Keep the gains coming this year with a good BCAA supplement!
BCAAs may not rank up there with protein powders and creatine but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on them.
They have a purpose in our biology and are, in fact, responsible for creating the much beloved macronutrient, protein; which is essential for muscle gains and other bodily processes.
But there’s a lot more to BCAAs concerning the benefits and it’s worth taking a high-quality supplement, to give yourself a little boost! And you should know enough about them to decide which would be best for your needs and goals.
So, that’s where some helpful information and a list of awesome BCAA products for 2019, comes in handy…
What Exactly Are BCAAs?
BCAA is short for branched-chain amino acids which are composed of three amino acids among nine in total.
These are the three BCAAs…
The name “Branched-Chain Amino Acids” comes from the chemical structure and they are essential amino acids…
Now, BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, so if you want to put on muscle, then you’ll need plenty of them. But, you can get them from food and supplements, however; supplementation is shown to have additional benefits.
But, regardless, you must get BCAAs from your diet because our bodies cannot produce them like it can the other non-essential amino acids. (1)
The foods which contain BCAAs include:
- Dairy (Milk, cheese, yogurt)
Red meat and dairy contain the highest amounts of BCAAs and this should be a dietary focus if you’re not vegetarian/vegan.
And BCAA sports supplements are ideal for very active people. So taking additional, high-quality BCAAs will ensure you’re replenishing your efforts from training.
Leucine is the most important BCAA for protein synthesis which is necessary for muscle growth. But, studies are limited on BCAA effectiveness when taken alone. (2)
However, there is evidence to support increases in protein synthesis when BCAAs and other essential amino acids are ingested together. Another study showed a 22% increase in muscle protein synthesis when 5.6g of BCAAs were taken post-workout. (3)
But with a little protein in combination with leucine and other essential amino acids, the muscle protein synthesis was significantly higher. (4)
Muscle breakdown prevention
BCAA consumption before and after exercise showed less exercise-induced muscle damage and increased protein synthesis in one study. This is because BCAA catabolism occurs during activity and therefore replenishing these nutrients is essential. (5)
Since each pound of lean muscle burns more calories than fat mass, losing body fat is an obvious benefit of BCAA consumption.
But higher BCAA intake also showed a lower prevalence of overweight individuals in East Asian and Western countries in healthy middle-aged adults. (6)
Reduction in Exercise-induced Fatigue
BCAAs may have a positive effect on fatigue which results from exercise sessions. 5-HT (Serotonin) causes fatigue as it crosses the blood-brain barrier during exercise. But when tryptophan (Serotonin precursor) increases 5-HT in the brain, we need more BCAAs to counteract the fatigue. (7)
How Much BCAAs Should I Take Every Day?
According to the University of Michigan, 25–65 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight is adequate in most cases. But, leucine should be in higher doses based on its muscle protein synthesis benefits. (8)
So, get your BCAAs from foods but consider supplementing for additional benefits.
And while we’re on the subject of supplements… here’s our list of the most effective BCAA products you can get this year.
Best BCAA Supplements in 2019 So far…
ALLMAX Nutrition AminoCore
ALLMAX AminoCore supplies a massive amount of BCAAs with 8,180mg per serving with a 9:6:5 ratio. There’s also a lot of good B-vitamins to support cellular energy and DNA health and guess what?… You don’t have to dig for the scoop anymore. (9)
There’s a locking mechanism (Scoop-Lock) which allows you to secure your scoop so that it’ll be right where you left it. And the INSTACLEAR technology makes mixing a lot smoother!
You won’t be let down with AminoCore BCAAs as they the brand has a great track record of making excellent products…
Price: $32/44 servings
- MuscleTech Amino Build Next Gen Energizer
Each serving of Amino Build Next Gen supplies 8g of BCAAs. But there’s a little more to this product than just any BCAA supplements, and that’s the energy boost it’ll give you. With 100mg of natural caffeine, you’ll be able to keep trucking along in your daily activities and workouts.
But there’s also a 2.5g dose of Betaine and taurine for increased cardiovascular performance. And MuscleTech claims a group of Betaine users gained 3.7lbs of lean muscle in a study when compared to Subject who did not take it.
So, you’re getting so much in this great product that it’d be impossible to not see some great results!
Price: $22/30 servings
- Racked Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Himalayan salt, L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, and Gamma-butyrobetaine HCL all work together to give you the results you’re expecting.
Himalayan salt contains hydrating electrolytes while containing 84 trace minerals but it’s a lot healthier than table salt. Then, L-Carnitine plays a role in energy metabolism. And Acetyl L-Carnitine has a similar effect of L-Carnitine as it metabolizes food, but it also has mental function benefits. (12, 13)
Gamma-butyrobetaine HCL increases carnitine in the body which is naturally produced. (14)
Price: $41/30 servings
- Lion Edge Nutrition BCAA Edge
Lion Edge was founded by physicians and that means their products are formulated as such. There’s no duck feathers or hair anywhere to found and you won’t find any artificial ingredients either as the BCAAs are naturally fermented.
But a big ingredient here is the velositol and the company claims 25% more muscle protein synthesis with the addition of this new substance.
AminoZorb technology allows you to mix the powder with relative ease which is always a big plus with any supplement! BCAA Edge tastes phenomenal with zero sugar, and the added electrolytes will keep your cells sufficiently hydrated during your physical activities.
Lion Edge Nutrition has an amazing product with the 2:1:1 BCAA Edge!
Price: $30/30 servings
- Revel Recovery for Women
Plus, the collagen supports joint health and coconut water powder keeps you hydrated throughout the day and during your activities. And then you have HMB for decreasing muscle soreness increasing muscle gains.
So, Revel is a power-packed BCAA product and you’ll also enjoy the flavor while reaping the benefits of the quality ingredients!
Price: $28/30 servings
- Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules
And “Do Vitamins” are some of the best, seeing as they’re the number 1 ranked BCAA capsule product on Labdoor. But, these caps are clean with no artificial anything and they only contain high-quality BCAAs with no other ingredients.
Do Vitamins caps are vegan and the company offers a money-back guarantee if the product does not meet your expectations. So, there’s really nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain… like muscle and strength!
Price: $24/90 capsules
- Dymatize BCAA Complex 2200 Caplets
The time-released caplets give you BCAAs at a more even rate of delivery which is very beneficial the more active you are. B2, B6, and vitamin C are essential for overall health and the 2:1:1 ratio is pretty standard. There are 2,200mg of BCAAs per serving and people who prefer taking swallowing pills will appreciate the potency.
Price: $14/200 caplets or 50 servings
- Evlution Nutrition Ultra Premium BCAA5000
With 5 grams of BCAAs per serving and a 2:1:1 ratio, BCA5000 isn’t the most complex supplement as it only contains BCAAs. But with good ingredients, great taste, and mixability… something simple is all you need.
Evlution Nutrition is a reputable brand and their products are quality. So, rest assured you’re getting good BCAAs at an affordable price.
Price: $17/30 servings
- Beyond Raw Precision BCAAs
There’s 10 grams of potent BCAAs in this formula which will undoubtedly support you in reaching your goals. But, 2.5g of betaine should help provide potential performance benefits, and the 2g of velositol potentially has muscle-growth and recovery benefits like mentioned previously.
So, this is a potent product designed for the person who is really looking for a serious nutritional aid.
Price: $38/30 servings
- Goliath By Dr. Emil BCAA Plus Glutamine Capsules
If you want a really high dose of BCAAs in a capsule then you won’t need to look elsewhere. “Goliath By Dr. Emil” caps contain a 3200mg dose of BCAAs with a 2:1:1 ratio. Plus, each capsule has 1,500mg of recovery-promoting glutamine.
Now, glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body and it’s produced in the muscles. It’s important for immune health and may have some benefits for muscle recovery and reduced soreness after a workout, according to studies. (15, 16, 17)
So, this stack is pretty effective with the many benefits it offers.
Price: $24/150 capsules
Are There Side Effects From Using BCAAs?
Well, essentially all nutritional supplements come with the possibility of experiencing side effects. But, BCAAs are generally safe supplements and any side effects which may occur are not reflective of the majority of users.
Side effects may include:
- High blood pressure
Who Should Take BCAAs?
Anyone with a clean bill of health should be good to go. But, if you suffer with any known health conditions, then it’s best to seek the advice of a Doctor prior to introducing any supplements into your nutritional regime.
Athletes and active people in general will benefit more so than a sedentary person. But BCAAs are still important amino acids overall since our bodies do not make them.
These 10 effective supplements are as good as it gets for quality BCAAs and everyone should be able to find one which suits their needs.
If you’re new to sports nutrition, then go basic. But if you have more experience with training and supplementation, then there are some really great options for you.
But, we’ll always preach that everyone is different and you’ve got to experiment a little to find what works best for you. And now you know a little more about what branched-chain amino acids actually are and their function.
So, you can use BCAAs as a tool in your training arsenal to help you reach your goals safely and effectively!
1-“Branched-Chain Amino Acids: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.
2-J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):227S-31S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.1.227S.PMID: 16365087 DOI: 10.1093/jn/136.1.227S
3-Front Physiol. 2017 Jun 7;8:390. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00390. eCollection 2017.PMID: 28638350 PMCID: PMC5461297 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00390
4-J Physiol. 2012 Jun 1;590(11):2751-65. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.228833. Epub 2012 Mar 25.PMID: 22451437 PMCID: PMC3424729 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.228833
5-J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6 Suppl):1583S-1587S. doi: 10.1093/jn/134.6.1583S. PMID: 15173434 DOI: 10.1093/jn/134.6.1583S
6-J Nutr. 2011 Feb; 141(2): 249–254. Published online 2010 Dec 15. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.128520. PMCID: PMC3021443. PMID: 21169225
7-“Feeling Tired BCAAs and the Central Fatigue Hypothesis”. Team USA.
8-“Branched-Chain Amino Acids | Michigan Medicine”. www.uofmhealth.org.
9- Services, Department of Health & Human. “Vitamin B”. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
10-“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B6”. ods.od.nih.gov.
11-“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12”. ods.od.nih.gov.
12- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Carnitine”. ods.od.nih.gov.
13-“Acetyl-L-Carnitine | Michigan Medicine”. www.uofmhealth.org.
15-“Glutamine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.
16-Eplasty. 2009; 9: e9.Published online 2009 Feb 3.PMCID: PMC2642618. PMID: 19274069
17-Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015 Oct;25(5):417-26. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209. Epub 2015 Mar 26.PMID: 25811544 DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209
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