factor is one of the best in the market and assists you with muscle repair and recovery. The manufacturer believes in serving you the supplement in its purest form.
Add one scoop to 10-12 ounces of any beverage of your choice and give your body the assistance to perform better. It can be taken as a pre-workout for energy or post-workout for recovery.
What it Contains:
The supplement comes in a 500-gram pack with 100 servings. Depending on your usage, It should suffice you for a month or two.
Each serving of 1 scoop (5g) contains:
- L-Leucine – 2.5g
- L-Isoleucine – 1.25g
- L-Valine – 1.25g
Naked BCAAs, as the name suggests, do not contain any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.
This unflavored BCAA powder is non-GMO, a gluten-free certified vegan product that is suitable to everyone’s needs. It is soy-free and is good for people prone to allergies.
One of the best BCAA blends and best BCAA for recovery, this supplement helps you reach your full potential to gain muscle and strength when following a workout program.
- 100% Pure BCAAs ( 2:1:1 ratio)
- 3-5 times more serving per bottle than the top competitors
- No flavors, colors or artificial sweeteners
- Certified Vegan
- GMO-free, Gluten-free, and Soy-free
Summary: Naked BCAAs are the best-ranking BCAA, formulated especially keeping the needs of vegetarians and vegans in mind. True to its name, it is free of flavors, colors, and artificial sweeteners.
5. Best Tasting BCAA: Scivation XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion
BCAAs possess a bitter taste and to offset that taste, many BCAA supplements have come up with different flavors which make it easier to consume.
About Scivation XTEND Original BCAA Powder WaterMelon Explosion
XTEND has been making the best recovery products for muscle recovery in the world, for over 10 years. This award-winning XTEND Original BCAA powder has been proven to support muscle growth, repair, and recovery.
This supplement is clinically researched and tested for safety. XTEND Original is NSF Certified for Sports and Informed-Choice certified. This third party tasting confirms its purity and safety. Even though the watermelon blast is the best flavor BCAA, there are several other flavors that you may choose from.
To get the best results, have 2 scoops per day. The suggested dosage is 1 scoop during exercise and 1 scoop after exercise on the days you are training. On the other days, consume 2 scoops throughout.
What it Contains:
The supplement comes in a pack of 420 g with 30 servings, intended as a 15 day supply. The unique watermelon flavor has made it the best flavored amongst all BCAA supplements.
Each serving of 1 level scoop (13.5g) contains:
- L-Leucine – 3500 mg
- L- Glutamine – 2500 mg
- L- Isoleucine – 1750 mg
- L-Valine – 1750 mg
XTEND Original BCAA is calorie-free and carb-free. With 7g of BCAA in the research-proven 2:1:1, combined with glutamine and citrulline, this product helps boost muscular endurance, promote better pumps, and enhance muscle growth and repair.
XTEND Original BCAA powder contains hydrating electrolytes that help you to refuel, repair, and recover. This potent combination of BCAAs, glutamine, and citrulline helps restore important amino acid levels that support muscle recovery, repair, and growth.
- 0 carbohydrate, 0 calories, and 0 fat
- Certified by NSF and Informed Choice
- 2.5g of added Glutamine in every serving
- With a unique blend of hydrating electrolytes
- Contains caffeine for boosting energy
Summary: XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion is considered the best-flavored BCAA powder. With 0 carbohydrates and 0 calories, and the combination of the best amino acid for working out. This is one of the best BCAA for men as well as women.
6. Best BCAA for Women: IdealLean BCAA for Women
The hypermasculine world of sports supplements is not limited to men alone anymore. Women have started to actively participate in these activities.
Hence, they need their share of supplements made especially to cater to their needs.
About IdealLean BCAA for Women
IdealLean BCAA for Women is one of the only BCAA, which is totally aimed at female athletes. With 0 calories, 0 fat, and 0 sugar per serving, this product is one of the best BCAA for weight loss.
Manufactured in the USA, and distributed by IdealShape, amongst all the BCAA products that women take, IdealLean BCAA is the number one choice.
It should be mixed in 8-16 0z of water according to taste, shook well, and taken during your workouts, throughout the day on non-training days, and on an empty stomach between meals.
What it Contains:
IdealLean BCAA for Women is available in a bottle with 30 servings. Depending upon your requirement, it can last you for half a month or one month. It comes in seven delicious flavors and contains 7g of the highest quality amino acids in the 2:1:1 BCAA ratio.
Each serving of 1 level scoop (11g) of powder contains:
- High-quality BCAA in 2:1:1 ratio – 3000 mg
- IdealLean Fat Loss Blend – 310 mg
- Calories – 0 Kcal
It contains a wide variety of ingredients that are proven to increase your metabolism rate and have been directly linked to fat-burn. It ranges from evodiamine extract, green tea catechins, conjugated linoleic acid, and more.
High in certain B-vitamins that are important for women, IdealLean BCAAs help you achieve your most coveted fit, lean and toned body.
This supplement has the best BCAA mix for fat loss. It has a money-back guarantee with an SSL 100% secure transaction.
- 0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 fats
- Contains specially selected fat-loss blend
- Coconut water powder for extra hydration and electrolyte balance
- 7g of highest quality amino acids
Summary: If you are looking for the BCAA supplement which is exclusively designed for women, IdealLean Women BCAA is the one. Its high-quality amino acids, specially formulated fat loss blend, 100% money-back policy makes this product the best in the list.
The Dosage Instructions for BCAA Supplements
In a workout plan when you are in a calorie deficit diet, your body will be in a catabolic state. This means that you will be breaking down fat, tissue, and muscles. The opposite of this is an anabolic state when your muscles are made (6).
BCAA supplements keep your body in an anabolic state boosting muscle protein synthesis. Research suggests 0.03-0.05g/kg body weight per hour or 2-4 g per hour during exercise and post-workout, is the right dosage.
Manufacturers usually recommend taking BCAA supplements before, during, or after your workouts. Taken as a pre-workout, BCAA reduces exercise-induced fatigue and muscle damage (7). If consumed during the workout, BCAA boosts your stamina and increases your endurance (8).
Taking BCAA post-workout helps to promote muscle-synthesis and help you recover faster (9).
Summary: BCAA supplements function differently as per the intake. Depending upon the time and quantity of consumption, it helps boost stamina, aids in muscle synthesis, increases endurance, and helps recover faster from muscle injuries.
The Side Effects of Using BCAA Supplements
BCAAs are generally safe to consume without any fear of side effects in healthy individuals. However, it’s advised to stick to the recommended BCAA doses and avoid overdosing.
This may cause nausea, headache, and fatigue. Depending upon the source of the BCAAs, some products may cause gastrointestinal problems due to artificial flavoring or fillers inside them.
BCAAs affect blood glucose metabolism, and it is suggested to avoid them before or after surgery. People who have kidney, liver, or heart diseases are advised not to consume BCAA supplements.
Preferably it is better to consult your physician before adding BCAA supplementation to your diet.
Summary: Usually there is no side effect of consuming BCAA supplements, but overdose or artificial fillers and flavors may cause nausea, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are BCAAs?
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the three essential amino acids- leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The body can’t produce them on its own and should be obtained through diet or supplementation.
They specifically assist in muscle building, decrease exercise-induced fatigue, prevent muscle breakdown post-workout, and decrease muscle soreness. BCAAs aid in post-workout recovery amongst several other benefits (10).
How Can We Decide The Best BCAA Supplement?
The best BCAA supplement is decided on the basis of amino acid ratio, dosage, ingredients present, ergogenic (performance-enhancing effect), price, brand reputation, and product form (whether it is a powder, pill, or tablets).
The other deciding factors are its flavor, lipolytic effect (fat-burning effects), mixability (incase of powder), quality, and testing.
What’s in your BCAA supplements?
Every BCAA supplement contains leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Amongst these three, leucine has the maximum effect in boosting muscle protein synthesis. The standard ratio between them is 2:1:1.
In addition to that, one or more amino acids that often accompany them are glutamine (aids in muscle gain), beta-alanine (improves endurance), citrulline malate (leads to better circulation and blood flow), L-carnitine and betaine.
Do I Really Need To Take BCAA?
No, you don’t need to take BCAAs. They are dietary supplements that can be a helpful addition in your exercise regime, in case you can’t meet your protein needs through diet.
These supplements help achieve your goals faster and easier, but it is not a must in achieving your fitness goal.
Who Can Benefit From Taking A BCAA Supplement?
People who are into intense exercise or into muscle-building goals can benefit from using BCAA supplements.
They can be endurance athletes who want to increase their focus and concentration in the latter stretches of workout sessions or those who are trying to make muscles and want to push themselves harder to reach the goal.
The Final Note
BCAA supplements are used to enhance muscle growth and boost exercise performance. They also reduce exercise-related fatigue and aid in weight loss.
Even though a balanced diet can provide the required BCAA to our body, certain activities increase the need which often may not be able to be fulfilled by food alone. BCAA supplements usually fill in this gap.
BCAA supplements come in all forms, powder, capsules, and pills contain a lot more ingredients to enhance its effectiveness in muscle growth and recovery post-workout. Choosing the right supplement depends on the person’s needs.
Other factors such as brand, ingredients, user review, powders, cost, the amino acid ratio will help you in choosing a supplement that caters for all your needs and give you the maximum benefit.