“I want to make fitness simple and attainable for busy women”

-Allison Lambert

The Fit Tutor

The Best BCAA Supplements with Clean Ingredients on Amazon

There are hundreds of BCAA supplements out there, how do you know which is the best? I’ve scoured the interwebs, including ingredient labels, quality control sites, and Amazon reviews, to help you find the cleanest (without crappy ingredients and artificial flavors, ick!) and best BCAA supplements for you!

And if you’re wondering what the heck a BCAA supplement is and if you need one, we’ll get to that as well. Let’s start with those good ol’ bennies.

Finding the Best BCAA Supplement

What Are the Benefits of using BCAA Supplements?

People rave about BCAA supplements because they can help improve performance and endurance during workouts. They also boost recovery as well as reduce the soreness related to lifting! People who use BCAAs before and during exercise report they are less tired and less sore after workouts.

They can also help increase muscle mass by improving protein synthesis (basically, building your muscles) and reducing protein breakdown. If you’re trying to lose weight by cutting calories, protein breakdown is a common occurrence. Studies show taking BCAA supplements can help you maintain muscle mass while cutting back on food intake.

Studies have also shown that athletes taking BCAAs lost more visceral fat (read: the hard to lose belly fat) while cutting calories and still maintaining performance than those who didn’t. Other studies demonstrate that BCAAs taken during strength training help lifters build more lean mass while burning fat.

BCAAs can also decrease fat acquisition while increasing fat metabolism! Score!

Being Realistic

All of this sounds exciting and promising, right?! Many people who take BCAAs can vouch for these results and swear by them. Others don’t notice much of a difference. And we always have to keep a level head when we’re reading these hopeful results… some of the studies have not been replicated, others used mice instead of humans, and others have not isolated the research variables enough.

The verdict is still out.
Right now, BCAAs seem promising.

The good news is that for most populations, trying out BCAAs is harmless! There aren’t any side effects so you can try them out and see if they help give you more energy and recover more efficiently after workouts. As for everything, it’s recommended to talk with your doctor first, especially if you’re already taking medicine or your diet is under a doctor’s care. BCAAs do have the potential to interact with medicine, so talk to your doc first!

Before You Supp

Another thing to consider is that if your diet is full of sugar, processed foods, low in protein, or you just eat whatever you want, a good place to start is to clean that up first. I have a whole course dedicated to teaching you how to eat right and create healthy eating habits, so try this out first before spending money on more supplements.

Other Benefits

Although more studies are needed on these benefits, it seems that BCAA supplements can help increase insulin response and decrease blood sugar levels. This helps improve your metabolism, energy control, and can improve weight loss. This is not necessarily the case for diabetics, but could potentially help those with pre-diabetes. (Diabetics should definitely consult their doctor before trying BCAAs)

BCAAs may also help balance hormones by increasing testosterone, which is helpful for muscle building, and decreasing cortisol, which helps lower inflammation. They can also help lower your overall food intake which can improve your body composition! Don’t let the T word scare you ladies, women benefit from BCAA supplementation, too!

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients on amazon

What are BCAAs, Anyway?

BCAA stands for Branched Chained Amino Acids. They are part of a group of essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own, so we need to consume them through food and supplements. In their makeup they have a chain that branches off to one side. The ones discussed for supplementation are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, which explains why they are so helpful at preventing protein breakdown and initiating protein synthesis. Our body needs them, especially since it can’t make them on its own and we only store a limited amount of protein at a time.

Getting BCAA’s in Through Diet

Food sources high in BCAAs are meats, fish, milk, cheese, beans, eggs, pumpkin seeds, tofu, tempeh, lentils, and quinoa. If your diet is high in protein, you may not need to supplement. However if your diet looks A-OK and you’re lacking energy or experience lengthy soreness or lethargy after workouts, they could be worth trying.

Other reasons supplementing could be helpful:

  • we don’t absorb everything we eat
  • quality protein sources can be expensive
  • many animal products are not raised ethically and factory farms are detrimental to the environment

Who Needs a BCAA Supplement?

Well, if you’re not eating much of those foods just listed, you might be a great candidate for trying a supplement! Other people who may benefit from supplementation would be those who are:

  • cutting calories while strength training
  • not recovering well from workouts
  • experiencing lots of soreness post-workout
  • lacking energy
  • having trouble getting enough protein in your diet
  • needing a boost for endurance training
  • stepping up your workout routine
  • trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time

Although they seem like miracle workers, remember what we discussed earlier. I think BCAAs are very promising, though, and help a ton of people reach their goals and feel better in the process! There are some downsides, though, as we’ll discuss shortly.

Timing and Amount of BCAAs for Best Results

To get the most of out your BCAA supplements, take them about 15 minutes before a workout. They are also great to drink during a workout as well. If you’re trying to gain strength while cutting calories, you can do both before and during.

If you’re cutting calories and trying to lose weight, this supplementation would replace your regular post-workout protein shake. BCAA supplements bypass your digestive system and are able to be used quickly by your muscles, which is why they can be so helpful for protein synthesis around your workout. They should also be sufficient to promote muscle growth without the added calories of a protein shake.

Although research varies on the exact amount, it’s recommended to take between 5-12 grams per workout (and more if it’s a fasted workout). In the recommended supplements below, I’ve only included ones that have at least 4-5 grams of BCAAs with at least the 2:1:1 recommended ratio of Leucine: Isoleucine: Valine. You can try one serving and if you don’t notice enough of a difference, add in a second to see if it helps.

What to Look for in a BCAA Supplement

Now that you’ve heard how amazing BCAA supplements can be, I’m sure many of you are ready to give them a try! Finding the right one can be tricky, and finding a “clean” one can take a lot of label reading. That’s why I’ve done the hard work for you here.

The Problem

The biggest problem with BCAA supplements is that they are disgusting. Unflavored BCAAs are not delicious whatsoever, and many people feel they cannot even force them down. If you decide to go with one of the raw/unflavored best BCAA supplements, then either bring your “A game” or mix them with some juice or something flavored (and maybe a little sweetener) to help you get them down. You can also take them in pill form, but to get the desired amount you will need to take several pills each time you workout.

The Solution… sort of

The solution is to take flavored BCAA’s, but many of these mask the horrible metal taste with harmful chemicals like Aspertame and Sucralose. Most also have added colors, which come with many side effects themselves. I’ve included several “clean” flavored BCAA supplements below.

Reading Labels: Keep it Clean

If you’re trying to build your body up and feel better, added chemicals aren’t the way to go. When reading labels, be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners, added colors, and questionable ingredients.

Better sweeteners will be stevia, monk fruit, real fruit powders, and sugar alcohols like erythritol or xylitol, although these can cause digestive issues for some people. Even real sugar is a better alternative than an artificial sweetener, and if you’re going to have sugar, it’s best right before a workout!

It’s important to remember that flavored BCAAs might not taste like candy. In some cases, they just make them tolerable, although many reviewers claim they like the taste. BCAAs don’t taste good, so by keeping realistic expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised by the taste of the one you choose!

Amount

Remember, you’ll want at least 4-5 grams of BCAAs per serving, looking for at least a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine. Double the serving size if needed for your size or workout intensity. Each listed below meets these requirements to keep it easy for ya!

The Best BCAA Supplements on Amazon

The ones in this list are clean, free of artificial sweetener and added colors, and low in sugar, if any. They also have the recommended ratio of BCAA’s, and at least 4-5 grams per serving. I’ve included the cost (although I’m sure that won’t remain constant, sorry!) and Amazon star ratings to help you decide. You can click on the photo or “buy now” within each brand. These are affiliate links. I’ll make a small percentage if you choose to buy at no extra cost to you! Thanks for helping me grow my business!

Unflavored

Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAAthe best BCAA supplements with clean ingredients: Optimum Nutrition

Buy Now – be sure to choose “unflavored” from the options

Stats

  • 5 grams per serving
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 4 star Amazon rating
  • 38 cents per serving

Does contain soy; has a great Labdoor (third party testing) quality score!

NOW Sports Branched Chain Amino Acid Powder

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients: now sports BCAA

Buy Now

Stats

  • 4 grams of BCAA’s per serving
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 3.5 stars on Amazon
  • 33 cents per serving

Contains no other ingredients and also boasts of a high Labdoor ranking.

Flavored

Scivation Xtend FREE BCAA Powder, Strawberry Kiwi and Crisp Apple

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients: xtend free

Buy Now

Stats

  • 7 grams BCAA’s per serving
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 3.5 stars on Amazon
  • 66 cents per serving

Scores well with third party testing for quality, also includes electrolytes for improved hydration and glutamine to help boost immunity, which is important if you’re an endurance athlete. Contains 1g of sugar and is also sweetened with stevia.

Be careful to buy only the “FREE” version, as other versions of this brand contain artificial colors and flavors (boooo).

NutraBio BCAA 5000 Powder, Natural Lemonade

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients: nutra bio bcaa

Buy Now

Stats

  • 5 grams
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 3.5 Amazon rating
  • 50 cents per serving

This one is sweetened with monk fruit and stevia and also contains natural flavors, which are always a giant, mostly unavoidable question mark. This brand also boasts of high quality scores for third party testing.

ProMix BCAA Powder, Raspberry Lemonade and Cherry Limeade

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients promix bcaa

Buy Now

Stats

  • 5 grams
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 4 stars on Amazon
  • 66 cents per serving

Contains 1g of sugar and is also sweetened with lemon juice and stevia. ProMix claims they also have high quality scores via third party lab testing.

**If you don’t want any bells and whistles like glutamine or electrolytes, this would be my top pick for value, quality, and ratings!

Performance Inspired Nutrition BCAA Plus, Pineapple Mango Delight and Berry Fruit Blast

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients performance inspired BCAA

Buy Now

Stats

  • 5 grams
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 4+ star Amazon Rating
  • 75 cents per serving (Pineapple Mango price, Berry is slightly higher)

If you’re worried about the taste of BCAAs, this one might be a good one to try first. It has high reviews and contains 4 grams of sugar as well as stevia in each scoop. Maybe that explains the good reviews.

It also contains added electrolytes to keep you hydrated, glutamine for immunity, and taurine for improved performance. Their website claims all their products are backed by testing at informedsports.com.

And this supplement was brought to you by Marky Mark himself, so, there’s that!

Physique Formula BCAA Powder, Watermelon, Grape, and Lemon Lime

best bcaa supplements with clean ingredients physique formula bcaa

Buy Now

Stats

  • 5 grams
  • 2:1:1 ratio
  • 4.5 stars on Amazon
  • $1.33 per serving

This one also contains B vitamins, taurine, and glutamine, and is sweetened with stevia and xylitol. This brand also claims to have third party testing its label accuracy and purity. This one is a little pricier, but they have a lot of happy customers.

Choosing What’s Best for You

Although these aren’t the all brands I found in my research, I think you have plenty of high quality ones to choose from. It’s important to clarify that I’m not in connection with any of these brands nor have I tried all of them. I’ve chosen solely based on ingredients, price, reviews, and quality control.

You can choose from your price point or other preferences, like you hate certain natural sweeteners and want to avoid them, or cherry lime is life and the rest is just details.

Just remember that none of these probably taste like a Flintstone’s Push-pop, and the sweeteners have a tough job covering up the nasty taste of the good-for-you BCAA’s. Cut them some slack if you’re trying to get the benefits of adding BCAA’s into your routine!

Before you buy, remember if you have any sort of medical condition or have a diet under your doctor’s care, call them first before you add any supplement into your diet!

I’d also like to say that a glass of BCAA’s pairs well with my 6 Week Sculpt Program. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what Clean BCAA supplements have worked for you, and if you’re a believer in supplementing BCAA’s or excited to try them!

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