It is often difficult to maintain muscle mass when following (most) weight loss plans. Are you looking to tone up and lose some weight? Do you want to keep and grow as much lean muscle as possible? Then branched amino acids are the way to go. These incredible macronutrients allow you to lose weight while simultaneously maintaining your muscle mass.

BCAAs are also excellent partners to people just looking to increase their muscle mass. Branched amino acids contain important nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally. Their innovative absorption method makes them an essential ally to athletes and anyone looking to lose weight. Read on to learn the results of our research and learn the many other benefits of these amino acids.

Key Facts

  • Branched amino acids, also known as “essential amino acids” or “BCAAs,” are micronutrients that the body is unable to produce on its own.
  • Essential amino acids are a great friend for people looking to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time.
  • BCAA supplementation is specifically important for individuals with a low protein diet. The human body is unable to produce them, so we can only get them through our food intake.

Ranking: The best BCAA supplements on the market

When it comes to choosing a BCAA supplement that is right for you, you’ll find many different brands and types. Below, we reveal the best options available, so you can choose the one that is right for you.

No. 1: Evlution Nutrition, BCAA5000 20 servings (powder)

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This supplement is made from high quality materials that provide you with 5 grams of premium BCAAs to give your muscles the recovery they need to be ready for the next training session. Consumers of this product have reported a noticeable boost in energy and faster recovery after training.

The recommended dosage is 5 grams and it contains L-leucine L-isoleucine and L-valine. The supplement is soluble and easily absorbed. Remember, you should not exceed the recommended daily dose. Consumer reviews say this product is not recommended for people with flavour sensitivities.

No. 2: Scivation Xtend, BCAA 90 servings (powder)

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This amino drink mix is packed with a unique blend of ingredients that support muscle growth, recovery, and hydration to help you conquer even the most gruelling workouts. This best seller is considered to be of great quality and the best value to consumers.

The recommended dosage is one tablespoon daily. Each serving contains leucine, isoleucine, and valine in the optimal ratio of 2:1:1. Plus added glutamine, citrulline malate, and a proprietary blend of hydration-inducing electrolytes.

No. 3: Cellucor COR-Performance, BCAA 30 servings (powder)

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This product has the highest amount of BCAAs with 5g leucine, 3.2g alanine, and 4g citrulline malate in the nature preferred ratio of 2:1:1. This product is meant to help athletes build muscle while sustaining intense training and high-energy sport activities.

Reviewers have reported this supplement easy to mix and tasty. The recommended dose is one serving per day to be taken before and during your workout.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about branched amino acids

Before buying a BCAA supplement it is important to know your specific needs. Quality information is essential when making a purchase. For this reason, in this section we will address the most frequently asked questions related to BCAAs.

Woman running on the beach

BCAAs can be great allies to people on a weight loss plan.
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What are branched amino acids or BCAAs exactly?

Branched amino acids or BCAAs are an excellent source of essential amino acids. They are called this because our body is unable to produce them by itself. Therefore, it is extremely important that BCAAs are present in the food we eat.

In general, essential amino acids are ideal for people who want to gain muscle mass or lose fat. The process of losing fat or increasing muscle is carried out through the oxidation of these essential amino acids. It is well known that the oxidation of BCAAs increases with physical exercise and energy expenditure.

The essential amino acids are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valina
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Did you know that branched amino acids or BCAAs are called “branched” because of their amazing chemical structure?

¿Why are BCAAs important for athletes?

The oxidation of branched amino acids ensures the growth and maintenance of our muscle mass. In addition, essential amino acids have many benefits:

  • They increase muscular endurance.
  • They support the structure of our muscular skeleton.
  • They supply energy to our muscles.
  • They favour protein synthesis.
  • They increase strength.
  • They favor weight and fat loss.
“Whey

Essential amino acids together with whey protein are the ideal supplements for athletes.
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BCAAs are metabolized in the muscles and not in our liver. Therefore, this metabolic process allows our muscles to work in optimal conditions.

During this process, chemical glutamine is generated, which is essential for preventing the muscle tissue from wearing out.

Should I consume BCAAs if I am following a fat loss program?

Branched amino acids bring many benefits to our body, but they are specifically advantageous for people who are on a fat loss journey. People who wish to lose fat and maintain as much muscle mass as possible should consider BCAA supplements.

Fat loss plans can be harmful to our muscles. This is because upon entering a calorie deficit, our body begins to eat through muscle mass to turn it into caloric energy. Therefore, branched amino acids are also recommended for athletes who practice intense cardiovascular exercises.

Dr. Layne NortonNutritional Doctor

”Despite the numerous benefits of BCAA supplements, there is much skepticism in the market. People assume that supplementation is not necessary, since other supplements such as whey protein are rich in essential amino acids. Unfortunately, this information is misleading.

The BCAAs present in whey protein need to be digested before absorption happens, unlike the amino acids present in BCAA supplements. Therefore, the synthesis and degradation of proteins is superior with BCAAs.”

Who is likely to benefit from BCAAs supplements?

Essential amino acids offer many perks and are excellent for the prevention of many chronic diseases. Below, we show you which individuals would benefit most from taking BCAA supplements.

  • People who want to gain muscle mass.
  • Bodybuilders in moments of competition.
  • People who are on a fat or weight loss journey.
  • Athletes who follow an intense physical training regime.

Branched amino acids also reduce the aches and pains that normally appear after physical training.

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Did you know that branched amino acids are the best-backed supplement by the athletic scientific community?

What is the recommended dose of BCAAs?

In general, the dosage of essential amino acids is 5 to 10 grams. It is extremely important to read the description of the supplement before consuming it. One criterion to take into consideration is the time of intake, as we will see below:

Time of intake Effect
Before training More intense training.
After training Aids muscle regeneration.
During the day Reduces hunger and helps muscle growth.
Upon awakening (fasting) Stops muscle breakdown that occurs during sleeping hours.

The standard dose, as mentioned above, is usually 5 to 10 grams. This will of course depend on your body weight and specific needs.

Is it dangerous to exceed the recommended dose of branched amino acids?

Suffering an overdose of essential amino acids is difficult to achieve but possible. Human cells possess a specialized enzyme system dedicated to the breaking down of branched amino acids. Therefore, excess BCAAs are immediately discarded by the system since a high concentration of branched amino acids can be toxic to our system.

Keep in mind that when an overdose happens, eliminating excess essential amino acids becomes of utmost importance and this takes energy away from other vital processes. Please do not exceed the recommended dosage and if you have problems, consult your family doctor. Remember: drinking enough water is of utmost importance when consuming supplements with amino acids.

What types of BCAAs are there and which one is the right one for me?

There is a wide range of BCAA supplements. Basically, the concentration of amino acids can be different, just like their absorption rate and method of ingestion. Below, we will explain the different presentations of the supplement.

There are two types of branched amino acids:

  • BCAAs in powder form.
  • BCAAs tablets.

In the following table, we present the different types of BCAAs, as well as their main characteristics:

Criterion BCAAs tablets BCAAs in powder
Dosage 3 tablets before or after training (varies by brand). 5g mixed with water or juice before or after training (varies by brand).
Digestion  Slower absorption Excellent absorption
Method of ingestion  May be difficult to swallow. Soluble and easy to mix.
Price Price varies by formula. Price varies by formula (freeze-dried format is highly priced).
Purity  May contain caffeine. Often contain artificial flavours.

In terms of their nutritional value, there are no significant differences between these two types of branched aminoacids.

Purchase Criteria

When buying a BCAA supplement, these are some things to keep in mind:

  • Taste
  • Ingredients
  • Allergens
  • Country of Origin

Taste

There are BCAAs supplements with pleasant flavours and of good quality. Supplements usually indicate what kind of flavouring they have. Tablets don’t usually have flavour, because their ingestion is so immediate.

Ingredients

Choose only high quality products. It is always advantageous when supplements contain other vitamins or caffeine, as we get more benefits from the formula. Keep in mind, vitamins B12 and B6 improve the absorption of BCAAs.

It is also essential that you take into account the percentages of each essential amino acid. The amount of leucine should be high, as it is responsible for protein synthesis. It is because of this process that our body is able to increase muscle mass.

Studies show that the perfect concentration of amino acids is:
2:1:1: 2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine.

BCAAs Aminoacids

The perfect ratio of BCAA amino acids is (2:1:1), 2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine.
(Source: Vodolazskyy: 34087743/123rf.com)

Allergens

The list of ingredients is of most relevance to people with allergies. It is also preferred by most that the supplements contain little to no sugar or artificial additives.

People with allergies should pay special consideration to the following characteristics in a product:

  • Gluten-free
  • Fructose-free
  • Lactose-free
  • Vegan

In general, vegan and fructose-free products are ideal for most people who suffer from allergies. Vegans should be careful with compressed supplements, as they may be coated with gelatin. If you are vegan, we recommend that you look for cellulose coated tablets.

Country of Origin

The quality of a product is usually proportionally related to its country of origin. A high quality BCAA product comes from a developed country, as quality standards and regulations tend to be much higher.

In general, products made in the European Union and Canada are of good quality. Products made in the United States lack strict quality control, which is reflected in the ingredients used.

Summary

As you’ve seen throughout this article, branched amino acids are the perfect allies for people looking to gain muscle mass or lose fat. Supplementation is beneficial, as the human body is unable to create them on its own.

In addition, essential amino acids offer countless benefits to many diverse functions of the body.Their nutritional contribution along with a balanced diet is the perfect combination for athletes and individuals who want to burn more fat.

If you liked our article, don’t hesitate to share it on social networks. The health and well-being of our readers is our goal.

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