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Did you know that our body cannot produce nine of twenty amino acids that we need to heal our muscles? Three of those are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). They constitute 35 percent of the essential amino acids in our muscle tissues. You can only obtain these BCAAs through diet and amino acid supplements.
The BCAAs are responsible for producing insulin in your body, a hormone which helps convert sugar into energy. These amino acids are also responsible for carrying nitrogen that helps form your complex muscle tissues needed to survive. Additionally, your BCAAs repair and synthesize your damaged muscle fibers which will build your muscles and improve your physique.
Always consult with a medical professional before trying any new supplement. This article is not to be considered medical advice. FDA has not evaluated the statements regarding dietary supplements and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.
What are Amino Acids
Amino acids are compounds which help protein perform many bodily functions such as: breaking down food, growth, and repairing tissues. We can categorize them into two groups: Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that can be produced by the body even without the aid of diet. Essential amino acids, on the other hand, can only be obtained by consuming protein-rich food or supplements. There are nine essential amino acids, and three of those (BCAAs) are often in amino acid supplements.
What Are Amino Acid Supplements
Amino acid supplements contain three essential amino acids which are: Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. Generally, these three are responsible for energy conversion, muscle formation, and muscle reparation. Therefore, BCAAs are vital for everyone, and not just for athletes and physically active people.
Valine’s primary purpose is to promote muscle growth and repair. It also helps provide extra energy by supplying the muscles with glucose. Leucine helps stimulate muscle strength and growth. This amino acid also regulates blood sugar levels by controlling insulin in the body. Isoleucine is a form of leucine that produces hemoglobin which carries iron and regulates glucose to provide energy in the muscles. It is also involved in muscle metabolism and improving immunity functions.
Benefits of Taking Amino Acid Supplements
Amino acid supplements are not necessary so long as you maintain a balanced diet. However, if you are an athlete or a person with an active lifestyle, you may greatly benefit from them.
These supplements help a lot with energy production. In particular, Isoleucine and Valine help produce hemoglobin and regulate blood sugar converting them into energy during intense activities. Furthermore, the intake of BCAAs reduces fatigue during physical activity.
Moreover, amino acid supplements help reduce muscle soreness and muscle wastage resulting from high-intensity activities. The excessive exertion of the body causes damage and micro-tears in the muscle fibers. These supplements help to improve the capability of the muscles to repair itself.
Generally, amino acid supplements are safe to ingest. However, like any medication, they may also have possible side-effects. Most common side effects are the loss of coordination, stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating), high blood pressure, headache, and skin whitening.
Types of Amino Acid Supplements
There are four types of Amino Acid Supplements categorized by the form of intake: Capsule Form, Powdered Form, Pill and Tablet Forms, and Injectable Forms – – Intravenous (IV) and Intramuscular. The capsule form is a jelly capsule filled with BCAA designed for those who only need low doses. The powdered form, on the other hand, has to be combined with a liquid to take it. High performing athletes and other physically active people prefer this as it is easier to take in larger doses.
Injectable forms are made usually for vegetarians and those with gluten allergies. These forms, unlike capsules, do not use gelatinous products for the capsule casing. Only medical practitioners have the right to administer the injectable forms of BCAAs. This restriction is for ensuring safety and for hygienic purposes to minimize health risks.
How We Reviewed
We conducted a thorough review of amino acid supplements available in the market. Also, we looked into different sites and health and lifestyle blogs and health-related research. Moreover, we surveyed the market to look for the best brands of amino acid supplements available.
We looked at the key features of the products that set it apart from other products. Second, we read the reviews and checked the ratings of the products. Lastly, we evaluated whether the price reflects the performance of the supplements.
Overall Price Range of Amino Acid Supplements
Amino acid supplements may be in the form of powder or capsules. One pack of powder is approximately 10 ounces or 270 grams. This kind ranges from $15 to $35 enough for 30 servings. The difference in price range depends on the additional amino acids and other nutritional additives. On the other hand, a 60-capsule or 60-tablet container of amino acid supplements ranges from $10 to $25. These types are cheaper than powdered forms because they have less BCAA content per serving than the powdered ones.
Best 10 Amino Acid Supplements Worth Trying
We have listed the best 10 amino acid supplements that are available in the market. This list, however, is not arranged in a particular order.
1. Genius BCAA by The Genius Brand
First on the list is the Genius BCAA powder by The Genius Brand. Among this list, this one puts a higher emphasis on its effects on the mental condition of its user. The Genius Brand’s is a Nootropic which means that it improves cognitive functions, executive functions, and memory. This product claims that it uses no fillers, dyes, artificial flavors, or even sucralose (commonly known as Splenda). Additionally, it uses fermented amino acids for improved muscle growth.
This mentally-enhancing supplement has an Amazon rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars. You can get one 21-serving container for a price between $30 to $40. Consumers commended this supplement for the added Nootropic benefits.
2. Natura BCAA by Natura Formulas
Natura Formulas’ Natura BCAA Capsules is a pure BCAA supplement that does not have any added ingredients. Its primary focus is on muscle recovery, muscle growth, muscle synthesis, and weight-loss. It also has a 365-day guarantee which says something about the confidence of the manufacturer with its product.
This supplement has an Amazon rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, and costs between $15 to $25. Mothers and those 60 years of age noticed the effects immediately. This product is also the go-to product of Nutrition Awareness when it comes to capsule products. Not only that, but this product is also one of the cleanest products according to Labdoor.
3. BCAA by Nature’s Design
This supplement has one of the highest BCAA content per serving in capsule form at 3,000 milligrams per serving. The leucine content supports protein and muscle synthesis; while the isoleucine encourages glucose uptake. Natures Design prides itself with its all natural product. This supplement is non-GMO making it suitable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Moreover, Nature’s Design’s BCAA hastens the rate of protein synthesis and achieves anabolic state when cutting on calories.
This product has an Amazon rating of 4.7 out of stars. You can get a container with 20 servings at a price between $7 and $17 making it one of the cheapest options on this list. The main complaint of the customers is that the supplements were difficult to swallow because of its size. Still, a lot of people enjoyed the product not just for its affordability, but also the improved energy levels and weight-loss benefits.
4. BCAA Energy by Evlution Nutrition
The Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy has a whopping 5 grams of BCAA in every serving. Its focus is on providing fitness enthusiasts the extra energy and improved recovery. This product also has excellent mixability and solubility which is not that common for powder form supplements. It also prides itself on having zero carbohydrates and zero calories. Apart from BCAA, consumers can expect 500 milligrams of beta-alanine, L-alanine, and taurine. Lastly, it has 110 milligrams of caffeine.
This popular supplement has an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. It costs between $13 to $23. With the high BCAA content combined with caffeine, users could potentially experience nausea and cold sweats.
5. Xtend BCAAs by Scivation
Scivation established the Xtend BCAAs for more than ten years in the market. This supplement has a high BCAA content (even for a powdered form) per serving at seven grams per scoop. It also contains 2.5 grams of L-Glutamine and one gram of Citrulline Malate to neutralize acidity and promote the production of growth hormones. The product also induces hydration with the help of the added Electrolyte Blend.
This powdered supplement has an Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. You can get a pack good for 30 servings which costs between $20 to $30. When it comes to performance, a lot of users noticed immediate effects with endurance and soreness.
6. Branched Chain Amino Acids Powder by BulkSupplements
Famous for its bulk packaging, this product is also known for its pharmaceutical-grade supplements. This supplement has an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. One pack of this powdered supplement costs between $35 to $45. Some complained about the ammonia or chemical scent of the product. Still, others preferred this product because of its cost-worthiness.
7. MEGA BCAA 1000 Amino Acids by Natureganics Nutrition
The Natureganics MEGA BCAA 1000 Amino Acids supplement is a gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and non-GMO supplement. Like the others, it helps in boosting energy and reducing body fat. The product also aims to boost the endurance of its user. The company establishes its confidence by giving a 100% money back guarantee.
This product has an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can get this product for $12 to $22 a pack with 33 capsules. Some users suffered headaches that do not go away immediately. For others, however, the product worked as their bodies got lean.
8. CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs
The Coreseries BCAA Glutamine supplement has the highest BCAA content per serving in the market. It has eight grams of essential amino acid as opposed to the industry standard of three to five grams – – the reason why they recommend to take half a serving at first try. A study on rugby players in Europe shows that seven grams of BCAA per day yielded the best result. The manufacturer considered this and formulated this product for optimal benefits.
Additionally, it also has five grams of Glutamine which increased blood alkalinity and growth hormones. Other notable ingredients are Tyrosine, Theanin, Mucuna Pruriens, and caffeine which contributes to alertness and enhancement of some cognitive functions.
Finally, adding one gram of coconut water powder per serving increases the electrolytes which makes it a healthy sports drink. Aside from the additional ingredients, the manufacturers did not use any artificial sweeteners, harmful additives, and unnecessary fillers for this product.
This supplement has a Barbend rating of 7.5 out of 10 points. It costs between $24 to $34 for a pack that is good for 30 servings. Consumers observed muscle toning, improved performance, and less fatigue and soreness after workouts in just a short time.
9. mTOR PRO by Myokem
Myokem mTOR PRO is one of the newest product on the market. It has one of the most added benefits and formula that sets it apart from other products. Each serving has five grams of BCAA content with an additional three grams of ActiveTR L-Leucine. The ActiveTR or Time-Release L-Leucine is a delayed activation of Leucine for extended performance throughout the day.
Furthermore, this product has five other essential amino acids in the mix for better effects. Additionally, it has an Active Hydration matrix (Taurine and electrolytes) which improves hydration during a workout. Finally, Myokem formulated “AstraGin,” made from Astragalus membranaceous and Panax ginseng, for greater absorption of the nutrients.
The Myokem mTOR PRO has an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The price of one 30-serving package costs between $25 to $35. Customers love the 10.5 grams total of essential amino acids and the ActiveTR formula of the product. Some users were happy to have seen improved performance in as little as two weeks.
10. BCAA Pills by Sheer Strength Labs
Sheer Strength BCAA pills is one of the cleanest BCAA formulas in the market. The Sheer Strength Labs guarantees that their product will definitely work or you can get your money back, hassle-free. It has 1,950 grams of BCAA content per serving which is a decent amount for a capsule-form of supplement.
This product has an Amazon rating of 4.4 out 5 stars. This product is one of the affordable options on the market, and you can get one container of 30 servings between $10 to $20. Consumers are satisfied with the drastic increase in energy and less soreness after workouts.
The Amino Acid Supplement For You
We presented you with ten of the best amino acid supplements in the market. Of all these products, Myokem’s mTOR PRO and CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs top the list.
For regular body-builders, we recommend Myokem’s mTOR PRO. Myokem’s delayed effect of ActiveTR L-Leucine is impressive. Not only that, it has five additional essential amino acids that other products do not have.
This supplement also topped our list because of the Active Hydration Matrix. Moreover, the AstraGin formula is also a significant factor as it is the only amino acid supplement that increases nutrient absorption. Among products of similar class, Myokem loaded their product with features that work together for better results which makes it stand out among the rest.
For pro athletes or heavy body-builders, we recommend Transparent Labs’ CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine. This product is especially for weightlifters since it contains an additional glutamine for body-building. The ingredients list also supports alertness.
Which one fits you best? Tell us what you think in the comments.