January 11, 2024

How To Buy BCAA Supplements Online [With Checklist For Athletes]

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

How To Buy BCAA Supplements Online [With Checklist For Athletes]
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Read till the end if you are a professional athlete.

When To Take BCAA?

  • Pre-Workout: Taking BCAAs before a workout can provide energy and reduce muscle breakdown during exercise.
  • During Workout: Consuming BCAAs intra-workout can help sustain energy levels, reduce fatigue, and support endurance.
  • Post-Workout: Taking BCAAs after exercise aids muscle recovery, reduces soreness, and stimulates protein synthesis.
  • Between Meals: Consuming BCAAs between meals can help maintain muscle protein synthesis throughout the day.
Dr. Biglee Murali's tips on how to take BCAAs

Read: BCAA Tips From Fitness Coaches

The timing can depend on your specific goals (e.g., muscle gain, endurance, weight loss) and workout intensity.

How Much BCAA Is Recommended Per Day?

The recommended dosage of BCAAs varies, but a common guideline is around 10-20 grams per day. [ref]

Athletes or individuals with intense training regimes may benefit from the higher end of this range.

It’s important to follow the dosage instructions on the supplement label, as different products may have varying concentrations.

What Does BCAA Do?

  • Muscle Protein Synthesis: BCAAs, particularly leucine, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, aiding in muscle growth and repair.
  • Energy Production: They can be used as an energy source during workouts, especially when glycogen stores are low.
  • Reduce Muscle Soreness: BCAAs can decrease muscle damage and reduce the length and severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercise.
  • Prevent Muscle Wasting: They can help prevent muscle wasting or breakdown, which is crucial for people with muscle-wasting diseases, the elderly, and during periods of calorie restriction.

How To Take BCAA?

  • Powder Form: Mix BCAA powder with water or a beverage. Many prefer to take it with cold water for a refreshing drink during workouts.
  • Capsule Form: If you're using capsules, take them with water, preferably before or after your workout as per the recommended dosage.
  • With Meals: While not necessary, taking BCAAs with food can help some people avoid digestive discomfort.
  • Consistency: Regular and consistent usage is key for the best results, especially for athletic performance and muscle recovery.

Remember, while BCAAs can be beneficial for certain fitness goals, they should be part of a well-rounded diet and exercise regimen.

Also, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or dietary concerns.

How To Choose The Right BCAA Supplement Online?

Understand BCAA Ratios and Benefits

BCAAs are composed of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The standard ratio is 2:1:1, but variations like 4:1:1 or 8:1:1 offer higher leucine concentrations, potentially enhancing muscle protein synthesis. [ref]

Understanding these ratios helps you choose a product that aligns with your fitness goals, whether for muscle building, endurance, or recovery.

Check for Quality and Purity

High-quality BCAAs are often fermented, leading to a cleaner product. Chemical synthesis, on the other hand, can introduce unwanted byproducts.

Also, look for BCAAs with minimal fillers, additives, or artificial ingredients, as these can affect the amino acid's effectiveness and digestibility.

Read Product Reviews and Brand Reputation

Detailed reviews can provide insights into the product's taste, mixability, effectiveness, and any side effects.

A brand's reputation is often reflected in consistent customer satisfaction and transparent business practices, such as clearly listing all ingredients and their sources.

Consider Your Dietary Preferences

For vegans, fermented BCAAs are ideal as they are typically derived from plant sources.

Additionally, checking for allergen-free certifications (like gluten-free) is crucial for those with specific dietary needs.

Some BCAAs also come with added nutrients or electrolytes, which can be beneficial depending on your nutritional requirements.

Compare Prices and Sizes

BCAAs can range in price. It's important to compare the cost per serving rather than just the total price, as some larger containers may offer a better value.

Starting with a smaller package when trying a new brand can be a wise choice to test its suitability before committing to a larger, more economical size.

Look for Third-Party Testing

Third-party certifications, like NSF or Informed-Sport, mean the product has been independently tested for quality, purity, and the absence of banned substances.

This is particularly important for athletes who undergo drug testing.

A Note To Sportspeople

When buying BCAAs online, the term "banned substances" refers to a range of compounds prohibited in competitive sports by organizations like the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and various sports federations.

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Be sure to check the WADA guidelines on BCAA if you are a competitive sportsperson

These substances are banned because they can enhance performance unfairly, pose health risks to athletes, or violate the spirit of sport.

When BCAA supplements are tested for banned substances, the focus is typically on the following categories:

  1. Anabolic Agents: These include anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass and strength.
  2. Stimulants: Substances like amphetamines, ephedrine, and similar compounds can increase alertness and reduce fatigue.
  3. Diuretics and Masking Agents: These alter the concentration of banned substances in urine or help the body excrete water to meet a weight category or appear leaner.
  4. Peptide Hormones and Growth Factors: These include substances like Erythropoietin (EPO) and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) that can enhance endurance, muscle mass, and recovery.
  5. Beta-2 Agonists: Often used for treating asthma but can also increase muscle mass and reduce body fat.
  6. Narcotics and Cannabinoids: Certain painkillers and marijuana are prohibited because they can mask pain, potentially leading to further injury or unfair advantage.
  7. Glucocorticoids: These steroids have anti-inflammatory effects and can aid in recovery.

Check the full WADA prohibited list.

When a BCAA product is certified by a third-party organization like NSF Certified for Sport or Informed-Sport, it means the product has been rigorously tested to ensure it does not contain these and other banned substances.

This is crucial for athletes who are subject to drug testing and for anyone who wants to avoid inadvertently consuming harmful or illicit ingredients.

These certifications also often include testing for harmful contaminants like heavy metals, ensuring the overall safety and purity of the supplement.

Purchase from Reputable Online Stores or Directly from Manufacturers

Buying directly from the manufacturer's website often ensures authenticity and access to complete product information.

Established online retailers specializing in supplements can also be reliable sources, but beware of third-party sellers on larger marketplaces, as they may sell counterfeit or outdated products.

Check Shipping Policies and Return Options

Understanding the shipping cost, methods, and estimated delivery time can prevent surprises.

A good return policy is a sign of a confident manufacturer and can provide peace of mind, especially when trying a new BCAA product.

Following these detailed steps helps in making a well-informed and safe purchase, ensuring you get a BCAA product that aligns with your health goals and dietary preferences.

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