The Top 7 BCAA Supplements of 2020 Reviewed
BCAA stands for “branch-chain amino acids,” referring to the structure of these crucial parts of our diet. While there are 20 different known amino acids, only nine of them are considered essential amino acids, meaning the human body cannot produce them on its own and has to acquire them from dietary sources. Thankfully, the three BCAA, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, can be found in protein-rich foods including salmon, beef, turkey, eggs, and other forms of animal-based proteins, as well as plant-based proteins like peanuts and lentils. However, for those who choose not to eat animal products for philosophical or health reasons, BCAA supplements can provide a stable source of these amino acids, as well as encourage and maintain muscle growth.
In some cases, BCAA can be helpful for those with cirrhosis of the liver or who are at risk for liver cancer. As with any supplement, it’s best to do your own research and talk with your primary care provider before starting on a dietary change that could impact your health.
Whether you’re looking for a way to reduce muscle fatigue or trying to ensure your body gets all the crucial nutrients it needs, BCAA supplements can make a marked difference in your day-to-day life. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and rounded up the best BCAA supplements to help you stay at peak performance, so you can feel your best no matter if you’re looking to balance your diet or strengthen your workout routine.
Trying to find the best option before your next workout? We’ve rounded up the best options out there in a quick table to make things easier for you:
The Best BCAA Supplements
Here are the best BCAA supplements available on the market, from fast-releasing options to keto-friendly supplements made with your unique dietary needs in mind.
If you’re looking to put the best of the best into your body, XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion is the perfect option. With no stimulants, no sugars, no carbs, and no calories, this powder offers you the advantages of BCAA supplements without overwhelming your body with overly processed additives.
Each serving of this powder offers 7 grams of BCAAs, including 2.5 grams l-glutamine, which aids in the biosynthesis of proteins. As an added bonus, if you find yourself worn down by the chocolate and vanilla flavors of mainstream powders, the refreshing watermelon flavor will have you hyped for your next workout session. One dedicated reviewer called the flavoring “god tier,” and we’re inclined to agree with them. Simply mix one scoop of this powder into your water bottle before your next workout to reap the benefits of BCAA.
One of the upsides of this product is that it comes in 30-, 60-, and 90-day supplies, meaning you’ll always have enough on hand for your next workout session. And with a winning blend of electrolytes to boost your body’s recovery, you may just find yourself more refreshed after your workouts. Not a fan of watermelon? Not to worry, the winning combination of boosting ingredients comes in over fifteen flavors, making it ideal for those with specific tastes.
- The World's #1 BCAA Brand with 7G of BCAAs Per Serving
- 0 Stimulants, Sugar, Calories, or Carbs
- 2.5g Added Glutamine + Electrolytes
- NSF & Informed Choice Certified
Not a fan of powdered supplements? OPTIMUM NUTRITION Instantized BCAA Capsules offer you the benefits of BCAAs without the hassle of mixing it into a drink. This mega-sized bottle of supplements offers 1,000 capsules, as well as a bottle of micronized creatine monohydrate powder for added absorption and increased exercise performance. This two-for-one deal is second to none, and offers everything you need for increased workout recovery and balancing your health. With a 2:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and 1 gram BCAAs per two capsules, this product offers you a hassle-free way of getting your daily dose of BCAAs.
If you’re looking for just the BCAAs, not to worry, this product comes in a variety of other sizes and dosages, allowing you to customize your supplement choice for your unique healthcare needs. And with over 10,000 reviews, this is a clear favorite for anyone looking to get their BCAA in capsule form.
For the powdered creatine monohydrate, some users have recommended dissolving the powder in hot water to ease digestion, should you have a sensitive stomach. However, the powder itself has an excellent track record, with studies showing no adverse reactions for long-term use. If you’re looking to boost your exercise routine, this is a great option for you.
- BCAAs – 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, valine
- RECOVERY – take your training efforts to the next level by supporting endurance and recovery*
- Made with CreaPure Creatine. At maximum dosage in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary
- Increases muscle strength and power
What better way to ensure you get enough BCAA in your diet than to invest in the BCAA Branched Chain Essential Amino Acids Powder by Bulk Supplements? Weighing in at over 1 kilogram (that’s over 2 pounds for those of us in the United States), this product offers you the perfect pre- and post-workout powder in an incredible value pack.
Not only does this supplement help boost your muscle mass retention and protein synthesis, each batch of BCAA powder is purity check straight from the source, meaning you can be confident you’re getting the best of the best with your purchase. Not only does this supplement come in bulk batches of up to 881.8 ounces (about 25 kilograms), Bulk Supplements offers an auto fulfillment service through Amazon, allowing you to rest easy knowing you’ll always have enough BCAA for your next workout.
One thing to note with this product is that there is a corn-based sweetener used to offset the “unflavored” nature of the product, which some customers were not as much of a fan of. Still, for the amount of product offered, this is still a great value for anyone serious about body building.
- Help build muscle strength and endurance*
- Assist with muscle recovery*
- Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels*
- Help maintain weight*
- Support the liver*
Keto-friendly, sugar-free, and in a delicious blue raspberry flavor, how can you say no to Evlution Nutrition BCAA5000 Powder? Boasting 5 grams of BCAA per serving, and including 30 servings per batch, this endurance-boosting formula is sure to take your game to the next level. Like many BCAA powders, this product offers a wide variety of flavors, and reviewers laud its ability to help you maintain muscle mass, especially when targeting fat-burning workout routines.
With no added stimulants and a tried-and-true post-workout recovery formula, this is a go-to for anyone looking to boost their next workout. Like many BCAA powders, this option is gluten-free, carb-free, and has no added sugar, meaning you don’t have to compromise on your diet to achieve great performance.
Some reviewers noted that while the blue raspberry flavor was alright, they were bigger fans of the unflavored version, as the blue raspberry had an interesting aftertaste. Most users recommended diluting the powder in a large water bottle and drinking throughout their workout for the best effects. No matter the method, Evluition Nutrition BCAA5000 Powder provides your body with the BCAA it craves without weighing it down with unnecessary fillers, earning it its place on our list.
- PERFORMANCE, ENDURANCE AND RECOVERY FORMULA: with 5 grams Branch Chain Amino Acids to support lean muscle building and boost your performance, endurance and recovery through the power of pure BCAAs.
- MOST PROVEN 2:1:1 RATIO OF BCAAS: with 5 grams of premium BCAAs in the most researched and proven 2:1:1 ratio to give your muscles the recovery they need to be ready for the next training session.
- STIMULANT FREE MUSCLE FUEL: BCAAs provide an additional fuel source during training for working muscle, kicking in when the body uses up other fuel sources to keep your performance high.
- PROTECT MUSCLE FROM BREAKDOWN: BCAAs have been shown to preserve muscle mass under intense training or dieting characterized by protein breakdown and muscle wasting by providing added BCAAs, the body is less likely to consume its own amino acid (protein) stores from muscles.
- ZERO SUGAR, ZERO CARBOHYDRATES, GLUTEN FREE, & GREAT TASTE: BCAA5000 is engineered to be the cleanest product to support your active lifestyle and keep you going without the added sugar, carbohydrates or gluten of other energy drinks. Plus, BCAA5000 flavors are rated best in class and as enjoyable as the benefits you feel.
What’s better than getting all the BCAAs you need? Getting an electrolyte boost as well. Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy + Electrolytes offers the workout-improving benefits of essential amino acids, with the recovery-boosting features of electrolytes for a pre-workout blend that’s sure to take your next workout to a whole new level.
With natural caffeine to help pump up your game, and a tangy, tangerine flavor that beats out the dry, vanilla flavor of other pre-workout powders, this is sure to become a fast favorite. With a formula made to boost focus, energy, and improve muscle recovery, as well as support hydration, this product allows you to consistently go beyond your limits each and every time you work out. While this may not be the ideal product for anyone looking to supplement their BCAA without the jolt of a pre-workout formula, it’s ideal for anyone looking for a natural way to boost their performance.
Some reviewers for this product noted that it has replaced their morning coffee as a source of get-up-and-go before work, allowing them to trade out the tried-and-true benefits of coffee for the boosting properties of BCAA. However, it’s worth noting that the citrus flavor of this product can be a bit too acidic for people with sensitive stomachs, so it’s worth doing a preliminary tasting before investing in this product. Still, this is one powerful powder, and is sure to give your next workout that added kick.
- 100 milligram of Caffeine from natural sources; 5 gram Amino Acids; Only 5 calories per serving, and zero Sugar.
- When to take it: Anytime you need a boost of energy, muscle recovery, or to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat during excercise.
- Ideal for runners with flavors including Tangerine Wave, Cranberry Lemonade, Pineapple Twist, and Watermelon Splash.
- Banned substance tested
- Whether it be lifting, biking, running, hiking, cycling, playing team sports or just running your daily errands, Amin.O.Energy plus electrolytes provides you with caffeine from natural sources to support energy and focus, amino acids to support muscle recovery, plus electrolytes to help replenish those lost during exercise in sweat. What are electrolytes? - healthy adults need minerals like potassium, sodium and magnesium. These electrolytes help support muscle function and fluid balance.
Unlike the other BCAA supplements and powders on this list, Evlution Nutrition BCAA Lean Energy is specifically formulated to help burn fat and build lean muscles, perfect for anyone looking to slim down while still building their core strength. With 5 grams of BCAAs and an energy and endurance blend that helps you workout for longer and recover sooner, this formula goes beyond a pre- or post-workout supplement. With natural energy sources including green coffee, this product gives you a solid boost for any time of day, whether you’re hitting the gym or facing down a day full of meetings.
With a gluten-free, keto-friendly formula with zero sugars and zero carbs, this is ideal for any diet, and will add that extra oomph your body needs to perform at its best. The specific blend of CLA, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Green Coffee, and Maca Powder helps you burn fat faster than traditional workout supplements, while still supporting muscle creation and retention, for an all-around workout booster.
Along with their praised cherry limeade flavor, which branches out from the traditional, all too bland flavors of pre-workout on the market, this product comes in a wide array of taste options tailored to your preference. With an enjoyable taste and no unwanted aftertaste, this is the perfect BCAA supplement for those who struggle with the taste of other mainstream pre-workout formulas.
- ALL-IN-ONE ENERGY, FAT BURNING, LEAN MUSCLE AND RECOVERY FORMULA with 5 grams of BCAAs for Muscle Building and Recovery, 1.5 grams of Endurance Boosting Amino Acids, Natural Energizers, Natural Fat Burning Complex, Antioxidants, and B Vitamins that Boost Energy and Mental Focus so you’re ready to take on every day.
- ANYTIME WEIGHT MANAGEMENT SUPPORT from a full spectrum of Fat Burning ingredients including CLA, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Green Coffee and Maca Powder to help you build a Lean Body and Lose Fat in the gym or at work.
- NATURAL ENERGIZERS AND MENTAL FOCUS from Green Coffee Bean and Green Tea to give you the Clean Energy your body needs and Heighten Concentration while using Pre-Workout, or for Anytime Energy without the crash you can get from artificial stimulants.
- PROTECTIVE ANTIOXIDANTS from Green Tea, Green Coffee and Vitamin C to help Defend your body’s cells against oxidative stress and Support your Immunity Levels.
- ZERO SUGAR, ZERO CARBOHYDRATES, AND GLUTEN FREE making BCAA Lean Energy the cleanest product to support your active lifestyle and keep you going without the added sugar, carbohydrates, or gluten of other energy drinks.
With 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, this powdered supplement packs quite the punch. With a single scoop of formula packing the same punch as fourteen 500 milligram capsules, this recovery drink offers the benefits of capsule supplements in a convenient format.
This sugar-free formula is specially developed for sports workouts and muscle recovery, and features no carbs, making it keto-friendly as well. Like any good post-workout recovery drink, this product includes essential electrolytes to help replenish your system and reduce muscular fatigue overall. Not only does this formula offer all the BCAAs your body needs, but it is also a crucial product for anyone working out in dry or humid areas, as it helps replenish your hydration needs while still offering the benefits of a post-workout drink.
While this product offers multiple different flavors, the blue raspberry is one of the best reviewed, with one reviewer noting it reminded them of blue Gatorade. However, some reviewers noted the potency of the flavor can be overwhelming at first and recommended doubling the water-to-powder ratio. Still, if you’re looking for a delicious post-workout option to boost muscle building and fight off dehydration, this is the right BCAA supplement for you.
- The World's #1 BCAA Brand with 7G of BCAAs Per Serving
- 0 Stimulants, Sugar, Calories, or Carbs
- BetaPower & Coconut - Performance & Hydration
- NSF Certified for Sport
- Added Electrolytes
BCAA Supplement Purchase Guide
While BCAA might sound like a miracle supplement, there are a few things to keep in mind before investing. As with any supplement, consult your doctor and a personal trainer before use, as certain supplements work better for certain body types.
Pre-Workout vs. Post-Workout
Pre-workout formulas are made to give you that extra oomph you need to power through a tough workout. Most pre-workout formulas include some kind of stimulant to give you the energy you need to push your body to the limits. While small amounts of caffeine may not impact you negatively, it’s best to find all-natural sources of caffeination to ensure you can give it your all without compromising your overall health.
Post-workout formulas, on the other hand, are geared at helping your body recover after an intense workout. Good post-workout formulas help replenish electrolytes and offer both hydrating and muscle-supporting formulas made to reduce any micro tears your muscles may have sustained and to help you get in the groove for your next workout session, without exhausting your body. Keep in mind, not post-workout formula can help if you overexert yourself, which is why you should work within your body’s limits whenever you decide to hit the gym.
Additives vs. No Additives
Certain supplements include things like sugars and other fillers to either improve the flavor or offer artificial burst of energy to help you make it through your workout. While sugar can help give you the sensation of boundless energy, anyone who’s ever had a sugar crash knows energy from sugars is less reliable than other sources of energy. While the occasional hint of sugar may not seem like a lot, once you start taking a supplement daily, this little bit of sugar can add up, eating into your daily carb allotment and making it difficult to get the results you want. It’s always best to find a supplement or powder that doesn’t include any additives or find one with natural sugar sources if you find you need a jolt of flavor.
BCAA Amount Per Serving
As with any supplement, it’s best to consult with your doctor before adding it to your routine, as some supplements can interact with medications. That being said, if you are using BCAA powders as a pre- or post-workout formula, the more BCAA in a concoction the theoretical better results you will have. However, if you are taking BCAA as a daily supplement either for dietary or other health reasons, you may be better served to start with a lower amount of BCAA and increase gradually, to ensure you have no reaction to the capsules.
Questions About BCAA Supplements
What are BCAAs?
As mentioned above, BCAAs are branch-chain amino acids. They’re part of the nine essential acids your body cannot produce, meaning you have to get them from outside sources. The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and can be found in protein-rich foods including salmon, eggs, beef, turkey, and other animal proteins. About 35% of your body’s muscle proteins are made from BCAAs, making them an essential part of your diet and workout routine.
Are BCAA Supplements Dangerous?
Poor reactions to BCAA supplements may cause nausea, pain, and a headache, however they are considered a safe supplement overall. It is important to check with your doctor if you are taking diabetes medications, Parkinson’s medications, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, or Proglycem before starting BCAA supplements. As with any supplement, consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
Are BCAA Supplements Guaranteed to Increase Performance?
While some studies have been conducted on the usefulness of BCAA supplements for both athletic and medical uses, there is no guaranteed link between BCAA supplements and increased athletic performance. However, they have been linked to reducing muscle wasting in cases of muscle wasting diseases like cancer, and preliminary tests have shown an increase in focus and reduction in fatigue during exercise.
What Are BCAAs Good For?
Here is a video showing the science-side of BCAAs and why they are important to the human diet, especially in regards to overall muscle health and development.