Best BCAA Supplements For Muscle Growth & Recovery (Updated 2022)

strong man

These BCAA supplements are sure to enhance training and performance through their ability to grow muscle and increase recovery.

Branch chain amino acids, or BCAAs, have long sat on shelves as popular supplements for athletes of all experience levels to boost their training and improve all aspects of a workout and recovery regimen. Working to enhance muscle growth, reduce muscle soreness and exercise fatigue, and prevent muscle wasting, BCAAs hold a variety of benefits for your health and performance.

What Are BCAAs?

Amino acids are organic compounds which provide the foundation for protein. There are 20 amino acids that make up protein, but of those 20, nine are considered essential amino acids which are not produced by the body but are essential for muscle growth. Three of these essential amino acids are branch chain amino acids (BCAAs): isoleucine, leucine, and valine. Differing in their chemical structures, BCAAs work to stimulate protein synthesis and increase that much desired muscle growth.

The three branched-chain amino acids are:

  • Leucine: Helps with protein synthesis and boosts growth hormone which promotes muscle gains and support of healthy muscles (1).
  • Isoleucine: Tackles some fat burning needs to aid in that desired change to body composition by using stored fat for fuel (2).
  • Valine: Works against tryptophan, an amino acid producing serotonin, to delay fatigue and keep you working hard (3).

BCAAs matter because they work to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, along with help from essential amino acids (EAAs). As a great supplement to use for intra-workout needs, all of the benefits to growth, recovery, delayed fatigue, and body composition changes will work to give you the most out of every workout. We all know we need a protein supplement and pre-workout and having an intra-workout product to boost our gains during the workout is icing on top.

fat burners belly fat muscle maintenance weight loss energy boost muscle breakdown

Benefits Of BCAAs

  • Increase muscle growth: Repair, grow and add new muscle tissue and aid in the process of protein synthesis (4).
  • Reduce fatigue: Decrease levels of tryptophan in the brain and raise levels of serotonin.
  • Decrease muscle soreness: Lowers levels of key enzymes that play a role in exercise-induced muscle damage to improve recovery (5).
  • Prevents muscle wasting: Restores lost amino acids in the muscles to keep them primed.

We put together a list of the Best BCAA Supplements out there to give you the best chance at finding one that works for you and all of your performance goals. From reputable and high-quality brands, these will surely work for your muscle-building and performance enhancing goals.

Best BCAA Supplements For 2022


Best BCAA Powder Overall

When looking for the best BCAA supplement around, it can hard to find one with great ingredients, an advanced formula, and proven benefits. But with a supplement like this from Performance Lab, it is possible to have the best of all worlds.

National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA

Total BCAAs 4,000mg
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 45
Serving Size 1 scoop
Best Way To Take Mix 1/2 scoop with 9-10 oz. of your desired beverage pre- or post-workout, or between meals.

National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA is one of those supplements you need to upgrade strength, endurance, and recovery faster than before. Naturally sourced ingredients and a side effect free guarantee, this formula will work to build muscle and recovery, stop muscle breakdown, boost athletic performance, and is great for all types of training. Tested and formulated from clinical studies, this supplement is safe for all your performance and recovery needs.

A great ratio of the BCAAs L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine will work for muscle endurance and hypertrophy in the gym. Containing 1,000mg of glutamine, this will prove to be more than beneficial in repair, recovery and fighting off inflammation. The added bonus of this BCAA supplement is vitamin B6, one of the key players in muscle growth. It can promote red blood cell count, boost the amount of oxygen in your muscles, and enhance nitric oxide for performance and endurance (3). By elevating your overall athletic lifestyle and keeping you going, National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA is the best for reducing fatigue and keeping you going strong.

National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA is great for improving strength, endurance, and recovery. Naturally sourced ingredients are put into an awesome formula for the best results.

Pros

  • A clean ratio of BCAAs
  • 45 servings is appealing with added glutamine and vitamin B6
  • Non-GMO and gluten free
  • No harmful additives

Cons

  • Only sells directly from their website
  • Only ships to American and Canadian customers
  • The only flavor is fruit punch

Price: $38.00

Check out our individual review for National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA here!


Best For Muscle Gain

While BCAA supplements can work for a number of benefits, repair and recovery are vital benefits to keep in mind. This can ensure you see growth and bounce back faster for better workouts.

Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine

Total BCAAs 8,000mg
Calories 10
Carbs 2g
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 1 Scoop
Best Way To Take Take 1 scoop with 10-12 oz. of water before or during your workout.

Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine offers all the benefits of a BCAA supplement with the added benefit of L-glutamine in the formula. Designed for the best BCAA for repair and recovery, Transparent Labs has crafted a 100% clean formula with a transparent label so you know exactly what you are getting. With 5 active ingredients, CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine works with a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs for all of the intended effects and benefits. The added bonus of this supplement is 5,000mg of glutamine which works to build muscle, inhibit protein breakdown, and reduce fatigue.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine is designed for repair and recovery and is a 100% clean formula. With 5 great ingredients, the added glutamine works for better growth and reduced fatigue.

Pros

  • Fully transparent label and honest ingredients
  • From a reputable company in Transparent Labs
  • Clinically dosed ingredients with no harmful additives
  • High amount of glutamine and additional coconut water powder are great

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Only available through their website
  • Must mix it well to avoid grittiness

Price: $39.99

Check out our individual review for Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine here!


Best For Performance

While these supplements will all help with performance, having one specifically designed to optimize your goals is huge. With innovative formulas, these products like Pro Contest can seriously boost your gains.

Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA

Total BCAAs 5,000mg
Calories N/A
Carbs N/A
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 1 Scoop
Best Way To Take Mix one scoop with 8-12 fl. oz. of cold water or your beverage of choice 1-2 times daily.

Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA is a great intra-workout supplement designed to increase performance by maximizing hydration and recovery. A great 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs work with other ingredients like EAAs, glutamine, betaine, coconut water powder, and a host of others to round out an all-star formula that will deliver results. After those hard workouts, you need a supplement that will replenish lost minerals and electrolytes as well as one to fight muscle breakdown so that lean physique stays together.

Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA is a great intra-workout supplement designed for hydration and recovery. A great 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs is matched by other ingredients to deliver a powerful formula for results.

Pros

  • Great 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs to optimize performance
  • Clean and effective ingredients to round out a great formula
  • Amazing flavors to never grow bored of the taste
  • From a reputable company in Cellucor

Cons

  • Does contain some artificial flavors and sweeteners for those looking to go all-natural

Price: $24.99

Check out our review for Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA here!


Best Vegan BCAAs

For those looking for vegan options either by lifestyle choice or curiosity, it is possible to find them. Working with certain ingredients and manufacturing processes ensure these supplements are conducive to any diet.

Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine

Total BCAAs 8,000mg
Calories 10
Carbs 2g
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 1 Scoop
Best Way To Take Take 1 scoop with 10-12 oz. of water before or during your workout.

Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine offers all the benefits of a BCAA supplement with the added benefit of L-glutamine in the formula. Designed for the best BCAA for repair and recovery, Transparent Labs has crafted a 100% clean formula with a transparent label so you know exactly what you are getting. With 5 active ingredients, CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine works with a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs for all of the intended effects and benefits. The added bonus of this supplement is 5,000mg of glutamine which works to build muscle, inhibit protein breakdown, and reduce fatigue.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine is designed for repair and recovery and is a 100% clean formula. With 5 great ingredients, the added glutamine works for better growth and reduced fatigue.

Pros

  • Fully transparent label and honest ingredients
  • From a reputable company in Transparent Labs
  • Clinically dosed ingredients with no harmful additives
  • High amount of glutamine and additional coconut water powder are great

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Only available through their website
  • Must mix it well to avoid grittiness

Price: $39.99

Check out our individual review for Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine here!


Best For Repair & Recovery

Along with recovery, you want your BCAA supplement to assist you with muscle gains. Kaged Muscle has a great product designed for your toughest workouts to really boost muscle.

Kaged Muscle In-Kaged

Total BCAAs 5g
Calories 5
Carbs 1g
Number Of Servings 20
Serving Size 1 scoop
Best Way To Take Take 1 scoop with desired beverage.

Kaged Muscle In-Kaged is solid intra-workout supplement to fuel even your toughest workouts. Formulated to maximize endurance, provide unstoppable energy, and provide for muscle pumps, this product will keep you going strong all the way through training. As a health forward brand, Kaged Muscle keeps performance in mind for both men and women who want results with a clean product. Award winning and third party tested, this supplement is accurate and comes from a reputable company.

No artificial additives or fillers is matched with 9 ingredients each placed in one of three powerful matrix mixes. A ratio of 2:1:1 BCAAs powers the Muscle Fuel Matrix to give you all the growth and strength gains you hope to see. The Endura-Pump Matrix contains L-citrulline, beta-alanine and coconut water powder, while the Neuro-Energy Matrix consists of taurine, L-tyrosine, and caffeine.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Kaged Muscle In-Kaged is a great intra-workout product for endurance, energy, and muscle pumps. Nine ingredients and a 2:1:1 ratio assist with all your strength goals.

Pros

  • Solid ingredients have great effects on your muscles and energy
  • Three matrices are nice to effectively use the ingredients

Cons

  • Price is slightly higher compared to others
  • Often times doesn’t mix the best
  • The label doesn’t fully disclose any added ingredients

Price: $27.99

Use code GENIRON10 for 10% off!


Best Intra-Workout

While you can take BCAA products on either end of your workout, having one that is geared for those mid-workout needs is awesome. This will ensure no gains go to waste as you work those muscles hard.

Enhanced Anabolic IV

Total BCAAs 8,000mg (plus 1,750mg EAAs)
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 20
Serving Size 2 scoops
Best Way To Take Take 2 scoops any time of day.

Enhanced Labs Anabolic IV is a great BCAA supplement for those serious about muscle gains. Providing everything you need from a muscle-building and recovery supplement, Anabolic IV ensures you get all of those critical BCAAs as well as additional essential amino acids. Other great benefits of Anabolic IV are increasing fat burning, supporting optimal hormone balance, and decreasing fatigue while elevating endurance performance.

Packed with 23 highly effective ingredients, this product can promote protein synthesis and decrease fatigue to keep your workouts as ferocious as they need to be to see great gains. This advanced formula has six blends to really deliver all of the benefits. They include: clinically dosed amino acid blend, nitric oxide blend, non-stimulant nootropic blend, electrolyte blend, B vitamin blend, and a fat oxidation and muscle insulin sensitivity blend.

Enhanced Anabolic IV is for those serious about building muscle and boosting recovery. With 23 highly effective ingredients, six blends work to tackle all of your needs.

Pros

  • Effective ingredients and great blends
  • Contains EAAs as well to encourage muscle growth
  • Price is good

Cons

  • There are a lot of ingredients for a BCAA product so diligent research is required

Price: $64.99

Check out our individual review for Enhanced Labs Anabolic IV here!


Best For Women

Finding the right product for women is important for your needs may be slightly different than men. With certain ingredients at specific dosages, it is great to have top tier options out there.

IdealFit Ideallean BCAAs For Women

Total BCAAs 3,000mg
Calories 10
Carbs 3g
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 1 scoop
Best Way To Take Mix 1 scoop with 8-16 oz. of water.

IdealFit Ideallean BCAAs for Women is a solid women’s BCAA supplement to provide high quality BCAAs with a great fat loss blend. Zero carbs, fat, or calories is a great benefit to this supplement to keep you dedicated to your fitness journey. Specifically designed for women, this BCAA supplement will maximize weight loss and kickstart lean muscle growth and is perfect for those looking to improve muscle recovery, burn fat, and build that lean muscle.

Full of vitamins and minerals, as well as those desired BCAAs, the Fat Loss Blend consists of 8 ingredients including CLA, L-citrulline, and L-glutamine. CLA works to aid in weight loss as well as improve exercise performance, while L-citrulline can decrease fatigue and muscle soreness while also increasing exercise capacity. L-glutamine has a huge role in protein synthesis for that lean muscle growth and also stops muscle degradation and reduces fatigue. With great ingredients and proven results, IdealFit Ideallean BCAAs For Women is a great supplement designed for her.

IdealFit Ideallean BCAAs For Women provides high quality BCAAs with a unique fat loss blend. Packed with vitamins and minerals, 8 ingredients work well with this advanced formula.

Pros

  • Good ratio of BCAAs and great dose of B vitamins
  • Designed specifically for women
  • Benefits of weight loss and improved circulation are an added bonus

Cons

  • Price is okay
  • Some of the ingredients are under-dosed

Price: $27.97

Check out our individual review for IdealFit IdealLean BCAAs For Women here!


Best Long-Lasting Results

You want your gains to stay and BCAA supplements can help keep those results long lasting. Premium products like Intra Surge are perfect for achieving that.

Jacked Factory Intra Surge

Total BCAAs 5g
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 20
Serving Size 1 scoop
Best Way To Take Mix 1 scoop with 12-20 oz. of water and consume during your workout.

Jacked Factory Intra Surge is a premium intra workout supplement backed by science designed to boost muscle tissue growth and inhibit muscle tissue breakdown. Other benefits include increasing energy, focus, and stamina, as well as workout performance. Great for anyone from every day gym-goers to elite athletes, Intra Surge can be taken before, during, or after training to really peak performance.

With 8 ingredients, this formula is great when mixed with water and has a good tasting flavors included as well. Premium ingredients and quality research are backed by a money back guarantee and the promise of quality care. Manufactured in the United States, their facilities are cGMP certified and able to support their mission to bring good quality supplement to athletes.

Jacked Factory Intra Surge is a premium intra-workout supplement designed for focus, energy, and stamina. With 8 ingredients, this formula is designed for peak performance.

Pros

  • Five grams of BCAAs
  • Tastes great
  • Effective for muscle soreness and recovery

Cons

  • Very powdery and chalky in texture
  • May be overhyped as a product
  • Those tolerant to stimulants won’t feel much of an increase in energy

Price: $29.99


Best For Focus

With increased focus, your level of alertness towards your workout is greatly enhanced. This will keep you motivated and determined to get the most out of every workout.

Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy Powder

Total BCAAs 5,000mg
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 2 scoops
Best Way To Take Mix two scoops with desired beverage.

Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy is a complete formula for energy, lean muscle, and recovery. Perfect for before, during, or after your workout, this formula is packed with 5 grams of BCAAs, as well as natural energizers, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. You can use anytime for serious benefits to your training and performance including muscle building, endurance training, and enhanced focus.

With many ingredients packed into this advanced formula, all of your bases are covered from growth, recovery, hydration, and reduced fatigue. With 5 grams of pure BCAAs, as well as natural stimulants and antioxidants, your health and wellness just got a serious boost along with your performance. Zero sugar, carbs and calories makes this conducive to any diet and worth your money to advance your gains.

Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy Powder is a complete formula for energy, lean muscle, and recovery. With natural energizers, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals, this advanced formula is perfect for training and performance.

Pros

  • Good taste
  • No irritable feelings that cause anxiety
  • No sugar or carbs is great for all diets
  • Fairly great taste, although some flavors may be a touch sweeter than expected

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide as much energy as it could
  • Stimulant doses could be slightly higher
  • Does contain sucralose

Price: $21.99

strong man

How Much Are These BCAAs?

Finding the right BCAAs for your gains while also being affordable can be challenging. Of course, those more premium options will cost more money so knowing how much it is per serving may help make your decision a little easier. We’ve broken down our list so you can see the overall price and price per serving as you compare amongst our Best BCAAs list.

Category Product Price Why We Love It
Best BCAA Powder Overall National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA Price: $38.00

Per Serving: $0.84

A clean ratio of BCAAs with added ingredients and no harmful additives.
Best BCAA For Muscle Gain Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine Price: $39.99

Per Serving: $1.33

Fully transparent label and honest ingredients with the added benefit of glutamine.
Best BCAA For Performance Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA Price: $24.99

Per Serving: $0.83

Clean and effective ingredients with a great formula and amazing formulas.
Best Vegan BCAA Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine Price: $39.99

Per Serving: $1.33

Fully transparent label and honest ingredients with the added benefit of glutamine.
Best BCAA For Repair & Recovery Kaged Muscle In-Kaged Price: $27.99

Per Serving: $1.40

Great ingredients for muscle strength and energy with a 2:1:1 ratio.
Best Intra-Workout BCAA Enhanced Anabolic IV Price: $64.99

Per Serving: $1.08

Effective ingredients with EAAs for efficient muscle growth.
Best BCAA For Women IdealFit Ideallean BCAAs For Women Price: $27.97

Per Serving: $0.93

Good ratio of BCAAs perfect for weight loss and circulation for women.
Best BCAA For Long-Lasting Results Jacked Factory Intra Surge Price: $29.99

Per Serving: $1.50

Great taste with good ingredients for muscle soreness and recovery.
Best BCAA For Focus Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy Powder Price: $21.99

Per Serving: $0.73

No irritable feelings while having a good taste with no sugars or carbs.

What To Consider Before Buying

Before buying your BCAA supplement, there are some important factors to consider so you get the best product possible.

Ratio Of BCAAs

With these supplements, having an effective ratio of BCAAs is important as you seek the best for all your gains. A 2:1:1 ratio is ideal for this will optimize absorption so all those benefits are seen no problem.

Added Ingredients

Looking to added ingredients, like EAAs or others, will only help see those benefits really take off. With the right approach to all things training and nutrition, you can see huge gains as companies seek to put only the best ingredients into your supplements.

Price & Price Per Serving

Supplements can get expensive and having the right product on your shelf can get pricy. But it is possible to find those premium products at an affordable price so you can make gains and not break the bank.

BCAA

How We Choose

Looking at a long list of BCAA supplements, the driving factors behind this list was reputability of the brand, price, and the amount of BCAAs included in the product. You should absolutely have the best brands representing your supplementation routine and it can be challenging to find the right supplements for you. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to get the best products and most reputable companies onto this list. For price, we looked for options that wouldn’t break the bank, but still offered the best in terms of product. For the amount of BCAAs, we wanted to make sure there was enough in the product, as well as a good ratio, to ensure this supplement works for your benefit. Too little of dosages and it wouldn’t seem worth it, so we sought the best for you to get the most.

FAQ Section

What is the best BCAA supplement to take for safety and effectiveness?

National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA. This supplement comes from an amazing company in National Bodybuilding Co. and is great for enhancing strength, endurance, and recovery faster. Clean ingredients and an effective formula makes this an amazing BCAA product.

What does BCAAs stand for and what are they?

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The three branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three are essential amino acids (EAAs) that are structured differently than the other six EAAs. In all, there are 20 amino acids that make up the foundation of protein. Of those 20, nine are essential amino acids, and of those nine, there are three branched-chain amino acids.

Why do I need a BCAA supplement?

BCAAs have serious value in enhancing your training and performance. Benefits include increasing muscle growth, reducing fatigue, decreasing muscle soreness, and preventing muscle wasting so your gains are not totally destroyed.

When should I take a BCAA supplement?

You can take a BCAA supplement before, during, or after your workout. Typically, athletes enjoy using these as an intra-workout beverage and BCAAs pair nicely with a pre-workout supplement for energy and pumps and a protein supplement for promoting growth and recovery.

Wrap Up

Supplementing with BCAAs will really work to enhance your overall performance as an intra-workout tool. With benefits like muscle growth, maintenance, and preservation, increased recovery, and reducing muscle soreness, BCAAs can work to improve your overall strength and performance to keep you seeing great gains and staying on top of your game. Check out these BCAA supplements from great companies who produce high quality products for your personal growth and development and watch your muscle-building and performance enhancing goals elevate to new levels.

Generation Iron may receive commissions on purchases made through our links. See our disclosure page for more information.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

References

  1. Blomstrand, Eva; Eliasson, Jorgen; Karlsson, Hakan K. R.; Kohnke, Rickard (2006). “Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise”. (source)
  2. Luo, Yanhong; Zhang, Xin; Zhu, Zhengpeng; Jiao, Ning; Qiu, Kai; Yin, Jingdong (2018). “Surplus dietary isoleucine intake enhanced monounsaturated fatty acid synthesis and fat accumulation in skeletal muscle of finishing pigs”. (source)
  3. Tsuda, Yuichi; Iwasawa, Kaori; Yamaguchi, Makoto (2018). “Acute supplementation of valine reduces fatigue during swimming exercise in rats”. (source)
  4. Negro, M.; Giardina, S.; Marzani, B.; Marzatico, F. (2008). “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system”. (source)
  5. Shimomura, Yoshiharu; Yamamoto, Yuko; Bajotto, Gustavo; Sato, Juichi; Murakami, Taro; Shimomura, Noriko; Kobayashi, Hisamine; Mawatari, Kazunori (2006). “Nutraceutical Effects of Branched-Chain Amino Acids on Skeletal Muscle”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.