BCAA's, short for branched-chain amino acids, are key ingredients when it comes to accelerating muscle growth, recovery, and reducing soreness.
There are 20 different types of amino acids in the body, but only 9 are essential. Out of those nine essential amino acids, three of those are the branched-chain amino acids.
The essential amino's can't be produced by your body naturally, meaning you have to get them through food sources or supplementation.
The easiest way by far is to take a scoop of a high-quality supplement so that you get in plenty of BCAA's at once. Especially for those of you that are into bodybuilding and working out, this is extremely important.
The market is flooded with different types of BCAA supplements, but we've filtered out the underdosed and low-quality products to present you with the best of the best.
The 8 Best BCAA Supplements Of 2021
If your a regular visitor of SupplementsReviewer, you know that we have a strict protocol for testing and reviewing supplements. Read more about us to understand the process.
That means we've put a lot of effort into providing you with the top 8 best BCAA supplements of 2021. They're by far the best-formulated supplements available at this moment.
1. Huge Nutrition BCAA
The reason why Huge Nutrition's BCAA has taken our first spot is simple – it's the most advanced and appropriately formulated product.
On top of that, it's got a massive serving size meaning you'll get plenty of the essential amino acids in.
This product by Huge Nutrition contains the most branched-chain amino acids out of our entire top 8, which is 8 grams (8000mg) at the scientifically backed 2:1:1 ratio.
If you get in plenty of BCAA's by taking this supplement once per day, you can reduce soreness and possibly boost muscle growth (1).
1 Serving (19.4 Grams) Huge BCAA Contains:
- 8000mg BCAA 2:1:1 Ratio
- 5000mg L-Glutamine
- 750mg Coconut Water Powder
- 500mg L-Lysine
- 500mg L-Threonine
- 200mg L-Tryptophan
- 175mg L-Phenylalanine
- 150mg L-Histidine HCL
- 150mg L-Methionine
You'll also find calcium, potassium, and sodium in there to help with hydration, pumps, and performance. It's a great product to use before, during, or after your workout.
Unfortunately, it's only available in one juicy flavor, which is Kiwi Blueberry. Hopefully, they will be releasing new ones shortly.
2. Scivation Xtend
Coming in second, we have Xtend by Scivation. It's a simple formulated, yet effective product. But, with a substantial amount of branched-chain amino acids per serving, it can help you improve workout performance.
1 Serving (13.2 Grams) Scivation Xtend Contains:
- 3500mg L-Leucine
- 1750mg L-Isoleucine
- 1750mg L-Valine
- 1170mg Electrolyte Blend
- 1000mg Citrulline Malate 1:1
- 2500mg L-Glutamine
This product also has a low amount of Vitamin B6, Sodium, and Potassium as they are essential nutrients. It's good to see that this BCAA supplement contains electrolytes. During an intense workout, they are lost through sweating, and this product helps replenish them (2).
You'll find that Xtend contains fewer ingredients than Huge Nutrition's BCAA, but it's still a good formula.
Xtend is available in many different flavors. Our editor team loved the fruit punch and genuinely enjoyed drinking it during our workouts.
3. BSN Amino X
Another great BCAA supplement for maximizing your recovery and performance is BSN's Amino X.
The formula supports the scientific 2:1:1 ratio of amino acids. This means that they could help stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can help with muscle growth.
1 Serving (14.5 Grams) BSN Amino X Contains:
- 10 Grams Anabolic Amino Acid Interfusion Blend (L-Leucine (Micronized), L-Isoleucine (Micronized), L-Alanine, Taurine (Micronized), L-Citrulline (Micronized)
- 2 Grams Efforsorb Endura Composite (Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Cholecalciferol).
- 500 IU Vitamin D
- 160mg Sodium
There's a substantial amount of amino acids in this product, but we don't know each amino acid's exact dosage because it's a blend. In our opinion, that's negative because who knows what you're getting.
With that said, it does contain other good ingredients such as L-Citrulline which have shown to boost exercise performance (3).
The flavor is also pretty good, and Amino X is a supplement you can enjoy drinking during an intense training session.
4. Animal Juiced Aminos
The juiced aminos by Animal are another popular way of getting your branched-chain amino acids in.
This company is known for providing high-quality bodybuilding supplements, and they never disappoint. Let's check what one serving of this stacked product contains.
1 Serving (11.94 Grams) Animal Juiced Aminos Contains:
- 6 Grams Anabolic BCAA & EAA Matrix (Instant Blend Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine), Lysine, Arginine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Histidine).
- 4 Grams Juiced AA Performance Blend (L-Taurine, Citrulline Malate, L-Glutamine, Agmatine Sulfate, Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine HCl, Acetyl L-Carnitine Arginate Dichloride, L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine).
Again, we've got a wide variety of ingredients, just like many other products in our top 10. Unfortunately, Animal doesn't specify the dosages of each compound.
Juiced Aminos should, however, help you boost your workout performance significantly, considering it's got potent ingredients in there.
It comes in three different flavors, and we're massive fans of the Grape Juice. We down a shaker of this stuff in no time.
5. RedCon1 Grunt
If you're serious about working out, it's crucial to get in those essential amino acids. Grunt by RedCon1 is one of those supplements that can help you with that.
1 Serving (9.5 Grams) Redcon1 Grunt Contains:
- 3000mg L-Leucine
- 1500mg L-Isoleucine
- 1500mg L-Valine
- 300mg L-lysine
- 250mg L-Threonine
- 250mg L-Phenylalanine
- 50mg L-Tryptophan
- 25mg L-Histidine
- 25mg L-Methionine
As you can tell, this product contains plenty of amino acids to help you reap the benefits. That can include reducing muscle fatigue and improving the recovery rate.
Grunt is available in 6 different flavors on the official site. Tigers' blood was by far our favorite flavor and very easy to drink.
We've also reviewed other Redcon1 products; check out our articles on Total War and MOAB.
6. Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy
BCAA Energy is brought to you by Evlution Nutrition, a known player in the industry. This product can help with recovery, energy, endurance, and performance.
We like this product because it also contains a low to moderate amount of natural caffeine to help raise energy levels.
1 Serving (10.1 Grams) BCAA Energy Contains:
- 5000mg Branched-chain amino acids 2:1:1 (2500mg L-Leucine, 1250mg L-Isoleucine, 1250mg L-Valine)
- 500mg Beta-Alanine
- 500mg L-Alanine
- 500mg Taurine
- 110mg Natural Energizers (Natural Caffeine, Green Tea Extract)
It contains many essential ingredients, but unfortunately, the dosages are relatively low, which means they won't do a lot. We've also reviewed EVL Test, make sure to give that a read.
There are no calories in this product, and it's available in many different flavors. Our personal favorite was furious grape.
7. BPI Sports Best BCAA
Best BCAA by BPI Sports is an excellent recovery supplement that can be used as a post, intra, and pre-workout.
Not only does it contain the three branched-chain amino acids, but they've also added a CLA matrix blend combined with Glutamine. That means your getting additional benefits from these extra ingredients.
1 Serving (10 Grams) BPI Sports Best BCAA contains:
- 2500mg L-Leucine
- 1250mg L-Isoleucine
- 1250mg L-Valine
- 1000mg CLA Matrix Proprietary Blend
- 1000mg Glutamine
The SupplementsReviewer team has tried the passion fruit flavor, which had a sweet yet good taste. It's actually enjoyable to sip throughout a workout.
8. Optimum Nutrition Instantised BCAA
Who hasn't heard of Optimum Nutrition? They're one of the most well-known supplement companies out there, and they've got a solid BCAA supplement.
A very straightforward formula with 5 grams of micronized branched-chain amino acids per scoop.
1 Serving (5.75 Grams) Optimum Nutrition Instantised BCAA contains:
- 2500mg Micronized L-Leucine
- 1250mg Micronized L-Isoleucine
- 1250mg Micronized L-Valine
As you can see, nothing fancy, just the active ingredients for recovery. We would've loved to see more ingredients and potentially a higher dose of the active ingredient.
This also makes it relatively cheap because you are just getting a moderate amount (5 grams) of amino acids. If you're looking for a simple product, consider checking out this product.
What To Look For In A BCAA Supplement
You shouldn't just buy the first best BCAA supplement you set your eyes on. There's much more to it – allow us to show you what to look for in a supplement like this.
The first thing you should look at when buying a BCAA supplement is its formulation or ingredients.
There are many supplements out there that contain a low to moderate amount of amino acids, meaning you'll have to take several servings to get the scientifically backed dosage.
That means you should get yourself a supplement with a high amount of branched-chain amino acids. Huge BCAA contains 8 grams per serving, which is the most you'll find on the market.
It's also nice if a product has additional ingredients such as electrolytes to help you stay hydrated during a workout. Make sure to always check out the ingredients before buying a supplement.
The next thing you should look out for is what other people are saying about the supplement. Do they find that it has helped them improve recovery and such?
Many negative user reviews on a product are obviously a red flag. If that's the case for the product you had in mind, we advise steering clear from it.
If a product has many positive user reviews, that means it's probably a product you should consider using as many people have had a good experience with it.
Brand Behind The Product
Has a reputable company produced the BCAA supplement? It's definitely worth checking out if the company has more high-quality supplements.
That way, you'll know they're serious about what they sell. Some brands are rather hard to find, but that doesn't mean they're not selling a high-quality product.
Long story short, guys and girls, make sure to do your research. We've done ours and presented you with the best quality BCAA supplements out on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to take BCAA supplements?
Research suggests that there is no ”best time” to take branched-chain amino acids (4). This means it comes down to personal preference. Most athletes take BCAA's before, during, or after their workout.
How much BCAA should I take per day?
Men should take roughly 10 to 15 grams of BCAAs per day. Women should take 5 to 10 grams per day, depending on their physical activity. They should be dosed twice per day.
This means that both men and women should get a high-quality supplement that is stacked with amino acids.
For that, we recommend going with Huge Nutrition's BCAA supplement. It contains 8000mg of BCAAs per serving, which is the most you are going to find. With two scoops, you'll get plenty in and experience the effects rapidly.
Should I Take BCAA before or after my workout?
There isn't enough evidence available to support whether it's beneficial to take BCAAs before or after your workout (4).
That means it comes down to personal preference – if you feel it makes a difference, you can take it around the time you exercise.
Personally, we enjoy drinking amino acids during our workout.
What is the difference between BCAA and amino acids?
BCAA's are amino acids, but they're the essential ones meaning they are more critical. They have protein anabolic properties and have been studied for several health benefits (4).
Why should you take BCAA supplements?
There are several reasons why you should consider taking a BCAA supplement. Here's why:
- They stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which enhances lean muscle growth (4).
- They can help reduce muscle exhaustion, allowing you to push on for longer during a workout.
- They reduce muscle soreness, accelerating the recovery process so that you're ready to hit the gym (4).
- They can function as a source of energy.
As you can see, BCAAs offer a wide variety of benefits for athletes. Even if you don't work out, it's a supplement you should consider adding into your daily routine.
Can BCAAs cause side effects?
Many of you will want to know whether or not taking a BCAA supplement is safe. Clinical data has shown that dosages of up to 35 grams per day were safe (4).
This means that no adverse effects will be experienced when taking these branched-chain amino acids. But, if you have a medical condition, it's a good idea to consult your physician before adding a supplement to your routine.
What's better when it comes to BCAA vs Pre workout?
We would advise combining the two, as they're both a great way of improving your physical performance.
Pre-workouts often contain ingredients such as L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, and Beta Anhydrous for boosting exercise capacity (4).
We've reviewed many different popular pre-workout supplements, here are a few you can check out:
Combining the two isn't harmful as long as you stick to the recommended serving sizes.
Do BCAA break intermittent fasting?
Yes, consuming BCAAs will break intermittent fasting. Each gram of branched-chain amino acids is roughly four calories.
So when you're taking 10-15 grams, you're getting in 40 to 60 calories, which technically means your ”eating” something.
Our advice: take them about 30 minutes before your about to break your fast.
Are BCAA necessary for muscle growth?
They aren't necessary, but they do help the process of building muscle mass. Therefore, we always recommend them to athletes that want to enhance growth.
Should I take BCAA Pills or powder?
Capsules are easy for convenience, and you can take them with you. But the downside is, is that they only have roughly 500mg of BCAAs per pill. That means you are looking at 20 consuming capsules for effective dosage.
BCAA powder is also good and allows you to get in large amounts per serving. There's no massive difference between bcaa powder or pills; it's a personal preference thing.
Can I take BCAA on off days?
Yes, you should also take them on off days. Even when you don't train, your muscles need the amino acids to stimulate recovery and protein synthesis.
Should I take BCAAs everyday?
To reap the benefits of BCAAs, you have to take them every day. In clinical studies, you need to take them for at least ten days, and subjects always take them every day (4).
Should You Take BCAA supplements when cutting?
Yes, it's a good idea to start using a BCAA supplement when you are cutting. This is because when you are cutting, you will be in a caloric deficit each day.
When you are in a caloric deficit, it's possible to lose muscle mass because you're eating less. This can be prevented by eating more protein and adding in high-quality branched-chain amino acids.
Consider stacking them with a fat burner to burn more calories during your cut.
Can I mix creatine with BCAAs?
Creatine can be safely mixed with branched-chain amino acids. It's recommended to combine these two because creatine also has exciting benefits for athletes (4).
Make sure to get in at least 5 grams (5000mg) of creatine per day for optimal results.
Can you take BCAA on an empty stomach?
Yes, you can take BCAA's on an empty stomach. It's actually recommended to do so because your body will absorb the nutrients faster.
When there's food in the stomach, it has to get digested. This takes a while, and if you were to take BCAA's when you've eaten something, it takes longer for your body to absorb everything.
Can I stack them with other supplements?
It's entirely safe to stack your amino acids with other products; it's even advised to do so. Many users combine it with a testosterone booster or legal steroids to help them accelerate muscle growth.
Can women take BCAA supplements?
Yes, women can also take BCAA's. It is perfectly safe to do so; they'll even help with improving muscular recovery and growth.