The 10 Best BCAA Supplements

Updated October 26, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best BCAA Supplements
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Powders, capsules and shakes that contain branched chain amino acids are being touted as helping to repair damaged muscles, decrease muscle soreness and increase muscle function. If you're willing to give them a shot, our selection of BCAA supplements is a good place to start. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bcaa supplement on Amazon.

10. Now Foods 87480

The Now Foods 87480 comes in a clear bottle so it's easy to see when you need to order more. It provides you with energy even if you're working out on an empty stomach, but it does contain some milk and it doesn't dissolve well in water.
  • very pure and pharmaceutical grade
  • increases muscle definition fast
  • contains gelatin
Brand Now Foods
Model 87480
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Optimun Nutrition ON604

The Optimun Nutrition ON604 comes in a fruit punch, orange, and unflavored variety, so it satisfies an array of tastes. It's one of the best BCAA supplements to add to protein shakes because it dissolves thoroughly. Unfortunately, it isn't carbohydrate or calorie-free.
  • wide tub is easy to scoop out of
  • 5 grams of bcaas per serving
  • contains soy and artificial colors
Brand Optimum Nutrition
Model ON604
Weight 1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Muscle Pharm 3:1:2

The Muscle Pharm 3:1:2 features a patent-pending branched chain amino acid complex that is superior in reducing muscle breakdown and aiding in fat loss. It releases amino acids before and after a workout and heals muscle damage.
  • increases protein synthesis
  • ideal for casual weightlifters
  • must take 8 pills per serving
Brand Muscle Pharm
Model MPH1014/425/1501
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Natureganics MEGA

The Natureganics MEGA comes in small, easy to swallow capsules that can be broken to release the powder into a glass of water for those who don't like pills. It is effective at boosting muscle growth in areas where people typically see little improvement.
  • effective post and pre-workout
  • no annoying after taste
  • only available in a 30-day supply
Brand Natureganics
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. BulkSupplements Pure

The compact pouch of the BulkSupplements Pure makes it easy to take this BCAA supplement everywhere you go. It's been lab tested to confirm that there are no fillers, and it contains a generous portion of injury-healing leucine.
  • 11 pound bag will last a long time
  • product has almost no smell
  • bag has a totally airtight seal
Brand BulkSupplements
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Sheer Strength Labs Post Workout

The clinically dosed Sheer Strength Labs Post Workout will provide results to even the most active of athletes. The formula has limited ingredients, too, so it's gentle on sensitive stomachs. Plus, it has no taste, so you can add it to almost anything.
  • promotes post-workout energy
  • accelerates fat loss
  • helps slender people retain muscle
Brand Sheer Strength Labs
Model pending
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Bodytech Powder

The 2.5 grams per serving of L-glutamine in the Bodytech Powder helps promote the human growth hormone, which is important for those on a diet who are worried about losing muscle fiber. This helps you to save money because you typically need to buy glutamine separately.
  • low cost per serving
  • reduces post-workout soreness
  • no grainy texture in shakes
Brand BodyTech
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Dymatize Nutrition Complex

The Dymatize Nutrition Complex contains brain-boosting vitamin B and doesn't contain any artificial colors, yeast, soy or sugar, so it fits into a clean diet. It can help increase muscle mass in a matter of weeks, and comes in an easy-to-take caplet.
  • sustains energy through a workout
  • contains vitamin c
  • correct bcaa ratio
Brand Dymatize
Model Z100
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. BPI Sports Best Powder

The refreshing watermelon ice flavored BPI Sports Best Powder uses a special formula that allows for efficient metabolization, greater bio-activity and enhanced onset time, so athletes can hit the gym sooner after consuming it.
  • lean muscle-building agmatine
  • promotes insulin sensitivity
  • cla burns stored belly fat
Brand BPI Sports
Model BPI1020/111/1387
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Scivation Xtend

The Scivation Xtend will improve the overall sense of wellbeing of the most dedicated athletes, with its hydration-Inducing electrolytes and calorie and carbohydrate-free formula. It comes in delicious raspberry, blueberry as well as black cherry.
  • speeds up recovery time
  • mixes well into liquids
  • includes a measuring scoop
Brand Scivation
Model SCI1010/671/1035
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What Are BCAAs?

If you've spent a ton of time in the gym recently, you may have heard people talking about BCAAs. Short for branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs are extremely popular among bodybuilders and amateur fitness buffs alike.

Of course, as with any other nutritional supplement, the science behind them can be extremely complex, so you're forgiven if you still don't know what they are or what they do. Hopefully, this guide will help clear up some of that confusion.

There are three primary BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are considered essential, which means that the body cannot make them on its own. That means you must get your necessary dosage through the foods that you eat — or the supplements you take. They're primarily found in high-protein foods, such as chicken, fish, and eggs.

One of their main purposes is to help the body synthesize the protein you ingest into energy. This is important, because you want your body to target your BCAAs when it needs a boost, not your muscles. If your body cannibalizes your muscles when its hungry, then that defeats the purpose of lifting weights in the first place.

This is especially important if you're dieting while working out. When you establish a calorie deficit, which is essential for losing weight, your body's primitive functions take over. What happens is that your metabolism, fearful of starvation, attempts to hold onto fat cells for as long as possible, and as a result your muscle mass can be broken down for fuel instead.

BCAAs, meanwhile, convince your body to create insulin to burn through your blood sugar and fat stores instead of your muscle mass. At the same time, they improve the rate at which your muscles absorb protein, helping them to repair and grow.

While BCAAs are an essential part of a healthy diet, that doesn't mean that taking them will instantly turn you into an Adonis. You still need to put in the work in the gym, but if you're not getting enough of the right amino acids — whether from your diet or from supplementation — you'll likely find that your workouts won't give you the results you crave.

That's a tough spot to be in; after all, the only time you want to be spinning your wheels in the gym is when you're using an ab roller.

Benefits Of BCAAs

Now that you know what BCAAs can do for you on a molecular level, it's time to talk about the benefits that you'll actually notice.

Coincidentally, one of the biggest benefits is something you might not notice: namely, muscle soreness. BCAAs help your body repair itself quickly so that you won't have to hobble around after a particularly intense workout. Not only will this improve your quality of life, but it can also turbocharge your gains, as you can get right back in the gym for another hardcore session.

That means you can be more efficient with your workouts, as you won't have to take longer rests between exercises to recover. You'll be able to push your muscles further than you would have previously, improving their performance, but you'll also find that you can get a great workout in less time. This can help open up your entire day, giving you more free time without having to sacrifice your results.

BCAAs can help outside the gym, as well. Studies have shown that one of the amino acids, leucine, can help you feel full for longer, reducing your calorie intake without making you feel like you're starving. It does this by regulating the hormone leptin, which stimulates the body's hunger response.

Not only that, but leucine may also help your body burn fat. It does this in part by helping with muscle growth. Your muscles need lots of fuel — in the form of fat — to maintain their size, so the more lean tissue you have, the higher your metabolism will be.

Of course, if you like feeling sore and hungry, or if you're just really attached to your belly fat, then take BCAAs at your own risk.

Getting The Most Out Of Your BCAAs

Let's get one thing straight: while supplements are an excellent way to boost your BCAA intake, they should, ahem, supplement your diet. That means you should figure out an eating plan first, and then worry about adding to that later.

A high-protein diet is your best bet to maximize your BCAA intake. This means lots of lean meats like chicken, beef, and fish, as well as plenty of veggies. While BCAAs can help your body burn sugar in your bloodstream, you'll want to minimize how much is there in the first place — meaning lay off the simple carbs.

You don't have to rely exclusively on animal proteins, either — vegetarians can still get their BCAAs through nuts, yogurt, brown rice, quinoa, and more. In fact, even carnivores should occasionally rely on nuts or vegetables to get their fix, as chowing down on all that meat can wreak havoc on your cholesterol.

To get the results you want, you should take your BCAA supplement before or during a workout. However, if you pair it with a high-quality whey protein, you'll see even better results. Why? Because BCAAs flood your muscles with protein, helping you to train longer — but leaving you with a protein deficit. Drinking a shake can refill your body's protein stores, ensuring your muscles have a steady supply of nutrients to fuel their growth.

If you've always wanted a lean, shredded physique, then BCAAs can help you achieve your goals without starving yourself or living in the gym. It's all about giving your muscles proper, targeted nutrition, and that starts with a healthy diet full of branched-chain amino acids.

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Last updated on October 26, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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