Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) have become one of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry. Both as a standalone product and ingredient in protein supplements, pre-workouts, and recovery drinks, BCAAs are everywhere. At approximately $18 per pound, its high price SHOULD deliver great results, right? Read More
- Simple Report
- Detailed Report
- Overall Effectiveness Rating
- Research Rating
- Products Containing branched chain amino acids
- Claim Ratings
- The Bottom Line
Overall Effectiveness Rating
The overall effectiveness rating for branched chain amino acids is 1.9 out of 3. This rating means the evidence is mixed on the supplement's ability to deliver positive results. While some of the research supports its use, other evidence does not. Using this supplement may lead to positive results. Note, this effectiveness rating is for branched chain amino acids as a whole; there are also individual ratings for the claims below.
Read more: What is the effectiveness rating?
Research Rating for branched chain amino acids
There are 29 studies in the database on branched chain amino acids; the research rating is 54. A score above 80 means the effectiveness rating for this supplement is reliable. A score under 80 means there is insufficient evidence to ensure a reliable effectiveness rating. Note, this research rating is for branched chain amino acids as a whole; there are also individual ratings for the claims below.
Read more: What is the research rating?
Products Containing branched chain amino acids
|Products Names||Amount of branched chain amino acids|
|Xtend Elite Pre||7g|
|PRO-E||Amount not listed.|
|Full list of all 180 products containing branched chain amino acids.|
The overall ratings above are an average of the individual claim ratings below. Individual claims may have higher or lower ratings compared to the supplement's overall rating. For example, some supplements may have excellent backing for one claim, but be completely useless for another. Click on a claim below for more information.
|Body Composition (weight, muscle, body fat) Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Research Rating|
|decrease body fat||increase muscle mass||maintain muscle mass during weight loss|
|Protein Synthesis Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Research Rating|
|decrease protein breakdown||increase protein synthesis|
|Performance Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Research Rating|
|improve cardiovascular endurance||improve cycling performance||improve muscular endurance||improve running performance||improve sports performance||improve sprint performance||decrease fatigue||increase strength|
|Recovery Claims||Effectiveness Rating||Research Rating|
|improve recovery||reduce muscle damage||reduce muscle soreness|
The Supplement Database includes 18 studies on branched chain amino acids dosing. These studies indicate an effective dose ranges from 1.22 to 29.2 grams per day, the average dose being 12.67 grams per day. For a more detailed dosing analysis visit: Supplement Dosing for branched chain amino acids.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the evidence shows BCAA supplements fall well short of their marketing hype. There are studies showing BCAAs improved some measures, unfortunately, the practical benefits of using this supplement are lacking.
If you are already using a protein supplement, check the label. Chances are, it includes additional BCAAs and you are already seeing any benefits from supplementation. Adding extra is unlikely to yield any further results. Many protein supplements include 4 or more grams of BCAAs. For the vast majority of protein supplement users, more BCAAs will not likely lead to better results.
There are some individuals who may benefit from supplementation. If you cannot eat much following a workout or throughout the day, supplementing helps increase protein synthesis leading to a slew of other benefits. There may also be some benefits for individuals who limit or eliminate animal products from their diets (vegans and vegetarians). However, the vast majority of gym goers should save their money and avoid BCAA supplements. The evidence simply does not support their use.Read full article: The Final Verdict – BCAAs