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The Benefits of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)

What BCAA’s can do for you?

Branched-chain amino acids or BCAA are commonly used to treat Lou Gehrig’s disease, a brain ailments due to liver disease, seniors and cancer patients and people who are confined to bed rest are susceptible to this. Some completely healthy individuals utilize BCAAs to avoid stress and develop concentration. But the most important thing, possibly, is the popular use of taking branched-chain amino acids to improve workout performance and decrease muscle dysfunction. The use of BCAA in medical world has a fair amount of skeptics or uncertainty, while the latter one which is for muscle purposes is widely accepted by researchers.

Enhancing Exercise Performance
Exercise induces an increase in serotonin levels, which are considered to trigger stress. But BCAAs are believed to diminish serotonin levels, and thus cancel out the stress and actually improve exercise performance. There have been many studies that advertise this exact ability: In 1998, subjects ingested either BCAA or a placebo before taking an endurance cycle ride in the heat. The BCAA group cycled 153.1 minutes on average, while the placebo group averaged only 137 minutes. A more recent Japanese study looked at the effects of a BCAA mixture on athletes during a one-month training stint and found that indices of blood oxygen-carrying capacity were increased. However, many other scientific tests reveal that BCAAs have no effect and the amino acids are said to be ineffective for this use.

Reducing Muscle Breakdown
BCAAs are metabolized mainly in skeletal muscles, while other amino acids are distributed in the liver, which is why people think they must take BCAA supplements if they’re engaging in a stressful workout,” stated by Sarah Currie, RD and personal trainer for New York City-based Physical Equilibrium LLC. With that in mind, BCAAs are often recognized to help heal damaged muscles, lessen muscle soreness and increase muscle function. Some data show that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has useful effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. A 2006 research concluded that the intake of BCAA may promote an anabolic hormone profile (causing muscle repair after workouts) while also reducing the chance of training-induced muscle injury. A Japanese research examined a group of men and women, wherein some are given BCAA supplements and others given a placebo—as they did multiple testing days involving squats, which were used to promote delayed muscle soreness. Both genders stated less discomfort and pain when they were given the supplements. Research like this one and many other experts are said to believe that it’s possible to consider BCAA as a useful supplement for muscle recovery.

Suggested Consumption:
The body obtains branched-chain amino acids from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. “A balanced diet with adequate protein provides enough BCAAs, even for the strenuous exercise,” says Currie. Nitrogen balance studies have shown that no amount above 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight is worthwhile. Simply because experts believe BCAAs help prevent muscle breakdown doesn’t mean it’s necessary. Says Currie: “As long as you’re getting enough dietary macronutrients—such as proteins, fat, and carbohydrates—lean body mass, or muscle, will be spared.” If you do decide to take BCAA supplements, make sure they’re from a reliable company. “Also, pay attention to how you feel while taking them,” warns Currie. “If you think they make a difference, go for it.”

Best 10 Benefits of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Branded-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, promote protein synthesis and metabolism and play a role in weight loss and building muscle. There are three BCAAs: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. While BCAAs are sometimes used to improve conditions of patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, brain disorders, and even cancer, these amino acids are best utilized for enhancing physical appearance and performance. Meat, dairy, and legumes are naturally rich in BCAAs, so it is easy to naturally incorporate these nutrients into your diet; no more than two grams per kilogram of body weight is needed. Now, let’s examine ten benefits of these amino acids.

1. Enhances physical performance

When we exercise, the amount of serotonin in our body rises, which can lead to increased stress. BCAAs, however, reduce the amount of serotonin produced by the body, thereby eliminating any negative effects of exercise. One study found that individuals who take BCAA supplements prior to exercise extend their endurance by about 12%. These amino acids can also be burned as energy, leaving enough ATP for our bodies to function, thus preventing fatigue. Fatigue is also reduced by inhibiting tryptophan receptors in the brain.

2. Promotes muscle growth and recovery

BCAAs promote muscle growth in numerous ways. As we already discussed, these amino acids extend endurance, which allows you to exercise your muscles more. They also prevent muscle soreness after working out. BCAAs promote the synthesis of anabolic hormones that promote muscle repair and reduce recovery times, especially when combined with alanine, aspartate, and glutamate. Finally, as with all amino acids, BCAAs support protein synthesis, allowing growth and maintenance of lean muscles. The greatest BCAA ratio is 4:1 leucine to valine and isoleucine.

3. Burns fat

Leucine enhances the body’s ability to burn fat, while isoleucine increases glucose tolerance. This combination, combined with enhanced stamina and muscle-building, makes for increased fat-burning ability.

4. Balances hormones

BCAAs promote hormonal balance, especially in men. These amino acid supplements increase the production of testosterone while decreasing cortisol, as well as preventing inflammatory hormones.

5. Increases strength

As a result of increased muscle growth comes, naturally, increased strength. Leucine especially promotes strength training, as well as neuromuscular coordination.

7. Prevents muscle soreness

BCAAs maintain a healthy composition of muscle fibers. This diminishes muscle soreness and prevents muscle tears and other muscular deformities.

8. Protects muscle tissue

These amino acids minimize muscle degeneration by protecting lean muscle tissue. BCAAs also maintain plasma levels in the blood, which usually drop during intense exercise.

9. Regulates glucose and insulin

BCAAs regulate insulin levels and glucose tolerance, making diabetes and its symptoms much more manageable, particularly for extremely active diabetics.

10. Slows aging

Often included in treatments for cancer and liver diseases, BCAAs help form new mitochondria and regenerate cells, thereby reducing the physical appearance of age.


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