Branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs) are some of the most crucial substances for building muscle.
It is true that protein-rich food items such as dairy, poultry, and meat products are a great source of protein, but you should know that individual amino acids greatly influence the process of muscle growth and development in a myriad of ways.
Studies on BCAAs
Of all the amino acids, medical studies have shown that leucine, valine, and isoleucine, collectively referred to as
branched-chain amino acids, are the most crucial in optimal muscle growth, increased energy levels, and enhanced athletic performance.
Branched-chain amino acids are aptly named due to the inherent structure of isoleucine, valine, and leucine on a molecular level. These amino acids have been around far longer than other amino acids such as creatine and beta-alanine, but it was only recently that fitness experts and medical professionals realized the wide range of benefits that can be derived from BCAA intake in terms of muscle growth and development.
Although these amino acids are generally small in size, they pack a huge punch in terms of muscle growth and development. You know what they say about good things coming in small packages (Or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself. Kidding.)
Essential Amino Acids
BCAAs are identified as essential amino acids. This basically means that we need to source them from our diet or through supplements as the human body is unable to produce them on its own. It is important to remember that BCAA supplementation should only be taken in prescribed amounts. Excessive amounts of the three amino acids can be harmful so here’s our PSA: Don’t exceed the recommended dosages, you greedy meatheads.
The Three Amino Acids
There are 22 essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. Of all these protein building blocks; leucine, valine, and isoleucine are known to comprise 1/3 of the amino acids within the muscle tissue. It is, therefore, crucial for men and women to include BCAAs as part of their supplementation regimen.
Safety of BCAA Supplementation
Unlike other bodybuilding supplements that flood the market, BCAAs are relatively safer to take on a continuous basis as they are metabolized by muscle tissues and not the liver. There are no common negative side effects for BCAAs when taken as directed.
BCAA Shopping Guide
Branched-chain amino acids come in several form factors: tablets, capsules, and in powder form.
It is best to choose the variety that fits your needs and your lifestyle. A large majority of bodybuilders opt to choose BCAA in powder form since you can simply mix it into your shakes. Some brands of
protein powder will come pre-mixed with BCAAs.
The most important consideration when buying BCAA is the company that makes it. Choose a product which is developed by a reputable brand. Never go for cheaper, lesser known brands because you want the good stuff, and we’ve all heard the news reports lately about shady supplement companies. Stick to the big guns, and you’ll be building big guns of your own.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a 2:1:1 branched-chain amino acid formula made for high bioavailability. It uses the most advanced BCAAs on the market. And is in capsule for which is convenient and avoids the bad taste you get from powder BCAA supplement drinks (let’s face it, no matter how well-flavored, they never taste good!).
This formula supplies BCAAs, only. It is not mixed up with a lot of other diluted ingredients. Just a good dosage, in a quality form, of the three key BCAAs for big gains.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA stays true to BCAAs and lets them shine on their own – no unnecessary ingredients, colors, or any other garbage. It gives us all that we want: A highly absorbable and clean BCAA supplement.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA Benefits
Performance enhancement in both aerobic and anaerobic exercise Muscle-energizing effects for good workout performance Boost anabolic growth by enhancing and protecting proteins Helps for recovery with less soreness and bigger gains
A dedicated standalone branched-chain amino acids supplement Clean design for what they call “healthy gains” Vegan-friendly, 100% natural, capsules made from prebiotic fiber
There aren’t as many BCAA capsule supplements on the markets. If you want just the BCAAs with no BS in a quality capsule, then Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a strong choice for you.
BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs
BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs has proven itself to be the highest quality power packed BCAA supplement available. When you take BCAA Glutamine, you’ll be getting 8 grams of high-quality vegan-friendly BCAAs in the 2:1:1 ratio. On top of that, you’ll also get another 5 grams of Glutamine and 1 gram coconut water extract.
This brings the total amino acid count to 13 grams per serving! Truly unbeatable.
But, is this really worth it? The short answer is yes. Clinical studies that note the most impressive benefits using BCAA supplements all have one thing in common: 7 or more grams BCAAs per serving! That makes this 8 grams the optimal dose for nearly any body type.
Benefits of BCAA Glutamine:
Lean Muscle Growth
Fat Metabolism Support
Suited for Both Men and Women
BCAA Glutamine isn’t only better because it contains a larger BCAA dose, contains 5 grams glutamine, and contains coconut water extract. What really adds value, is the use of Vegan-Friendly plant-sourced BCAAs. A dirty secret of the supplement industry,is that many manufacturers source their BCAAs from beef and/or chicken feathers. Would you want that in your body? We wouldn’t. That’s why when it comes to BCAAs, we reach for Transparent Labs own vegan-friendly, naturally sweetened, zero carb BCAA Glutamine. 3. BCAA PRO Reloaded Tablets by S.A.N. BCAA PRO Reloaded
It’s a well-know fact that L-Leucine, the primary ingredient in BCAA Pro Reloaded, has been proven to be the most anabolic of all essential amino acids—it controls the activation of protein synthesis in the body, and that means muscle growth. BCAA Pro Reloaded tablets deliver a higher ratio of BCAAs than any other product on the market. With 1,050 milligrams per serving, the ratio of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine is an industry-leading 4:1:1.
Anyone who trains with extreme intensity has a few particular goals in mind; Building strength, stamina, and muscle size, and they all want that to happen quickly. That all happens as a result of adequate muscle repair
Repairing muscle tissue requires proper nutrition with very specific building blocks for optimal amino acid balance. Timing the intake of these muscle-saving compounds immediately before and after training is crucial to muscle preservation and recovery.
Features: Convenient hydrosoluble tablets for fast recovery 1,050 milligrams of BCAAs per tablet L-Leucine-enhanced anabolic profile Highest BCAA ratio per tablet in the industry
4. Amino 1 by MusclePharm Amino 1
Amino 1 was designed for athletes and contains over 10,000mg of amino acids — patent pending 3:1:2 ratio instantized BCAAs — for sustained stamina and muscle building.
Amino 1 delivers nutrients through multiple pathways, maximizing your body’s overall ability to transport, deliver nutrients, and ultimately support recovery. No other sports drink supplies as much power in the needed time interval, making this the ultimate in-workout recovery drink.
All-natural coconut water concentrate is one of nature’s superfoods, a complete balance of electrolytes and minerals — and it maximizes uptake. It is superior to manufactured sports drinks. This is why the sports world has turned to coconut water concentrate as a rehydration source.
Features: Sustained energy and great taste for increased muscle endurance Delicious tasting and only 5 calories per serving Caffeine and sugar free — Can be used anytime, day or night Anti-catabolic / Muscle sparing Mixes easily and completely / No clumping Promotes recovery from training sessions
5. Cor-Performance Beta BCAA by Cellucor Cor-Performance Beta BCAA
Cellucor COR-Performance Beta BCAA features BCAAs, Beta Alanine, and Citrulline, which are proven to help athletes build muscle, sustain maximum output, and recover from intense training and sports activities.
Beta Alanine is known for the ‘tingling’ sensation most users feel after consumption. Cellucor COR-Performance Beta BCAA uses a clinically studied 1.6g dose of Beta Alanine to deliver maximum results and a great activation feeling that lets you know the product is ‘kicking in.’
The vast majority of Beta Alanine users report a slight tingling sensation after ingestion. If you don’t feel the ‘tingles’, don’t worry, the product is still hard at work to maximize your workout.
Most BCAA users are looking for that extra something, an edge to help them train harder, longer. Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that has been suggested to support muscular endurance and promote performance. Beta Alanine is an effective fatigue arrester that prevents lactic acid from accumulating too quickly in skeletal muscle (which occurs during training) allowing you to bring your best, every workout, every game, every time.
Features: Promotes Muscular Endurance Prevents Muscle Breakdown Primes Body for Muscle Growth
6. BCAA 6000 by Gaspari Nutrition BCAA 6000
Gaspari Nutrition’s BCAA 6000 offering features a 4:1:1 ratio, thus making it a leucine-filled BCAA supplement. As mentioned earlier in this article, leucine primarily functions to trigger muscle growth, increase energy and enhance one’s endurance levels.
Expect a considerable improvement in the execution of your workout routine as BCAA 6000 is excellent when it comes to recovery. By taking BCAA 6000 before working out, you can train for hours on end without usual fatigue, headache, and tiredness.
This product is in pill form so you don’t have to endure the traditional horrid taste that most BCAA powders feature.
Features: 4g of Leucine 1g of Isoleucine 1g of Valine 7. BCAA Caps by Infinite Labs BCAA Caps
Intense workouts are the only means by which men and women can successfully build muscles. Aside from following a well-balanced diet, rigorous training needs to be in place. Infinite Labs, the company responsible for the manufacturing of BCAA Caps, markets it as an Advanced Metabolic Fuel.
Despite numerous studies and conclusive evidence that supports exercise as the only means to increase muscle size, only a small percentage of people are actually incorporating it in their lives. Why? Their main reason for ditching workout is the fatigue, exhaustion, and tiredness after each and every workout. Worry no more! You can now realize your dreams of having leaner and stronger muscles with the help of BCAA Caps by Infinite Labs.
You not only enjoy optimal strength with regular intake of BCAA caps, but also infinite power that will enable you to build muscle at an incredibly faster rate.
Aside from BCAA Caps, Infinite Labs also offers BCAA supplement in powder form. Just like majority of BCAAs in the market, the powder is unflavored, thus it can be added onto any post-, intra-, or pre-workout drink that you routinely take as well.
Features: Effectively reduce post exercise fatigue Decrease the rate of muscle protein degradation Enhanced muscle protein synthesis Improved endurance
8. BCAA Complex 2200 by Dymatize BCAA Complex 2200
Dymatize BCAA Complex 2200 provides 2,200mg of pure free form Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA´s) per serving. These amino acids, their most easily assimilated form, are essential to promote maximum muscle regeneration. Not only did Dymatize combine these highly efficient amino acids with nutritional cofactors, but they also made it time-released for added effectiveness.
They also play a key role in normalizing moods, concentration, aggression, attention, sleep, and sex drive. Not only did Dymatize combine these highly efficient amino acids in BCAA Complex 2200 with nutritional cofactors, but they also made it time-release for added effectiveness.
Features: 2,200mg of Pure Free Form BCAAs Promotes Muscle Regeneration Time-released
9. BCAA 5000 Powder by Optimum Nutrition BCAA 5000 Powder
If you have an intense bulking and cutting routine, you will need a dependable BCAA supplement to gain real, impressive results. This is exactly what Optimum Nutrition delivered when they released their own BCAA supplement — BCAA 5000 Powder.
According to its users, the 10g amino serving enables their body to remain in the anabolic stage during and even after workouts. Aside from considerable lean muscle mass gains, customers have reported a significant drop in body fat percentage. It is hailed as one of the best pre-workout supplements due to the ideal ratio of the three BCAA aminos.
Although BCAA 5000 Powder doesn’t taste as tasty compared to flavored pre-workout drinks, it still gets the job done. The gains are so great that you won’t notice the average tasting blend that this product offers. After all, 99% of BCAAs in the market feature the same bland, if not horrid, taste. If the taste bothers you, BCAA 5000 Powder can be readily mixed with other protein shake preparations!
Features: 1st Ever Instantized Formula Mixes Easily with a Spoon Leucine, Isoleucine, & Valine in 2:1:1 Ratio Unflavored Versatility Highly Concentrated Supports Muscle Building & Recovery Efforts
10. BCAA 1000 Caps by Optimum Nutrition BCAA 1000 Caps
BCAA 1000 Caps from Optimum Nutrition is an ideal pre-workout supplement which effectively fuels the body during intense, resistance-training workouts. From the ample servings, quality ingredients, and the price BCAA Caps was successful in delivering a potent BCAA mix that offers impressive results without breaking bank.
Optimum Nutrition enumerated the concentration of the three essential amino acids in 2:1:1 ratio- leucine- 500 mg, isoleucine- 250mg, and valine 250 mg.
The BCAA offering from Optimum Nutrition comes in capsule form so consumers need not worry about bad tasting drinks. Aside from the high levels of energy that it provides, BCAA 1000 when taken after intense training improves recovery. Users report reduced soreness and feeling of exhaustion with BCAA supplementation.
11. BCAA 3:1:2 by MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2
MusclePharm offers the best BCAA supplement which is rapidly absorbed by the muscle tissues during workouts. It was developed to bring desirable results such as maximum lean mass development while minimizing muscle damage after rigorous workout routines.
The 3:1:2 leucine, isoluecine, and valine bring exactly what the body needs. To reduce muscle breakdown while supplementing enough energy during workouts, the guys from MusclePharm formulated a patent-pending branched-chain amino acid formula with 3 grams of leucine, 1 gram of isoleucine, and 2 grams of valine.
You get superior results from this amino acid ratio as BCAA 3:1:2 is made from quality ingredients. Athletes as well as professional bodybuilders primarily depend on this BCAA brand from MusclePharm for maximum muscle gain, enhanced recovery, and increased energy for workout sessions.
12. Foundation Series BCAA Powder Foundation Series BCAA
Protein is responsible for tissue growth and repair, which makes it essential for building muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein; they’re required ingredients in any muscle-making recipe. Not all aminos are created equal, however!
The brached-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are of particular interest to those looking to build muscle, reduce breakdown, and promote recovery. The BCAAs are L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine, and they’re three of the most important essential aminos for muscle repair and growth.
Bodybuilding.comBCAA Powder contains these aminos in a precise 2:1:1 ratio for the best possible results.
Bodybuilding.com’s Foundation Series BCAA Powder is completely unflavored and mixes instantly, so you can drink it anytime, anywhere. Free-form aminos are fast-absorbing, which means BCAAs can be used pre-, intra-, and post-workout. Used during your workout, BCAAs can even function as an extra energy source and might help reduce muscle breakdown (catabolism).
Back your muscles and build a better body with
Bodybuilding.com BCAA Powder.
Bodybuilding.com BCAA Powder is an incredibly versatile supplement, so don’t be shy about adapting it to your needs! If you prefer fasted cardio in the mornings, for example, BCAA Powder is the perfect choice before and during your workout. Or, for a general lifting session, mix a couple scoops in a shaker bottle and sip on BCAA Powder as you train. All Day You May
All Day You May was birthed from Rich Piana’s philosophy that supplements should never take the place of your meals, but rather taken in addition to the food you eat. All Day You May is one of the most dynamic products on the supplement market today. Formulated to aid your muscle building efforts in numerous ways. 5% Nutrition has developed All Day You May to ensure your body is fed all day and you can train all day at a high level.
• Huge BCAA Ratio of 10:1:1
• Turns On Muscle Growth • Stimulant Free Energy from B-12 • Complete Immune System Support • 5 Flavors to Choose From
[Updated: February 2019]