Branched Chain Amino Acid supplements, commonly known as BCAA, are popular protein supplements that are widely being used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and strength trainers. It is no secret that being active requires providing your body with additional nutrients. Many people choose to do this by eating healthy and making use of supplements.
BCAA is mainly of composed amino acids which is one of the natural nutrients present in the body and is known to have many functions in the body including the development and repair of muscle tissues. BCAA provide fitness freaks with the extra amino acids that their body requires which may not be fulfilled by diet alone. Therefore, BCAA supplements are important to such people to help them build muscles and develop the strength that their body needs to cope up with the strain it is put through.
- 1 What are the advantages of BCAA supplements?
- 2 TOP 10 BEST BCAA PRODUCTS
- 2.1 1. Cellucor COR-Performance Beta BCAA
- 2.2 2. Optimum Nutrition PRO BCAA
- 2.3 3. Optimum nutrition gold standard BCAA
- 2.4 4. BPI Sports Best BCAA
- 2.5 5. Muscle Pharm BCAA
- 2.6 6. Evolution Nutrition Recover Mode
- 2.7 7. Gaspari Nutrition BCAA 6000
- 2.8 8. Dynamite BCAA Complex 2200
- 2.9 9. Infinite Labs BCAA Caps
- 2.10 10. EVL Nutrition BCAA 5000
- 3 How To Choose Best BCAA
- 4 How to take BCAA supplements?
- 5 Possible side effects of BCAA
- 6 Conclusion
What are the advantages of BCAA supplements?
It has been proved by evidence that taking BCAA supplements as a means of increasing overall protein can really help enhance lean mass along with serious workouts. There are a number of associated benefits of these supplements, some you may see quick while some you may reap over a long period of time. A few of the many advantages of BCAA supplements are mentioned below.
Increases muscle endurance and helps fatigue
BCAA are great at boosting endurance power while protecting and fueling muscles, allowing for longer and more strenuous workouts. It may also help the individual prolong and minimize the time of mental and physical fatigue. BCAA is able to do by improving levels of ATP available for muscle tissues to help them make use of energy promptly. This way, a person can take part in rigorous workouts for longer, helping them to yield desired results much faster.
Promotes protein synthesis
It has been clinically proven that BCAA can play a major part in improving the process of protein synthesis in the body. By making more protein available for breakdown in the muscle for energy, it helps bring about a boost in the manufacture of proteins within the muscle cells. As a result, you are able to repair all the damage done to your muscle during strength training or any strenuous workout. All of this eventually leads to the enhanced lean mass.
Promotes and prepare for muscle growth
With an increase in protein synthesis, there is an increase in muscle growth as well. As one ages, the ability to synthesize protein sufficiently decreases. One of the components of BCAA i.e. leucine is directly responsible for the synthesis of protein within the body cells. BCAA also helps prime up your body to develop more muscles so that you can get better results out of all the intense exercises.
Prevents muscle loss and breakdown
People who engage in endurance workouts such as weightlifting, cycling, running, etc. are at an increased risk of damaging and losing muscles and suffer metabolic stress. Taking BCAA can help restrict the process of catabolism and prevent muscle breakdown that consequently results in reduced muscle loss.
Increases muscle tone
Muscle toning is all about getting bigger and stronger muscles. BCAAs can play an important role in helping you achieve well-defined muscles that you crave for.
Helps cut down fat
Fat storages are usually utilized when an individual chooses to go for strength training and rigorous exercise. By making the addition of BCAAs to the daily fitness program, one can boost the rate at which the body fat is melted. BCAA can help steer your body towards using stored fat for energy and hence, trigger fat mobilization. This results in one having an improved metabolism and shed unwanted body fat, gaining a fitter physique.
Speeds up recovery and helps prevent muscle soreness
BCAA aid your muscles in strengthening the muscle fibers that are responsible for causing muscle inflammation. With stronger muscle fibers, one can engage in intense workouts for long period of time without having to face sore muscles that are usually the outcome of strenuous exercise. Inflamed and sore muscles hinder the routine workout session and make the individual unable to exercise with the same intensity. Moreover with less muscle soreness, one can also get back to working out hard, limiting the time spent during recovery. This means BCAA can also speed up post workout recovery session significantly.
TOP 10 BEST BCAA PRODUCTS
Listed down below is a list of the 10 best BCAA supplements available today.
Cellucor is one of the most popular companies in the business. The supplement contains HICA, Citrulline, BCAAs, and Beta Alanine. All these ingredients work together to help athletes build their muscles, recover from intense sports and training activities, and sustain the maximum output.
The CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine in the supplement is an amino acid that changes to a compound called carnosine in the body. Carnosine is known to be the only clinically studied form of beta alanine which has shown to support and encourage muscular endurance.
- The taste can be too intense for some.
- The recovery time for this supplement is relatively longer than the recovery time for other supplements.
Optimum Nutrition is a well-respected brand and produces several different kinds of supplements that are much-liked in the fitness industry. One such product is the Pro BCCA powder. Apart from the core BCAA, also contains additional nutrients such as glutamine, electrolytes, and phytonutrients.
The supplement also contains a mixture of synergistic ingredients that provide recovery supporting antioxidant benefits. Meanwhile, the electrolytes support muscle function. Furthermore, the 5 grams of glutamine in the supplement support recovery after an intense training session.
When used before or during endurance exercise, the supplement helps to spare muscle tissues. When used after strength training, it encourages muscle growth.
- The mixture can result in an acne breakout.
- The taste is not suitable for everyone.
The gold standard BCAAs are the second recommended product from the brand Optimum Nutrition. This powder belongs to the Gold Standard line which was highly appreciated by people worldwide.
- The new formula is not as well received, and many users would like the company to restore the old formula that was considered a ‘wonder’ product.
A perfect choice for everyone; from newbies to professional athletes and weightlifters. This supplement provides 5g BCAA per serving in the ratio 2:1:1 for leucine, valine, and isoleucine respectively. It also contains 1000 mg CLA as well as 250 mg agatamine to provide extra goodness.
Other ingredients also include Wellmune to offer immunity support, Rhodiola to provide endurance support, and electrolytes for performance support. It is ideal for use during workouts or after them to prevent the excessive breakdown of spare muscles and to support your performance.
- The flavors are said to be too sweet for some people.
- Doesn’t come with any measuring spoon.
- The shape of the container is such that it is tough to get the last half of the powder out.
The supplement contains a comprehensive mixture of natural ingredients, herbals, and organics. It is made to feed all the things that nature intended. Plus, it is full of pure derivatives of vegetables and fruits along with system optimizers and antioxidants.
Muscle Pharm BCAA provides 6g BCAA in one serving in the ratio 3:1:2. It is available as pills and capsules instead of powders.
All in all, the formula has been meticulously created to meet the high-intensity demands of all hard-training athletes. Not only does it give you an incredible pump during your workout, but it also helps you to recover from your workout session easily.
- The 3:1:2 ratio for leucine:valine:isoleucine is considered disproportioned and not along the lines of the recommended dosage.
Evolution is a popular brand that is known for many of its other supplements. This BCAA supplement provides a good 5g dose of BCAA in one serving. It also contains additional ingredients such as Creatine, Beta-alanine, Taurine, electrolytes, etc. that make this supplement the ideal drink after a workout as it maximizes muscle building and increases recovery.
The ingredients also work to enhance as well as repair the breakdown of muscles at an even faster rate, enabling you to take part in a more rigorous workout the next day. Moreover, there is no proprietary blend, so you can see the full dosing of all the ingredients present in the supplement.
- Poor taste.
- The mixture of the ingredient used is not along manufacturing and clinical recommendations.
Gaspari 6000 contains only pure branched chain amino acids in such a formula which offers effective and clinically validated quantities of critical supplements in each dose.
This product is a leucine-heavy supplement. It provides 6g of BCAA in the ratio 4:1:1 which is considered an ideal ratio as a high leucine quantity leads the user to incredible results that are expected out of a BCAA supplement. It is available as pills and capsules instead of dissolving powders.
- Gaspari Nutrition BCAA 6000 is slightly more expensive than other similar BCAA supplements.
- Some users complained the capsules to be too big, making it difficult to swallow.
The Dynamite BCAA Complex is an easy and low dosage BCAA supplement complex for newbies. It contains a low 2.2 g BCAA dosage per serving along with an extra vitamin B6 supply.
It contains time released amino acids in their most assimilated form that are helpful in promoting muscle regeneration. Dynamite BCAA 2200 also plays a vital role in normalizing aggression, sleep, attention, concentration, and mood. Moreover, the supplement is also free from artificial flavors, yeast, artificial colors, sugar, and salt, making it safe to use.
- Belongs to a fairly new brand hence, it is not easy to determine if its product is worth it.
- One serving of this product contains way less BCAA dosage than other similar supplements.
Infinite Labs BCAAs are available in the form of capsules. The product carries 3g of BCAA in one serving. It contains no other nutrient, making this product simple and exact to its purpose. There are many benefits of taking this BCAA supplement along with following a diet. They help to ensure faster muscle recovery, increased metabolic fuel while you go through your exercise regimen, and prolonged endurance.
The supplement can be taken both before a workout as well as after one, and you will surely notice a difference in the time taken for it to recover.
- Provides less dosage of BCAA in one serving as compared to other brand supplements.
- Carries artificial colorings that are considered a health hazard.
- FD&C Blue#1 is added to capsules which is an artificial product due to which many users chose not to repurchase the product.
This is a simple yet effective option. It provides 5g BCAA per serving in the form of capsules. It contains no other nutrient or vitamin nor any flavors, sweeteners or colorings.
Made using high quality BCAAs, the supplement not only supports muscle repair, but also encourages lean mass, protein synthesis, and endurance while also boosting recovery. With a ratio of 2:1:1, the supplement provides your muscles with the recovery needed to tackle the next training session with increased vigor.
- Capsules are thought to be too big to be swallowed easily.
How To Choose Best BCAA
There is a large variety of BCAA supplements available in the market but it is vital that you pick up the best BCAA that will provide you with maximum benefits. Although this will be difficult due to the number of brands and supplements available, there a few factors that should be taken into account when choosing a good BCAA supplement product. Some of these factors are mentioned below.
It is important that you take a good look at all the ingredients used in a supplement. Make sure it does not carry any thing that you are allergic to. Secondly, also keep an eye on the proportion of each nutrient, particularly the three amino acids that are the main ingredient of the entire supplement pack.
Value for money
It is not necessary that an expensive product is for sure a good product. There are many cheap and affordable BCAA supplements available. Before purchasing anything, you should compare prices of a variety of different supplements that you are interested in so that you do not overpay and it is according to your budget. Compare on the basis of quality of ingredients, nutrient content, servings per pack and other similar factors to get a good outlook on an average price rate.
Read up or do some research on your part to find out that if the brand you’re about to buy is good. It is vital that you are sure of the fact that the said brand is trustworthy and reliable so that you get genuine and only the best of product. It is also good to make sure that if the brand has been functioning and is known by the fitness community as this will help you know that it knows exactly what the users are looking for.
Taste and ease of use
Although some BCAA supplements are tasteless, there are many flavored supplements available. You may find it helpful to read up reviews online to get an idea of what flavor is better. Moreover, with reviews you can also easily determine which brand supplement is convenient and easy to use. If you are not willing to bother about tastes, you can simply let go of powders and go for pills and capsules that can be easily swallowed without any flavor or aftertaste.
Some BCAA supplements target a particular training goal such as losing weight or building up mass. Therefore, it depends upon your own personal goal as to which supplement you choose in order to see quick and satisfying results instead of picking out a supplement that does not align with your fitness goal.
How to take BCAA supplements?
Before taking any kind of supplements, it is important that you consult your doctor and discuss all possible outcomes of the product.
BCAA are available in the form of powder, pills and capsules. Pills and capsules can be orally taken through the mouth with a glad of water or milk, whichever you prefer. Powders, on the other hand, need to be added to water. Some people simply add it to their shakes consisting of fruits, milk, other supplements, etc.
The dosage may vary from person to person depending upon the type of workout they engage in but the recommended dosage for powders is about 5 grams of the powder, 2 to 4 times a day. As for pills and capsules, it is important you follow the instructions and dosages mentioned on the package and follow them strictly. It is not recommended to increase the dosage as this can result in increasing the risks of side effects instead of increasing benefits.
You may choose to take BCAA supplements any time that suits you but it is recommended that you use the product before, after or during your workout session as this is the time your body will make use of it the most, enhance overall performance and yield the most advantages.
BCAA supplements are suitable for use by almost everyone. Both men and women, over the age of 18, can benefit from BCAA products and find the best BCAA supplement that suits them the most. Incorporating the product into their daily workout routine and diet can help them gain positive results and all the benefits mentioned above. Not only this, but vegans and vegetarians too can make use of BCAA supplements freely. Not being able to eat meat that is considered the major source of proteins, vegans and vegetarians are usually unable to take adequate amounts of proteins solely through diet. Therefore, making BCAA a part of their diet can help them immensely.
Possible side effects of BCAA
It is important to consult a doctor and be mindful of any possible side effects of any supplements you wish to use. Although most of BCAA side effects are mild and temporary, it is important that it is used with care and according to the instructions mentioned on the package. It is not recommended to overdose on the supplement as too much of anything is never good and can pose serious side effects.
- The most common side effect of BCAA is due to beta-alanine that has the tendency to act a stimulant. As a result, it may cause side effects similar to that of a stimulant such as dehydration, an upset stomach, etc.
- Beta-alanine is also said to cause a tingling effect on the skin. However, this effect is completely temporary and tends to go away once the body becomes accustomed to the new supplement or once the use is discontinued.
Anyone who used BCAA supplements can get amazing results along with a proper diet and proper workout sessions. With enhanced workout times and delayed recovery time, you are bound to get yourself a fit physique that you want with incredible muscle strength and growth. According to the top 10 recommended BCAA supplements mentioned above, it can be said that the Cellucor Cor-performance Beta BCAA is one of the best BCAA available. Not only is it easy to use and prepare, it also completely fulfills its purpose almost perfectly. With a good daily dose of BCAA per serving and great flavors, you can easily add this product to your daily fitness regimen and gain fantastic benefits.