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BCAA supplements are very popular in last years.
So popular, that there are literally tons of options to choose from, making it hard for you to decide which one to choose.
I mean, why everything has to be so complicated?
You heard somewhere, probably at the gym, that BCAA supplements have magical powers that will help you build mass, improve your muscle recovery, and even to lose weight.
But, when it comes to supplements, before you go ahead and actually buy one, you need to know what that supplement is all about.
- What is it supposed to improve?
- How does it do it?
- Is it safe to take? And do you even need it?
I can just go and on, but I believe you get my point.
We're going to tackle all these questions in order to find out more about BCAAs in general, but also to find out which one is the best bcaa for women.
SciVation Xtend BCAA Powder
Scivation Xtend BCAA Powder is based on the science proven ratio of 2:1:1, and it will power you up with 7g of BCAA's per serving.
More then enough no matter what your goal is.
It's sugar & carbs free and has 0 Calories.
It can help keep you hydrated with the help of electrolytes, and it's even got additional two amino acids like L-glutamine and citrulline malate.
The first can further help you build muscle and the second in boosting performance.
And the fact that you can choose from 3 different serving sizes sure does help.
What is BCAA?
BCAA stands for Branded Chian Amino Acids.
Even though that there are 20 different amino acids, this article will focus on the essential three amino acids:
There are actually 8 essential amino acids, but the three above are the ones that form the BCAA .
In general, you should know that these 8 amino acids are referred to as essentials because our body is not capable of producing them.
You can fuel your body with BCAA by taking supplements, or by eating foods high in BCAA's.
I won't get into the more "technical" stuff about BCAA , because I don't want to overload you with information, and besides, there are more than enough articles online.
I will however say, that they are called BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids) because the aliphatic molecular structure that binds these three amino acids together, has branches.
Told you, no need to talk about technical stuff.
What Are bCAA's Good For?
You see, protein is assembled from a very long string of units called, amino acids.
Each of these amino acids has its own amino group on one end, a C-H group in the middle, and carboxylic acid group on the other end.
The difference in the structure of these amino acids is what that affects the protein that is being constructed from them.
In a matter of form and function.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are accountable for almost 35% of muscle protein.
And since muscles cannot grow without protein, you can comprehend just how important it is to supply your body with these 3 amino acids.
They are the building blocks, or the foundation if you prefer of protein.
Hence, the higher quality of leucine, isoleucine, and valine you'll
provide your body with, the easier it will be for your body to reach its full potential and make you fully enjoy the benefits of these three amino acids.
What Do BCAA's Do?
Leucine, isoleucine and valine play a major role in helping our body build mass, muscle tissue, and increasing its strength.
They also help your body repair damaged tissues, and boost your body's overall energy.
And when taken before workouts they can also help improve performance.
When taken post-workout they can help delay and reduce fatigue.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are what that is left after our body has finished digesting the protein we provided it.
These essential amino acids can be found in many foods that we eat.
- Lean Meat
- Soy Proteins
- Whole Wheat
- Brown Rice
If you provide your body with the sufficient amount of protein via food, and as a result, the sufficient amount of BCAA's, then there is really no need for you to take a Bcaa supplement.
Also if you take whey/protein supplement, most chances it has some BCAA's in it.
What Are BCAA's Used For?
However, if you're on a diet, you can defiantly take BCAA's supplement in order to provide your body the "shot" of protein it needs and at the same time give your metabolism a boost.
As you know, most diets increase the loss of lean tissue and muscle loss.
And because chances are, that when on diet, you limit your calorie intake (DUH!), which usually means you don't provide your body with the sufficient amount of protein, or you're having trouble in doing so.
Therefore, Bcaa supplement can help you maintain muscle tissue and mass, keep your energy level up, boost your metabolism and promotes fat loss.
In fact, it is the leucine that increases the adipocytes (in plain English: fat cells) release of fats for energy.
Most noteworthy is Leucine, which is also the amino acid that is responsible for maintaining muscle when dieting in diabetic condition.
Should I Take Bcaa Supplement?
If you're like most women, even if you're not on diet, the chances you provide your body the sufficient amount of protein, and therefore the sufficient amount of essential amino acids on a regular basis, is quite low.
So supplying your body with sufficient amount of protein, Bcaa, and leucine in particular, will help prevent loss of muscle tissue during your diet.
Furthermore, it may even help in building muscle while getting rid of the fat.
If you do manage to provide your body the sufficient amount and top quality of protein every day, there's really no need for you to take BCAA supplement.
Since you're already providing your body with the three essential amino acids.
On a personal note, I must say that, I know people who reach their daily protein intake on a regular basis and are still taking Bcaa supplement.
They say it makes them they feel more energetic before and during workout, and less tired after a workout.
On the other hand though, it might be just psychological effect of taking a supplement.
What Are Your Goals?
One thing you need to keep in mind is, that the answer to the question, "should I take BCAA supplement" should also rely on the goal you're after.
If you're after losing weight by dieting and starting to exercise, I would definitely recommend taking BCAA supplement.
If you're after building mass and developing muscles, I would recommend taking BCAA supplement only in case you're having trouble in getting to your daily protein level.
You can even take BCAA if you are getting the sufficient amount of protein.
But that's up to you, and frankly, I think its a waste of money.
It won't help anyway.
How Much BCAA To Take
First of all, you need to find out what is the sufficient amount of protein you need to
supply your body on a daily basis.
Most sources point out, that for athletes, the proper amount of protein per day is
between 1.3-1.8g per 1kg/2.2 pounds of body weight.
So a rough estimate would be, if you weigh 180 pounds, you would need to provide
your body 122g of protein every day.
180 pounds divided by 2.2 pounds = 81 pounds
81 pounds times 1.5 g of protein = 122 g of protein
For a grown woman (18+) the proper amount of protein per day is 0.8g per 2.2 pounds of body weight. So if you weigh 120 pounds, your proper daily intake of protein is around 43 g per day.
You can use this DRI tool to calculate the amount of protein you need to provide your body.
How To Calculate Your BCAA Intake Per Day
So, now that you know how much protein you should provide your body, you need to know how much BCAA you need per day.
The following recommended levels of BCAA are in mg per gram of your daily protein intake.
Therefore, if you're a woman who weighs 120 pounds, and your daily protein is 43 g per day, your ratio of BCAA per protein is:
Isoleucine: 1.07 g
Leucine: 2.36 g
Valine: 1.37 g
Just multiply your recommended protein intake with the recommended intake of BCAA per protein and you will get how much BCAA you need to take per day.
43 g of protein X 0.025mg of Isoleucine = 1.075 g
Therefore, you need to provide your body 1.075 g of Isoleucine every day.
This method can help you, especially if you're on diet, to provide your body with the sufficient amount of protein through supplementation.
If this is too much for you, you can stick to the scientific proven ratio of 2:1:1 for BCAA .
The 2:1:1 ratio is the ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine
If you're taking BCAA supplement because you want to build mass and muscles, the proper intake for you is 4 to 8 grams before a workout, and 5-10 grams after a workout.
When To Take BCAA
Well again, it depends on why you're even taking BCAA and on your final goal.
If you're taking BCAA supplement in order to build mass and develop muscles, the best time to take your BCAA supplement is 30-40 min' before and after a workout.
When taking your BCAA supplement in a form of powder, meaning you're drinking it, you can start sipping it towards the end of your workout.
Some will say you can even start drinking while you workout.
This will help lower muscle fatigue and improves your muscle recovery rate.
If you're on a diet, I suggest you also take your BCAA shot before and after your workout.
But, you should also take it when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
Because that when on diet, BCAA will provide you the necessary protein boost your lacking because of your diet.
As long as you don't go over your daily dosage.
Not because it's dangerous because it's not, But because it won't matter anyway.
Now with all the technicality out of the way, we can finally move to the reason why we're here.
What Is the Best BCAA For Women?
Like I said at the beginning of this article, the amount of supplement out there can be overwhelming.
This is why I took the liberty to focus on the very best BCAA supplement for you to choose from.
I chose them on basis of the amount of BCAA they provide per serving, ingredients, total serving amount for a pack, price/value ratio, and flavors.
* Note about flavors. I won't be focusing on taste since it is subjective.
Instead, I will focus on the number of flavors you can choose from.
1. SciVation - Xtend BCAA Powder
Scivation Xtend BCAA Powder is based on the science proven ratio of 2:1:1 for BCAA, and it will power you up with 7g of BCAA's per serving.
With each serving you get:
- 3500mg of Leucine.
- 1750mg of Isoleucine.
- 1750mg of Valine.
It's sugar & carbs free and has 0 Calories.
Will last you for 30/90 servings and you can choose from 16(!) different flavors.
It will keep you hydrated, before, during, and after your workouts, thanks to Electrolytes, which carry electrical charge and help balance fluids in your body.
You can usually find them in dairy products and fruits like bananas, watermelon and avocado among others.
Another thing I like is that it's got Glutamine, which is another amino acid that play major role in building muscle.
It's also got some Citrulline Malate which can help boost your performance.
And though they're not essential amino acids, it's still a nice addition to have.
All and all, this might just be the best bang for your buck BCAA supplement.
The downside is that it's got Sucralose in it. And you might, just might, find it too sweet.
2. IdealLean - BCAA's For Women
This BCAA supplement from IdealLean is also based on the scientific ratio of 2:1:1 for BCAA .
With each serving, you will get 5 g of Bcaa.
It doesn't say what is the actual amount of each of the three essential amino acids.
It's also sugar & carbs free and has 0 Calories.
Comes only in 30 servings pack.
And you can choose from 7 different flavors.
It's got 1,000mg of coconut water powder, that will help you stay hydrated during workout.
On top of that, it's also packed with vital vitamins such as:
Vitamin B6 - 20mg
Vitamin B9 - 200mcg
Vitamin B12 - 200mcg
And if that's not enough for you, it also has green tea extract of 50%.
3. Nutricost - BCAA Powder
For those of you who are looking for an all natural BCAA supplement, well, this is the one.
The Nutricost BCAA powder is an all natural, without any additives what so ever, 2:1:1 ratio BCAA supplement.
It's unflavored, and it comes in 500 g pack, which will last you for 83 servings!
Each serving is packed with 6 g of Bcaa.
3000mg of Leucine, 1500mg of Isoleucine, and 1500mg of Valine.
This one is also sugar & carbs free and has 0 Calories.
Some people reported that it is quite hard to drink, since it is all natural.
Once you'll drink it, you'll understand why almost every BCAA supplement out there is mixed with sweeteners and additives.
Anyway, It comes in 41/83/160 servings pack, and you can choose from 4 different flavors.
Keep in mind that the flavored ones are with additives.
The downside here is that it has no other benefits to it, strictly BCAA to the core.
Again this is an overall excellent choice for a BCAA supplement.
Its all natural, no sugar, no carbs and no sweeteners.
And..... It does what it's supposed to do.
The only question is, can you handle the taste?
4. NLA for Her - Her Aminos
NLA for her - Her Aminos, is deferentially one of the more popular BCAA supplement for women on the market.
It has great taste, and 4 flavors to choose from.
Will last you for 30 servings.
It's packed with 5.87 g of BCAA per serving.
What i don't like is, it doesn't say anywhere what is the ratio between the BCAA's.
Like all the rest so far, this one is also sugar & carbs free and has 0 Calories.
Many people reported they just love the taste of it.
That's probably because it has, like the others, sweeteners and flavors.
5. SHREDZ - BCAA Glutamine Supplement Powder
SHREDZ BCAA is another very popular BCAA supplement for women.
It provides BCAA in ratio of 4:1:1, which doesn't necessarily means it's better than the other 2:1:1 formulas.
With each serving you will get
- 4 g of Leucine
- 1 g of Isoleucine
- 1 g of Valine
Meaning that overall, you're getting 6 g of BCAA per serving.
One of the downsides is, it only comes in 2 flavors. Fruit Punch, and Pink Lemonade.
The other one is the price, its a bit pricey if you ask me, especially when considering the fact it will last you for 30 servings.
And like the rest, this one is also using artificial sweeteners and flavors.
Oh, and it also has soy in it, and on the positive side, it does has other BCAA's in it.
wrapping it up on bcaas
BCAA can help you reach your goal, whether you're after bulking up, or losing weight.
It is the building blocks of protein, and we must provide it to our body via our diet, or by supplementation. In anyway, it's vital to provide your body with top quality protein, no matter if it's from food or a supplement.
if you regularly manage to provide your body with the sufficient amount of protein, then you don't really need any BCAA supplement.
If you're on a diet, or planning on starting one, BCAA supplement may be just the thing you need.
Since it can provide you with top quality protein without bouncing
up your calorie intake.
This will result in better energy, improved workouts, muscle recovery, and will help you with fat loss.
Keep in mind that the BCAA supplement I listed here have 0 sugar, 0 carbs, and 0 calorie.
So yeah, I think that BCAA supplements are a great supplementary choice.