The use of amino acid supplements to enhance muscle growth and sports performance keeps growing. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements are now among the top selling sports supplements today. If you are looking the best BCAA supplements, keep reading.
You have probably heard this before: amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Well, branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are among the essential amino acids. This means that you can only get them through the diet as your body cannot make them on its own.
While the other amino acids are mostly metabolized in the liver, branched-chain amino acids are mainly metabolized in the muscles. There are three of these, which are:
Studies have shown that supplementing with BCAAs may enhance athletic performance, lean muscle mass and recovery. Among the above three branched-chain amino acids, one of utmost importance: leucine. Why?
Well, scientific studies have shown leucine to have lean mass and strength improvement as well as fat loss benefits. The best BCAA supplements should therefore contain higher levels of this amino acid.
Who Needs BCAA Supplements?
For most recreational athletes, such those who train “just to stay in shape” or for the “bikini season”, BCAAs are a cost you don’t really need. This is because the amino acids you get from food (presuming you eat healthy) and other protein supplements typically suffice. For the more serious athlete or fitness enthusiast, the story is a little different.
For the more serious athlete, including the recreational one who desires to push his/her physique beyond the ordinary, supplementing with BCAAs may be a good idea. Why?
Well, it can be challenging to get optimal amounts of these essential amino acids from food alone. Supplementing with BCCAs in this case may be a good idea.
The benefits of using BCAA supplements include:
- Preventing muscle loss: Branched-chain amino acids have been found to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage as well as aid recovery. Less damage and better recovery may only result in improved muscle retention and growth.
- Improved performance: These supplements have been used to prevent fatigue and improve concentration. This can have positive benefit on performance.
Top BCAA Supplements
Like all other dietary supplements, branched-chain amino acids are not created equal. Your intent, we believe, is to take the supplements so they can help you meet your sports or muscle building goals more quickly. Low quality supplements just will not foot the bill.
Finding the best BCAA supplements can be tricky. But not to worry, we have done the hard work for you. While ultimately the decision is still yours, here are the top quality BCAA supplements we have found:
BioTrust BCAA Matrix (Editor’s Choice)
What sets this product apart from other BCAA products is its ratio of these amino acids. This supplement has a higher ratio of leucine to other amino acids compared to virtually all other products out there.
You see, while other products’ leucine, isoleucine and valine ratio is typically 2:1:1, BioTrust BCAA Matrix ratio is 4:1:1. And this is just one aspect at BCAA Matrix beats others.
This product’s unique triple transport system of amino acids is designed to for optimal absorption. This is far superior to other products, which are based on free form amino acids. Better absorption means that more of the BCAAs get into your system to do the work they are supposed to do.
BioTrust BCAA Matrix contains:
- Higher dose of leucine: the most important BCAA, than you get with most if not all the other amino acid supplements out there.
- Unique transport system to enhance absorption. This means you may get better effects from taking in less amounts.
Vegan and vegetarian friendly. No egg, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, fish, shellfish, wheat, or gluten. No sugar, artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives.
If you are looking for the best BCAA supplement, you may want to give BCAA Matrix a try. This product comes with a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA
While we recommend BCAA Matrix for its obvious superior quality, not everybody’s budget may allow for the slightly higher cost. Optimum Nutrition BCAA may not be as cutting edge, but it is a good quality product that may still deliver the benefits at a lower cost.
As a company, Optimum Nutrition has a reputation for quality control and has built trust on that end.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA contains a balance of branched-chain amino acids that may help improve nitrogen retention and therefore enhance your body’s ability to build lean mass while losing fat. Its leucine, isoleucine and valine ratio is at 2:1:1.
This supplement also has the advantage of being available in both capsule and powder forms. Some people prefer powder over capsules as you can mix it with water or other beverage rather than swallowing multiple pills.
The powder is instantized for quick mixing and flavored to make it more palatable. Currently comes in two flavors, fruit punch and orange.
 Branched-Chain Amino Acids—Advances in Research and Application: 2013 Edition; Ashton Acton, PhD