Does National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA Work?

Hard training deprives our body of nutrients. These include l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine – the three muscle-building amino acids commonly called BCAAs.

BCAAs are highly concentrated in the muscle tissue. So you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping your body fueled with BCAAs in order to keep the gains coming. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements enjoy a strong reputation in the bodybuilding community for a good reason. There’s plenty of research supporting the use of BCAAs for lean muscle building and anabolic recovery. Athletes all over the world use BCAAs to boost endurance and protect muscle from catabolism during hard training. This review will tell you everything you need to know about the brand new, vegan-friendly National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA. Including how it compares to other BCAA product in terms of cleanliness, results and value for money.

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How Does National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA Work?

National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA is formulated for athletic nutritional support. Even though it’s created to help professional athletes maintain and gain muscle while cutting fat, it can work for people of all backgrounds. Here’s how it works exactly:
  1. Boosts Cellular Energy Production
National Bodybuilding Co. BCAAs work in tandem with vitamin B6 to ramp up your energy levels. More specifically, BCAAs increase your cellular ATP production by optimizing mitochondria, which are your body’s power plants. As a result, your aerobic and anaerobic performance increases. You’ll notice you’re able to train harder for longer. [3] Vitamin B6 further assists in this process, while also helping your body to convert fats and carbs into energy. Generation Iron Supplement Awards Best BCAA
  1. Reduces Muscle Catabolism
One of the most studied benefits of BCAAs is their ability to inhibit muscle inflammation and breakdown. How do they do this? By recharging amino acid levels in your muscle tissue after being depleted during exercise. Studies show that individuals who take BCAA after training have less muscle soreness than those who don’t. [1] Other research shows that BCAAs work by blocking enzymes that tell your body to start eating away its own muscle. [2] Interestingly, hard and long workouts also deplete your glutamine levels. Low levels of this amino acid further compromise your muscle repair process, but also weaken the immune system. National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA packs 1,000mg of glutamine per serving to keep your stores replenished.
  1. Extends Time to Exhaustion
One of the first effects you may notice from taking BCAAs is that you experience less fatigue. Research shows that people who take BCAAs during training experience 15% less fatigue than those who take a placebo. [4] In one study, individuals were put through identical gym training sessions and measured how long they could train before exhaustion. One group took BCAA while the other got a placebo. As you could guess, the BCAA group trained for 17% longer before reaching exhaustion. [5] BCAAs also tell the brain not to make too much serotonin, a chemical that contributes to fatigue.
  1. Stimulates Anabolic Muscle Hypertrophy
How do BCAAs help muscle growth? It’s by ramping up the rate of muscle protein synthesis. It’s this effect of BCAAs that makes it an extremely important supplement for protecting muscle tissue during a calorie deficit. [6] However, BCAAs are also reported to trigger enzymes that promote muscle building. As such, they’re not only effective for when you’re trying to preserve muscle on a cut, but also when you want to maximize gains on a bulk. [7]

Ingredients

Each scoop (6,500mg) of National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA contains the following:
  • 4,000mg of BCAAs
  • 1,000mg of L-Glutamine
  • 2.5mg of Vitamin B6
When we first started revieweing this supplement, our first question was: “what exactly makes National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA any different from other BCAA supplements?” After looking through its ingredient label, it’s clear the makers have ensured it’s up to scratch. They avoided the ingredients that won’t work for you, and instead just use a core formula that will. Another thing that impressed us about this supplement is its transparency. It contains no proprietary blend and so this naturally makes it easy for us to see how much of each ingredient is inside. National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA ingredient profile is also:
  • Naturally sourced and free of side effects
  • Based on proven results and scientific research
  • Specifically designed for pro athletes, but can work for anyone looking to maintain and build strength
National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA’s formula was designed using 6 robust clinical trials. With this, the manufacturers were able to develop a product that’s as safe as it is effective. Here’s a closer look at the ingredients…

Vitamin B6

B vitamins, in general, are very important for bodybuilding results. Vitamin B6, specifically, supports red blood cells production, increasing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscle tissue. Vitamin B6 is also known for its role in nitric oxide production (NO), a molecule that widens and dilates your blood vessels. This has an immediate benefit of bigger and more satisfying muscle pumps, but also long-term benefit of better muscle nourishment – and consequently, growth. You’d be surprised how many people don’t get enough vitamin B6 on a daily basis. Hard training can further deplete its stores. If you don’t get enough, your progress in the gym may suffer. National Bodybuilding Co. BCAAs contain 125% of daily value for vitamin B6 to ensure you reap all of its benefits.

L-Glutamine

Glutamine is a semi-essential amino acid. Your body makes some glutamine on its own. However, when you train hard and often, that’s not enough. Exercise depletes glutamine levels, which in turn reduces performance and recovery. Therefore, taking glutamine not only helps boost your muscle recovery, but also plays a critical role in gut health and immune function.

BCAAs

Many BCAA supplements source their ingredients from cheap sources, and often in skewed ratios. For example, many BCAAs contain more than 5:1:1 ratio of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine. This makes them harder to absorb and less effective. Part of the reason why National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA left us impressed is that it uses the science-backed 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs, in their purest natural form. Essentially, National Bodybuilding Co’s BCAAs work by slowing muscle tissue breakdown and ramping up anabolic growth. Reloading your muscles for healthier overall performance.

Dose – How to Take

You’ll notice the best effects by taking 1/2 a scoop of National Bodybuilding Co. BCAAs before your workout, and another 1/2 a scoop during or after your workout. This will help you progress in your major lifts, helping to add two to three extra reps in those CNS-draining exercises. As well as that, you should notice an improvement in your recovery times after your workout.

Side Effects – is National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA Safe?

BCAAs are naturally occurring elements that are perfectly healthy for daily use. National Bodybuilding Co BCAA also features vitamin B6 and glutamine, both of which are clinically dosed for performance.

Taste & Mixability

At this moment in time, you can get Pro Contest BCAA exclusively in Fruit Punch flavor. The taste is rich and sweet, but not overly potent. It also has a natural aftertaste, which is a plus. One slightly frustrating thing about these BCAAs is that they may take a minute to mix and dissolve fully with a spoon. But if you use a shaker bottle or a blender, the powder dissolves pretty much instantly! Pros
  • 45 servings per tub
  • Clean BCAAs in the 2:1:1 ratio
  • Glutamine and vitamin B6 were added to augment BCAA’s recovery benefits
  • Helps protect and maintain muscle on a cut
  • Non-GMO, free of gluten, common allergens, harmful fillers or chemicals
  • Fast-tracked shipping
Cons
  • Only sells directly from the manufacturer’s website
  • Only ships to American and Canadian customers
  • Currently, it’s only available in the “Fruit Punch” flavor

Conclusion

We feel National Bodybuilding Co. Pro Contest BCAA is an excellent value for money. It costs $38 per tub and offers 45 servings, while many BCAA products in this price range only offer 30 servings per container. Although it’s only available in the USA and Canada at the moment, its customers will love the fast and tracked shipping on all orders. It’s clear that BCAAs are amongst the most popular bodybuilding supplements. They have been proven to work and are safe to take daily. As a result, we recommend National Bodybuilding Co. BCAA to anyone who wants to get the most out of their exercise – whether that’s in the gym or anywhere else.

Try National Bodybuilding Co. BCAAs Here!

References

  1. Coombes JS, McNaughton LR. Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000 Sep;40(3):240-6. PMID: 11125767.
  2. Leahy DT, Pintauro SJ. Branched-chain amino Acid plus glucose supplement reduces exercise-induced delayed onset muscle soreness in college-age females. ISRN Nutr. 2013;2013:921972. Published 2013 Mar 17. doi:10.5402/2013/921972
  3. Mittleman KD, Ricci MR, Bailey SP. Branched-chain amino acids prolong exercise during heat stress in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Jan;30(1):83-91. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199801000-00012. PMID: 9475648.
  4. Blomstrand E, Hassmén P, Ek S, Ekblom B, Newsholme EA. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise. Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Jan;159(1):41-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.1997.547327000.x. PMID: 9124069.
  5. Gualano AB, Bozza T, Lopes De Campos P, Roschel H, Dos Santos Costa A, Luiz Marquezi M, Benatti F, Herbert Lancha Junior A. Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Mar;51(1):82-8. PMID: 21297567.
  6. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.1.269S. PMID: 16365096.
  7. Mero A. Leucine supplementation and intensive training. Sports Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):347-58. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199927060-00001. PMID: 10418071.
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Effectiveness
95 %
Ingredients
100 %
Value & Taste
90 %
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Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.