Home Nutrition What are BCAA Supplements, When to Take, Which is Best with Reviews

What are BCAA Supplements, When to Take, Which is Best with Reviews

Posted by admin in Nutrition Category. Reviewed and Updated: 9 March, 2018

Is there any necessity to take BCAA? Let’s clarify.

If you or your friends are doing some sports, you have definitely heard about BCAA supplements. The adequate questions are: “What is BCAA supplement?”, “How BCAAs influence our body?”, “Who need to take this supplement?” There are the most common questions, concerning taking natural BCAAs and facts about them. Let’s answer them.

What is BCAA Supplement?

Firstly, “BCAA” is abbreviation for “branched-chain amino acids.” Our muscle mass consists of these amino acids for about 12% (1/3 of all essential muscle aminos). That is why they are usually used in order to reduce muscle fatigue as well as make muscles grow faster. It is important to note that BCAAs are essential amino acids. It means that your body do not produce them. Non-essential ones are produced in our body if the nutrition is proper. The only one source of essential amino acids is the food of animal origin. Muscles need these essential amino acids to stay sustained. The importance of BCAA doesn’t mean bat there is no why but take them. You need to add this supplement into your nutrition list if you train hard or just plan to burn fat. People, who do not have such targets, can benefit only from balanced nutrition.

What’s the Difference Between Protein, Aminos, and BCAAs?

Protein along with carbs and fat belongs to three main macronutrients. Protein is used by our organism for building muscles and other tissues. This macronutrient is essential for both human & animal living organisms.

Amino acids (or simply “aminos”) are organic compounds, which are the building blocks of the protein. Protein is made of them. After protein appear in your body through food, it is broken down into aminos. The last are used for growing muscles and other tissues, repairing them and for other purposes.

Branched-chain aminos are three essential amino acids, which aren’t synthetized by our body. Their main function is to encourage the body to produce insulin, which turns the sugar we take into the energy. In addition, BCAAs extend the nitrogen to every cell of the body, which plays significant role in forming muscles. Muscles, in turn, are required for survival and for great appearance.

As you have seen, essential amino acids are crucial for the development and proper functioning of our body.

People, who train a lot, keep in their mind that they need to consume enough quantity of protein to build muscles and help them to recover. But they should remember that BCAAs is what they need even more.

You Already Take Protein Supplements, Do You Need BCAA Too?

This question is rather reasonable. If a person take much protein, including whey protein, which contain amino acids, then there is no need to take amino acids separately.

However, BCAAs are considered more beneficial, because they go directly into the muscle and are caloric free. Athletes, especially professional bodybuilders highly appreciate the power of BCAAs. They take this supplement either before or after their training, which help them to perform and recover better. Protein doesn’t allow them to have such results.

When it comes to the time you have to take BCAAs, there is recommendation to do it before, during or after the training. If your training is intensive, you waste much glucose, glycogen and other nutrients stores. BCAAs fill all depleted nutrients, which allow your body function with more productivity. With the help of BCAAs the protein keeps synthesizing in your organism and you are able to recover from the stress your training caused almost immediately. It sounds especially attractive for keen bodybuilders who wish grow huge muscles.

How Much You Should Take? Caloric Content of BCAA

There are certain standards concerning the amount of protein you need to take on an everyday basis. At the same time, there are no official guidelines about daily amino acids and other similar nutrients intake. The authors of training programs establish recommendation concerning BCAA consuming, but they are not universal. This task requires individual attention.

Many specialists advise to take IBCAAs daily. As to BCAAs’ caloric capacity, this supplement is caloric free. However, in order to make this supplement tasty many manufacturers add sugar and other sweeting agents, which make BCAAs caloric. The main advantage of BCAAs is that they have zero calorie.

The Possibility of Side Effects

Similar to any supplements, BCAAs can cause side effects too. Some side effects may include nausea or headaches. However, the cases of their occurrence are very rare. Anyway, make sure to consult your doctor before taking this supplement, especially in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding.

To sum up, BCAAs are more than safe supplements. In all cases, you will experience positive effect and in very rare cases it may be combined with not severe side effects.

When to Take BCAA Supplements?


We have already touched the question of the proper time BCAAs should be taken, that is when to take BCAA supplements? However, there is no universal attitude towards this. There are also recommendations to take this supplements with meal, when the stomach is empty or after waking up.

As for coaches and nutritionists, they also advise take BCAAs during trainings, before and after workout. If you have workout off day, take them between meals.

Anyway, the regimen of BCAAs consuming is rather flexible and the time of taking this supplement probably doesn’t have significant impact on how it affects the body. It is flexible unless you combine it with another supplement. Then strict prescriptions should be followed.

Best BCAA Supplements in 2018

We believe that in 2018 the following BCAA supplements will hit the market:

  • Scivation Xtend. This is a powerful blend of BCAAs (7 grams), B group vitamins, and electrolyte substances. Due to high electrolyte content Xtend BCAAs are good solution during prolonged workouts.
  • Elemental BCAA + G. The producers of these BCAAs (Elemental) has used pure ingredients of pharmaceutical quality. In addition to branched aminos, BCAA + G contains glutamine. Therefore, it is a good solution for taking after workout, because glutamine is a powerful amino acid that facilitates recovery of muscle tissues.
  • EHP Labs Beyond BCAA. This product is a complex solution containing several component matrixes. It consists of B-vitamins matrix, muscle recovery blend and electrolyte complex. Therefore, we can consider it an intra-workout product.
  • Optimum Pro BCAA Powder. These BCAAs from the world-famous sports nutrition manufacturer contain 8 g of branched aminos and 5 g of semi-essential amino acid glutamine. Additionally, this best BCAA supplement contains phyto substances that help athletes increase activity of the immune system.
  • Cellucor Beta BCAA. This supplement is considered one of bestsellers among pre workout products (powder supplements). In addition to powerful BCAA complex, it contains 6 g of citrulline, which increases muscle pump and delivery of necessary nutrients to muscle tissues during training.

Where to buy BCAAs? You can do it in sports supplement online or “brick-and-mortar” stores. The most popular online stores include Bodybuilding.com and Target. Vegans and vegetarians may find vegan supplements in the market. Among them are Myprotein Vegan BCAA 4:1:1 Powder and Clean Machine Unflavored BCAA.

Real BCAA Supplement Reviews

We’ve found some reviews of users concerning BCAA supps:

  • “I use BCAA supps on a permanent basis. I believe that these supps have powerful effects: they increase muscle growth, decrease catabolic processes, and help me to get in mood before training (when combining with pre-workout products).”
  • “BCAA is a good supplement. They are certainly bitter; however, I was used after 1 week of taking. Working thing! I started taking BCAA two months ago and the results pleased me, even my friends wanted to try the same BCAA. I do not know what others think about this supplement, but I’m happy. I’ve bought them in India.”
  • “I am really happy with BCAA. I started training in a gym about 3 months ago and saw good results without supps but figured I would try BCAA to see if I could get better results. I have definitely look leaner and feel less muscle soreness after my trainings after adding these aminos to my diet.”

We hope that these BCAA supplement reviews were helpful for you.


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