Here I’m sharing the best organic BCAAs I’ve found, along with some info on what they are and why you should drink them!
If you’ve read anything about fitness, you know there are TONS of acronyms – EMOM (every minute on the minute), HIIT (high-intensity interval training), BMI (body mass index) … I could go on and on.
But there are also some acronyms related to dietary supplements — like BCAAs.
Although you may not win trivia if anyone asked “What does ‘BCAAs’ stand for?” Or “When should you drink BCAAs?,” I’m sure you’ve probably heard that BCAAs are the best way to support your body’s ability to build muscle and lose body weight.
If you’re interested, or just want to up your trivia game, keep reading! I’m here to give you a little info on amino acid supplements and talk about 6 of the best organic BCAAs out there.
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What Are BCAAs?
There are many different amino acids (20 to be exact) that are the building blocks of proteins in our body (and we have thousands of proteins in our body!). However, nine of the amino acids are considered essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are amino acids that your body is unable to create and therefore must be obtained through other sources, such as food sources (chicken, eggs, beef, etc.) or, if you’re not getting enough BCAAs in your daily meals, protein powders/protein supplements.
BCAA’s, or branched-chain amino acids, make up three of these nine essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids actually make up a large chunk of all the amino acids in your body and are broken down in your muscle tissue, rather than in your liver. Now let’s look at the function of each of these three amino acids.
Leucine helps promote lean muscle growth while assisting with fat loss by stimulating muscle protein synthesis (the process of making muscle). It also helps suppress hunger when following a low carb diet (or when you are a busy mom who tries to squeeze in a workout before breakfast).
Isoleucine helps with burning fat, and not in a weird fat-burning-pill kind of way.
Valine increases your energy levels by providing a natural source of energy, aids in muscle endurance, reduces muscle fatigue and recovery time, and helps with mental sharpness and clarity.
What about the best collagen for moms? Learn all about that here!
So, why drink BCAAs?
Well, if you’re a busy mom like me, you are probably tired, stressed, you munch on a healthy diet of your kids’ leftovers, and you really need to put some better stuff in your body for a change.
But other than just knowing they’re healthy for you and helpful to your body, here are some more specific benefits of BCAA supplementation:
- Can act as a supplemental energy source for your muscles after your store of glucose is depleted (your primary energy source) – an important role for longer workouts!
- The amino acid powders can reduced fatigue during exercise
- Promotes muscle building post workout and increases skeletal muscle mass
- Prevents muscle loss
- Enhances fat loss and weight loss
- Reduces damage to muscles and decreases soreness – one of the hardest parts of building muscle gain we have to overcome!
- Helps reduce cravings
- May prevent liver disease (liver cirrhosis) and complications
- Plus, BCAAs can actually help lower cortisol levels, which are raised by stress, and thus enhance overall brain function.
- Helps regulate hunger levels (admit it, a hangry mom is a dangerous creature!)
While there is a general consensus that BCAAs increase exercise performance to help you get the best results, there are some potential side effects to drinking BCAAs in excess. Excessive consumption of BCAAs can include:
- Feeling off balance/nausea
- Increased insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes
- Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
When should you drink BCAAs?
While there are no definitive answers to when is the best time to take workout supplements like BCAAs (based on various research), here are some suggestions.
I typically drink some kind of pre-workout supplement before I start exercising and then sip on my BCAAs during exercise and/or drink it right after. Drinking BCAAs during and after your workout helps to reduce post-muscle breakdown and muscle soreness, as well as increase muscle repair.
However, there are many people who like to drink BCAAs prior to working out. It takes BCAAs approximately 30 minutes to take full effect in your blood after consumption. Some people like to drink BCAAs prior to working out since they can act as an additional energy source for your body.
You may also want to consider drinking your BCAAs with some kind of protein shake or finding a protein shake that contains BCAAs. Some studies have shown that whey protein (with included BCAAs) and complete proteins maximize muscle protein synthesis, which play an essential role in the process of making muscle fibers.
Just as a note, I prefer to mix BCAA powder with plain cold water. There are some fun recipes out there that you can try if you like though!
Are BCAAs safe during pregnancy?
There’s a lot of conflicting information about BCAAs, and supplement companies in general, regarding whether they are safe during pregnancy, or during breastfeeding and unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence gathered to guarantee that BCAAs are safe to take during pregnancy.
One study actually found atypical fetal growth patterns within mice when BCAAs were introduced. However, there are many BCAA powders that state they are safe for use throughout pregnancy.
Overall, I have found that it is not recommended to take any BCAA supplementations, so you may need to focus on getting these amino acids through natural sources in your diet.
I recommend consulting with your doctor before you try any BCAA supplements to ensure that you can (1) make sure that taking BCAAs will be safe for you and your baby and (2) choose a supplement that will work well with your body during your pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
On to the good stuff!
What amino acids powder or capsules should I buy?! There are a LOT of brands out there, and I have tried my fair share. I used to drink synthetic BCAAs – it was a very popular brand that I bought at a very popular supplement store, but I wasn’t really comfortable with the extra ingredients it contained (and these often contain copious amounts of unhealthy synthetic sweeteners).
Then I followed some advice from an online influencer and, while the ingredients didn’t seem bad, the taste was UNBEARABLE. In hopes that you don’t have to go through this (or so you don’t have to go through it anymore), I have searched the web to put together a list of six of the best organic BCAA supplements or powder forms – make sure to look at the descriptions to ensure the powder or supplement meets any dietary needs (such as a vegan diet).
7 Best Natural and Organic BCAA Products
Some of the BCAAs listed below are truly organic, while others have natural ingredients but do not have a certified organic label. You can read through the descriptions, but I only share products that I trust and have used (or would use) myself!
1. Clean BCAA by Clean Machine: Natural, Food-Sourced BCAAs and Coconut Water Electrolytes
This is one of my (and many others’) top picks! Clean BCAA by Clean Machine is guaranteed natural, certified organic, plant-based vegan, non-GMO, and gluten and soy free.
It is made with natural flavors, coloring and sweeteners and with 100% fermented non-GMO corn (instead of duck feathers or human hair, like some BCAAs), sunflower seeds, and coconut water. This is also a great source of B6 which is great for brain health, your immune system, and overall health .
These Clean BCAAs are made with a 2:1:1 ratio to support muscle protein synthesis, reduce muscle breakdowns, and promote muscle recovery and repair. They also have a 100% money-back guarantee (within 60 days), just in case you don’t like it.
Clean Machine BCAA comes in unflavored, lemonade flavored, and fruit punch flavored.
2. BCAAs by Snap Supplements: Muscle Strength and Recovery
BCAAs by Snap Supplements is made from 100% natural ingredients and is non-GMO. They boast 100% organic BCAA supplements that are blended to support muscle building and hydration that is plant-based and has zero calories and zero sugars.
Like Clean Machine, they have a money-back guarantee (within 90 days) if you don’t like it – although they encourage you to try it for the full 90 days so you can see results over time.
3. The Original by Xtend
The Original by Xtend boasts zero sugar, zero calories, and zero carbs while supporting workout recovery and growth. This BCAA formula is made from a 2:1:1 ratio of L-Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
Added hydration electrolytes will help maintain hydration throughout the day and supports recovery. They recommend that you use this powder before, during, and after your workout.
I like both of the mango madness and strawberry kiwi splash flavors myself. But there are many other different flavors: Watermelon Explosion, Lemon Lime Squeeze, Knockout Fruit Punch, Smash Apple, Blue Raspberry Ice, Freedom Ice, Glacial Grape, Italian Blood Orange, and Blueberry Lemonade
4. Plant Aminos by Triquetra Health: All 9 Essential Amino Acids with 18 Total Amino Acids
Plant Aminos by Triquetra Health is 100% organic plant-based essential amino acids delivered in raw whole-food form (thought to have 4x higher absorption than Whey or Soy-based amino acids). They are organic certified, raw, vegan BCAAs.
This supplement contains all 9 essential amino acids (not just the BCAAs), and 18 total amino acids. These supplements support performance, energy, mental function, and mood.
5. Naked BCAAs by Naked Nutrition
These amino acids by Naked Nutrition are made with no artificial sweeteners. They boast rapid absorption and are one of the best vegan BCAA supplements.
This supplement is non-GMO and soy and gluten-free. There are 5 grams of BCAAs per serving with 0 grams or carbs and 0 calories.
Each serving meets a 2:1:1 ratio with 2.5 grams of L-Leucine, 1.25 grams of L-Isoleucine, and 1.25 grams of L-Valine.
Plus, this amino acids powder is flavor free (therefore no artificial flavors) just in case you don’t like sweet flavors or if you need a powder to add to your current shakes you drink already.
6. Vegan BCAA by Truth Sports
“Proven science meet Mother Nature!” Vegan BCAAs by Truth Sports are 100% natural, vegan, fermented plant based amino acids that level the power of bimolecular fortification – this means that it activates pre-, intra-, and post-workout to improve results no matter what. These BCAAs are made with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
The pink lemonade and watermelon flavors are pretty yummy. Other hot flavors include blood orange and red raspberry!
7. Momsanity Natural BCAA Powder
Momsanity is a brand that is designed for women, by women. With a 3:1:1 ratio, no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or dyes, you can feel good about putting this into your body. It is sweetened with stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit, and comes in fruit punch (my fave), orange crush, raspberry lemonade, and cherry lime flavors.
Momsanity also has protein powders worth checking out!
Now that you know more than the average person about the top organic BCAA companies, try these products out and find the best one for you! Happy exercising and remember to always take time to take care of YOU!
Get more great fitness tips (and workouts) here!