BCAA: Everything You Need To Know About Branched Chain Amino Acids

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Finding the right supplement to help take your health status to the next level can feel overwhelming. Do you want to gain muscle mass? Lose weight? Decrease feelings of fatigue? What if there was a supplement that could do all this and more? Thankfully, there is. Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAA are essential amino acids that have been proven to help improve physical health and now they’re being used in delicious and easy-to-drink protein supplements. Well, that wasn’t so overwhelming.

As explained by Healthline.com, there are 20 amino acids that together make up the thousands of proteins in our body and of these amino acids, nine are essential amino acids. That means our body doesn’t naturally produce them, so we have to get these amino acids from our diet. Three of the nine essential amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine, which make up the Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAA. These are often found in foods that are high in protein, like eggs, tofu, legumes, and meat.

Protein is necessary for building muscle and cartilage, as well as helping to build and repair tissue. High protein diets are often followed by bodybuilders and athletes, and since our body doesn’t store protein the way it does with carbohydrates and fat, we need to consistently acquire protein through our food. If we’re not eating enough protein or want to take in an additional amount, BCAA supplements are a great addition to our diet.

Leucine helps muscle growth by stimulating the pathway in the body that produces muscle protein synthesis. That takes care of our muscles while working out. But what about after hitting the gym? BCAAs have been found to decrease the effects of muscle breakdown while exercising, which helps keep muscles intact and reduces fatigue and muscle soreness in the days following strenuous exercise.

BCAAs account for “35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins” and “40% of the total amino acids required by your body,” so consistently replenishing your BCAA levels through supplements helps to ensure that your muscles are breaking down. This is not only good for athletes but also the elderly and the sick whose bodies need extra help fighting muscle degeneration.

Now that you know all the benefits of BCAA, let’s look at three great BCAA supplements.


1. Nutricost BCAA Powder

Designed for pre and post workout consumption, the Nutricost BCAA Powder packs 6 Grams of BCAA into each serving.

Pros: The Nutricost BCAA Powder includes 90 servings in each container, making it the largest and most cost-effective option on our list. Nutricost uses an optimum blend of BCAA for a zero-calorie powder that can be used both before and after a workout. Helping to regenerate muscle tissue, Nutricost builds and repairs muscle mass.

Cons: Customers are split on the taste, with some finding it too sweet or others remarking that it’s bitter.

Nutricost BCAA Powder

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2. Staunch BCAA Powder

Featuring 7 Grams of BCAA in each serving, Staunch BCAA Powder is a coconut water hydration formula with a standard 2:1:1 ratio.

Pros: Staunch includes 7 Grams of BCAA into each serving, with one container including 30 servings. Using 1.5 Grams of coconut water hydration to combat muscle fatigue, Staunch also uses strawberry flavoring for a powder that is refreshing and sweet, with customers complimenting the powder’s taste.

Cons: Some customers had issues with the container arriving incorrectly sealed.

Staunch BCAA Powder

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3. Nutricost BCAA for Women

Enhance lean muscle mass and gain strength with the Nutricost BCAA for Women, which focuses on increasing muscle and decreasing fat.

Pros: The Nutricost BCAA for Women is made with an optimum blend of Branched-Chain Amino Acids that help to increase lean muscle mass and decrease excess body fat. Using the industry standard 2:1:1 ratio, the Nutricost BCAA for Women is backed by clinical research and proven to help fight post-workout fatigue. Unlike the regular Nutricost BCAA, the Nutricost BCAA for Women is flavored with a grape taste.

Cons: The Nutricost BCAA for Women is only a few dollars less than regular Nutricost, but it contains one-third of the servings.

Nutricost BCAA for Women

Image courtesy of Amazon