Best BCAA Supplements For Muscle Growth & Recovery (Updated 2021)

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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.

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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 top 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 2021


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 active ingredients both clinically researched and dosed, there are zero harmful additives to this BCAA supplement. Each serving of 14 grams is designed to stimulate protein synthesis, reduce muscle fatigue, and enhance your overall performance, all while aiding in recovery and repair.

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. Glutamine is a naturally occurring nonessential amino acid and is the most abundant free amino acid in human muscle. It plays a major role in protein synthesis, inhibiting protein breakdown and muscle degradation, and reducing fatigue while providing immune health (5). Placed into this great formula is coconut water powder which is a rich source of electrolytes with a host of other overall health benefits.  Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine is a solid option for all of your recovery and repair needs.

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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
  • From a reputable company
  • 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: $39.00

Use the promo code GENIRON10 for 10% off!


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.

Performance Lab SPORT BCAA

Total BCAAs 3,000mg
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 20
Serving Size 6 NutriCaps
Best Way To Take Take 2-4 capsules 45-60 minutes pre-workout and reload with 2-4 capsules immediately post-workout.

Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a versatile performance and muscle boosting supplement in the convenience of a capsule. SPORT BCAA can elevate strength and endurance, block muscle breakdown and soreness, and optimize muscle growth and recovery. For healthy daily use, it can support immune defenses and is a safe, natural way to support your overall training regimen. Performance Lab’s NutriGenesis technology is innovative and mirrors the natural processes found in nature in their lab to produce high quality and easily absorbed nutrients.

With a solid ratio of 2:1:1 of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine, it makes this supplement very easy to absorb and makes it versatile for all athletes. L-leucine works with protein synthesis and muscle growth, L-isoleucine helps transport oxygen to muscles and support healing, while L-valine optimizes muscle tissue growth and repair. As a result of the easy absorption and ability to refuel quickly, Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a great supplement for that boost in performance.

Performance Lab BCAA is a versatile and muscle boosting supplement perfect for optimizing growth. A ratio of 2:1:1 makes this easy to absorb and all around effective.

Pros

  • Great ratio of BCAAs
  • 5 ingredients total
  • Clean and vegan friendly formula
  • Innovative NutriGenesis process ensures all of those nutrients are properly absorbed

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Can only buy directly from their website

Price: $35.10


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.

Performance Lab SPORT BCAA

Total BCAAs 3000mg
Calories 0
Carbs 0g
Number Of Servings 20
Serving Size 6 NutriCaps
Best Way To Take Take 2-4 capsules 45-60 minutes pre-workout and reload with 2-4 capsules immediately post-workout.

Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a versatile performance and muscle boosting supplement in the convenience of a capsule. SPORT BCAA can elevate strength and endurance, block muscle breakdown and soreness, and optimize muscle growth and recovery. For healthy daily use, it can support immune defenses and is a safe, natural way to support your overall training regimen. Performance Lab’s NutriGenesis technology is innovative and mirrors the natural processes found in nature in their lab to produce high quality and easily absorbed nutrients.

With a solid ratio of 2:1:1 of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine, it makes this supplement very easy to absorb and makes it versatile for all athletes. L-leucine works with protein synthesis and muscle growth, L-isoleucine helps transport oxygen to muscles and support healing, while L-valine optimizes muscle tissue growth and repair. As a result of the easy absorption and ability to refuel quickly, Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is a great supplement for that boost in performance.

Performance Lab BCAA is a versatile and muscle boosting supplement perfect for optimizing growth. A ratio of 2:1:1 makes this easy to absorb and all around effective.

Pros

  • Great ratio of BCAAs and 5 ingredients total
  • Clean and vegan friendly formula
  • Innovative NutriGenesis process ensures all of those nutrients are properly absorbed

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Only available directly from their website

Price: $35.10


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.

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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.

NutraBio Alpha EAA

Total BCAAs 6g (plus 2,200mg EAAs)
Calories 5
Carbs 1g
Number Of Servings 30
Serving Size 1 scoop
Best Way To Take Mix 1 scoop with 8-10 oz. of water before, during, or after exercise.

NutraBio Alpha EAA is unlike any other amino acid product out there, for it not only delivers a healthy dose of EAAs and BCAAs, but also includes ingredients to round out a novel formula to promote focus, recovery, and hydration. This supplement can improve brain function, enhance mental acuity and memory, balance cortisol levels, and increase power output and muscle contractions so you maximize your supplement routine as best you can.

A non-stimulant source of energy, this product ensures superior hydration and recovery with increased amino uptake and absorption. At a great price with five amazing flavors, Alpha EAA is a sure bet to bring your training, performance, and recovery to the next level. NutraBio is a high-quality sports supplement company designing and producing top tier products for athletes everywhere. Their mission is to maximize the quality of life for all consumers by providing advanced nutrition products with science-backed research to enhance training and performance.

NutraBio Alpha EAA is a novel formula to promote better focus, recovery, and hydration. A non-stimulant source of energy offers the best benefits with quality amino uptake and absorption.

Pros

  • Full of clean and effective ingredients at great dosages
  • Promotes focus, recovery, and hydration
  • Reasonably priced product with five great flavors to choose from
  • From a reputable, transparent, and honest company in NutraBio

Cons

  • It does contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium

Price: $34.99

Check out our individual review for NutraBio Alpha EAA here!


Best For Fatigue Reduction

Busting through fatigue can enhance any workout. This will keep you going longer and harder for increased gains all around.

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: $54.99

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: $24.94

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: $25.99


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

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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.

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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)
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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.