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BCAA supplement

Top 5 Best BCAA Supplements

We start with protein powder and perhaps a tub of pre-workout. Soon, we’re looking for the best BCAA supplements, intra-workout formulas, fat burners, and creatine powders. It’s easy to get carried away, and before we know it, our kitchen pantry resembles a pharmaceutical shelf. Spending hundreds of dollars and pumping our bodies full of obscure chemicals are common symptoms of supplement obsession. There comes a time where we ask ourselves, “Which supplements do I really need?”

The world of fitness supplements seems to have an endless supply of products that seem to be “essential” for attaining the goal physique. We all know that protein is excellent for building muscle and aiding in recovery. The best BCAA supplements contain one of the fundamental sources of those muscle-building proteins. So what’s the big deal about BCAA’s and which fitness brands produce the best BCAA supplements?

Comparison Table

WHAT ARE BCAAS?

Image Source: Unsplash.com
Image Source: Unsplash.com

What’s all the stir in the gym about those four letters? Understanding fitness jargon can seem like you’re working on solving a cryptic riddle. When put simply, branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, refers to a specific combination of proteins that we can commonly find in many of the foods we eat. These particular proteins are high in amino acids that are essential to the body and make up 35 percent of our muscle fibers.

The essential amino acids that we find in BCAAs include valine, leucine, and isoleucine. The “branched-chain” refers to the molecular structure of these three proteins. Both athletes an exercise enthusiasts value this powerful combination for its role in building muscle and promoting recovery. The best BCAA supplements will always contain a specific ratio of these proteins. However, recent studies suggest that the best BCAA ratios include a higher percentage of leucine due to its role in stimulating muscle growth. Although the typical BCAA ratio is 2:1:1, studies suggest we should aim for 5 grams of leucine, 4 grams of valine and 2 grams of isoleucine per day.

HOW DO BCAA SUPPLEMENTS PROMOTE MUSCLE GROWTH?

There are many good reasons why the fittest and strongest in the gym swear by the best BCAA supplements on the market. Since BCAAs increase muscle growth (anabolism) and decrease muscle breakdown (catabolism), they have become one of the most popular supplements on the market.

BCAAs boost anabolism by playing a pivotal role in protein synthesis. That means repairing our torn muscle fibers during exercise. Promoting anabolism means more muscle gains and faster recovery time. A gym goer’s worst nightmare, catabolism, occurs when muscles are broken down by the body for energy. The best BCAA supplements help to prevent muscle breakdown by using the proteins as fuel by the muscles, preserving your precious gains.

THE BEST TIME TO TAKE BCAAS

A heavily disputed topic among bro-science circles is the timing of which to consume the best BCAA supplements. Some people swear by taking BCAAs before or during their workout as a pre- or intra-workout supplement. That will aid in preventing catabolism by fueling the muscles during intense exercise. Those looking to boost recovery time and reduce soreness will argue that BCAAs should be taken after a workout to enhance anabolism.

a woman with a glass of shake and two sets of dumbbells
Image Source: Unsplash.com

For optimal results, it is crucial to use BCAA supplements in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet. Timing depends on preference and convenience.

HOW WE REVIEWED

Our list of the best BCAA supplements was chosen by utilizing professional research, comparing value, quality, amino acid ratios, taste and customer reviews. The best BCAA supplements on the market should have a good reputation for quality and have competitive serving counts for your dollar. Although pricing will vary depending on the size, manufacturer, and other considerations, we found that pricing averaged between $13 and $30 for the best BCAA supplements available in typical 30 serving quantities.

THE BEST BCAA SUPPLEMENTS FOR MUSCLE GROWTH

With so many acronyms, slogans and buzzwords in the fitness industry, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re looking for in the best BCAA supplements. Our hand-picked list of the best BCAA products will narrow down the search to find products that are right for you. The following list is in no particular order.

MUSCLEPHARM ESSENTIALS BCAA

MusclePharm (MP) has a strong reputation in both the bodybuilding and weightlifting industry. An American based company known for tasty protein bars and powders also makes one of the best BCAA powders available. MusclePharm Essentials BCAA has a unique 3:1:2 amino acid ratio, each 6 gram serving comprising of three grams of leucine, one gram of isoleucine and two grams of valine. MusclePharm claims that this is the best BCAA ratio for absorption in the body. Each container contains 30 servings and is available in 5 flavors.
 
PROS AND CONS
 
MusclePharm is a very reputable, American based company that is tested and certified by Informed-Choice. Therefore every ingredient is tested and free from banned substances. Competitive athletes and bodybuilders will benefit from knowing that they are consuming a safe and legal product. The powder also contains zero carbs and zero sugar, meaning a daily scoop will be sure to fit in with even the strictest dieter’s macros. Purists will also love the clean formula, free of any extra or hidden compounds.
 
MusclePharm’s protein products are known for the irresistible taste. However, reviews of their Essentials BCAA seem to indicate that the fruit punch flavor doesn’t meet up to expectations. If the flavor is high on your list of priorities, it might be best to avoid this one. Those looking for caffeine or electrolytes built into the formula might also be disappointed by the basic ingredients.
 
PRICING AND WHERE TO BUY
 
MusclePharm is available for purchase directly from their website, or at Amazon. Gym junkies can get their hands on a 30 serving tub between $13 and $15. MusclePharm’s product also has one of the best Amazon ratings of 4.3 out of 5 stars. A 90-day replacement guarantee also backs all MusclePharm products if the consumer is not happy with the product.
 

SCIVATION XTEND ENERGY BCAA

Looking for an added kick to your BCAA supplement? Scivation has created a pre-workout BCAA hybrid that every gym goer seems to be raving about. Scivation’s Xtend Energy’s formula contains the research-backed 2:1:1 ratio. Each 7-gram service includes 3.5 grams of leucine, 1.75 grams of isoleucine and 1.75 grams of valine. Scivation’s best BCAA supplement also contains caffeine for workout energy and electrolytes to hydrate you while you train. There are also three great flavors to choose from.

PROS AND CONS

Similarly to MusclePharm, Scivation has also created a supplement with zero sugar or carbohydrates. However, in a push to get ahead, Sivation also throws in citrulline malate. This amino acid increases nitric oxide levels, leaving lifters more pumped and increasing blood flow. Those looking for a great pre-workout and BCAA hybrid will love the energy kick and rehydrating properties of this one.
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On the other hand, those looking for the best BCAA supplements without extra additives might look past the Xtend Energy. Those sensitive to the effects of caffeine or those taking additional pre-workout supplements will want to avoid a BCAA blend with added stimulants such as caffeine.

PRICING AND WHERE TO BUY
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The Xtend Energy can also be purchased directly from Scivation or on Amazon. A little costlier than MuschePharm’s Essential, a 30 serving tub of Xtend Energy will cost between $26 and $30. The Amazon star rating is a fabulous 4.2 out of 5 stars, with raving reviews on flavor. However, Scivation seems to lack a comprehensive refund policy like MusclePharm’s.

GOLIATH BY DR. EMIL BCAA PLUS

An emerging hot-shot on the supplement stage, Dr. Emil has created one of the best BCAA, and L-glutamine mixes on the market. A nutritionist, doctor and former bodybuilder, you can see why many gym enthusiasts trust Dr. Emil for their supplement needs.

An emerging hot-shot on the supplement stage, Dr. Emil has created one of the best BCAA, and L-glutamine mixes on the market. A nutritionist, doctor and former bodybuilder, you can see why many gym enthusiasts trust Dr. Emil for their supplement needs.

PROS AND CONS

Those looking to avoid the messy spills and hassle of powder-based BCAA supplements will love BCAA Plus’ capsule form. The dosages are easy to measure and can be consumed without a protein shaker. BCAA Plus’ 3.2 gram combined amino acid quantities are also one of the highest available in capsule form. The added L-glutamine is also very popular among those looking for additional anti-catabolic properties.

For many, the best BCAA supplements are in powder form, taken during the workout. Those who don’t enjoy swallowing five large capsules daily will be better to stick to powder alternatives. Due to the size restraints of capsule variants, this supplement also has the lowest quantity of amino acids per serving.

PRICING AND WHERE TO BUY

Dr. Emil’s BCAAs can also be purchased directly from their website or on Amazon. A tub of 30 servings will cost between $21 and $23. This product has an astounding 4.7 out of 5 Amazon star rating, one of the best BCAA supplements ratings in capsule form. Dr. Emil claims to have a money-back guarantee on all of their products, however, lacks a comprehensive refund policy like MusclePharm.

NUTRICOST BCAA

Exercise enthusiasts looking for a no-frills and budget-friendly BCAA supplement can’t look past Nutricost. A simple and effective BCAA supplement that won’t empty your wallet. Utilizing the standard 2:1:1 ratio, a 6-gram serving will provide 3 grams of leucine, 1.5 grams of isoleucine and 1.5 grams of valine. The powder is available in seven different flavors, a taste for every preference.

PROS AND CONS

Those looking to cut costs on supplements will love the budget-friendly price of Ntricost BCAA. With larger servings than MusclePharms’ product, this screams bargain. There is also an unflavored option for those that want to avoid additional artificial additives.

Although a budget and the no-frills product is great, many gym goers want a little more bang for their buck. This product might not be the best option for anybody looking for added energy or complementary amino acids included. Those loyal to popular fitness brands might also be a little wary of low-cost brands such as Nutricost.

PRICING AND WHERE TO BUY

Nutricost BCAA is available for purchase on Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. The cheapest of the bunch, this one will set you back between $12 and $17. An Amazon star rating of 4.0 out of 5 also inspires confidence in a product lacking a big brand name. Furthermore, Nutricost includes a 90-day money-back guarantee if you are not happy with their product.

MUSCLETECH AMINO BUILD NEXT GEN

MuscleTech has designed a BCAA supplement that does it all. This one will surely be a hit for those that want the most out of the best BCAA supplements.

Amino Build is an enormous eight gram serving of 2:1:1 BCAAs. With the highest quantity of leucine out of the other best BCAA alternatives, Amino Build doesn’t stop there. MuscleTech has also jammed in other essential amino acids such as taurine, glutamine, and alanine. As if that wasn’t enough, MuscleTech also boasts a considerable 2.5-gram dose of betaine per serving. This product is available in five different flavors.

PROS AND CONS

If value and an all-in-one BCAA solution are what you’re after, Amino Build is a great option. MuscleTech boasts that adding several more essential amino acids increases strength, recovery and athletic ability more than the conventional three strained BCAA mix. The lack of any stimulants or creatine makes this one of the best BCAA solutions to intra-workout supplements.

Although there is science suggesting that amino acid combinations deliver exceptional results, many are apprehensive about supplements with too many ingredients. Those looking for a conventional and straightforward BCAA supplement might prefer Nutricost or MusclePharm’s alternatives. Due to the packed ingredients, two scoops are also required for a single serving, meaning more powder and more potential mess.

PRICING AND WHERE TO BUY

Like the alternatives, Amino Build is also available for purchase from the manufacturer and on Amazon. This supplement sells between $15 and $20 and has an excellent Amazon star rating of 4.2 out of 5. Included in the purchase is also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRAIN LONGER AND GROW STRONGER WITH THE BEST BCAA SUPPLEMENT

Our pick for the best BCAA supplement is MuscleTech’s Amino Build. Those looking for plenty of muscle building extras, added essential amino acids, and a great price simply can’t look past this option. The lack of stimulants pushes this option one step in front of the Xtend Energy to take the prize for best BCAA supplement. However, we understand that a lot of the time, simple is better. Putting the “essential” in essential amino acids, Nutricost’s make one of the best BCAA supplements that are budget-friendly and do the job without the bloated extras. Whatever you are looking for in a BCAA supplement, these two options are sure to be a hit in the gym.

Image Source: Unsplash.com
Image Source: Unsplash.com

Although BCAA supplements typically rate as safe, there is evidence to suggest that they could reduce the saturation of other essential amino acids if taken in excess. Like anything in the world of supplements and muscle growth, it is crucial only to consume what is recommended by the manufacturer.

Do you swear by BCAA supplements for muscle building results? Which supplements have you found to be most effective? Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Source:  Pexels.com

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