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The best BCAA supplements on the market come from various brands that are well known throughout the fitness industry for their quality. Athletes and bodybuilders use this supplement frequently in order to maintain a proper diet plan that is not complete with just whole foods alone.
BCAA supplements are not magical mass gainers or energy boosters, so let’s not be fooled by claims just because they added a little extra ingredients into their supplement.
Want to know the truth about BCAA supplements and the top ones recommended for you? Then let’s get you started on the right path so you do not spend a lot of money on bouncing from one brand to another.
If you want a few more options and would like to know the criteria we used, continue reading…
What are BCAA’s?
BCAA’s are the short term for branched-chain amino acids, which are made up of 3 essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
These amino acids are referred to as being essential because you cannot produce them within your body, so the only way to have them for your body’s needs is through food consumption and supplements. These amino are necessary for a variety of reasons that affect areas within your body from muscle tissue to your nervous system.
They are one of the most frequently researched nutrients and plenty of studies have proven their necessity for your daily nutrient values. The most important reasons why BCAA’s are well recognized are:
- Increases the rate of protein synthesis
- Decreases muscle loss (catabolism) during calorie deficient diets
- Enables further muscle mass gains
- Possibly improve workout intensity
- Maximizes fat loss potential
This list is the primary use of BCAA supplements that has evidence showing effectiveness for them with the exception of the new found research on possibly increasing your athletic performance. Although it is not researched enough for this benefit, the results are scientifically based and worth noting.
Who Uses BCAA Supplements?
You usually only require BCAA supplements if you are training regularly on a weekly basis. Athletes and bodybuilders use this supplement to decrease muscle loss while they diet, and also to maximize their fat loss potential. The other reason you want to use BCAA’s is because of the muscle building potential they provide, which particular derives from leucine. Leucine acts like the on switch for protein synthesis to occur.
Protein synthesis is basically when your body produces more strands of protein cells, thus increasing the appearance of your muscles after recovery of the tissue has taken place.
There is a lot more information to be provided on this process, but this simplifies the question of how BCAA supplements increase muscle mass. Branched-chain amino acids also increase insulin levels and the human growth hormone, which play a role in muscle growth as well.
The Other Benefit of BCAA Supplements
Then you have the benefits of possibly increasing your workout intensity. This is based off of what takes place within your nervous system. While training your body sends a signal through the neurotransmitter serotonin that you are fatigued and need to stop.
Muscle endurance and strength suffers as a result of this, and is the reason most people are done working out only 30 minutes into their training. The BCAA’s then try to block the amino tryptophan from being able to produce serotonin within your brain by competing with entry into your brain, which is why workout intensity possibly increases.
Obviously there is a lot of moving parts within your body, and this information should help you understand why BCAA supplements are so vital for your workout and diet program.
You do not have to be a bodybuilder to have the need for this type of supplement – just a person that actually trains in physical activities routinely.
Your Top 3 BCAA Supplements on the Market Today
Okay, so now you know a great deal more than the normal person about BCAA’s, and have come to the conclusion that the benefits they provide are a necessity for your diet and fitness regimen. Below are the top 3 recommended supplements that are high quality and do not hurt your pocket too badly.
1) BPI Sports Best BCAA
BPI Sports is one of the newer brands within the fitness industry, but do not let this detour you from something that is pretty beneficial for your fitness program. Best BCAA contains a unique blend that caters not only to muscle recovery and growth, but also to fat burning potential as well. A lot of people seek this added benefit and nothing is better than to be with essential BCAA’s.
- 4 star rating out of 5 which brings on the conclusion that this supplement probably works like how it is supposed to. You receive 5 grams of BCAA’s and the extra ingredients added are somewhat a short list.
- Fat burning potential through the added ingredient known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This is used in a lot of fat burners, and the content is significant enough to actually provide the known benefits of fat loss and prevention.
- Effectively supports muscle growth due to the bioavailable BCAA’s, which means they are in the form to be immediately digested and sent into your bloodstream.
- Widely known to decrease muscle soreness since it has quality ingredients that provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover faster and stronger.
The only notable downfall to BPI Sports Best BCAA is that it is not GMP certified, which basically means it does not have an audit that checks for raw ingredients that are in their highest quality. This does not necessarily mean it is a bad thing, but can concern some people when it comes to weeding out what is good and bad.
2) Cellucor COR-Performance Beta-BCAA
Cellucor is a reputable company known for producing quality fitness related products, and needless to say makes the number two spot on this list. BCAA supplement lists generally leave out quality products since they are trying to get affiliate sales for the product(s) in question, so let’s stick to the ones that contain minimal ingredients for max effectiveness.
Cellucor COR-Performance Beta-BCAA is a unique supplement since you receive the recommended BCAA amount per dosage (5 grams), but also because of these key factors as well:
- Contains Beta Alanine, which helps reduce what is known as lactic acid buildup. This accumulation of lactic acid is what makes you fatigued a lot quicker, and this added ingredient makes it less likely to occur as quickly.
- Citrulline Malate is another ingredient that makes this BCAA supplement great. Citrulline Malate increases the natural production of nitric oxide, which means oxygen is able to reach your muscles at a more rapid pace in order to keep your workout intense.
- Improved muscle gains through HICA, which is a notable ingredient to look at as well. HICA is the metabolite of leucine that possibly enhances the muscle building potential of the consumer.
The ingredient base for this supplement is what makes being worthy of finding its way on the top 3 list. You can benefit a lot from this product if you eat properly and train hard.
3) Optimum Nutrition BCAA Pro
Optimum Nutrition (ON) yet again takes the number one spot for the best BCAA supplement available today. This blend is different from their regular ON BCAA since it also includes other quality ingredients such as electrolytes, L-glutamine, and vitamin C.
These extra ingredients are in significant-enough dosages to actually provide the benefits that they are supposed to with the BCAA’s of course being in a good dosage as well. Let’s look at what benefits come from this blend of BCAA’s:
- Improved muscle gains compared to other regular BCAA supplements since L-Glutamine is an added ingredient. L-Glutamine (contains 5 grams per dosage) is also an amino acid, but is non-essential meaning your body produces it naturally. However, the extra amount increases the natural production to enhance muscle gains and fat loss further.
- 8 grams of BCAA’s are in each dosage of ON BCAA Pro, which is more than the usual 5 grams you may have noticed.
- Contains electrolytes to be used during and after your workout program. Electrolytes are commonly known for being within sports drinks like Gatorade, but should be known better for their use in replenishing your body’s nutrients.
- Antioxidant benefits are also found within this for better overall recovery through the extra ingredients of grape seed extract and wine grape seed extract.
- Produced in GMP compliant facilities which basically means that are audited frequently to ensure their products contain quality ingredients that are sourced from being raw. A great indicator for a product.
This supplement is noted for mixing well and tasting pretty decent as well. Some BCAA powders can be a bit grainy, but the only none complaint is it having a bitter after taste. There are no known side effects to this date, and mainly because the small ingredient list contains nothing harmful for your body.
The Bottom Line for Your Top 3 BCAA Supplements
These three supplements all have a different approach to providing the benefits of muscle strength and recovery for better muscular growth with extra bonuses. One allows better fat loss, another allows enhanced nitric oxide production, and the top focuses on simply enhancing your primary needs for taking a BCAA supplement in the first place.
Always look around the internet and see what trustworthy reviews are out there for you to read prior to purchasing a supplement!
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.