TOP-10 Best BCAAs for Women | 2019 Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide. What Do Scientists And Fitness Trainers Recommend?
What is the best BCAA for women? First of all, you should opt for products from trusted brands to avoid supplements containing low-quality ingredients. When your health is at stake, you should stick only to reliable suppliers. Also, make sure that the company conducts tests in in-house laboratories or outsources testing to independent labs. Again, supplements are powerful stuff and it is important to be sure that you get exactly what you expect.
Another essential factor to consider is ratio. A 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine is considered by experts to be the most efficient, however, products with other ratios are also available on the market. We believe that Xtend Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion fits these criteria best.
What Are BCAAs? What Do They Do?
BCAA is an abbreviation that stands for a branched-chain amino acid, which can be proteinogenic or non-proteinogenic. The first type of these amino acids includes isoleucine, leucine, and valine, while the second type is a 2-aminoisobutyric acid. In this guide, we will focus on proteinogenic acids and what they do for a woman’s body.
Why are they so important? The thing is that a protein — a biomolecule performing numerous crucial functions such as catalyzing metabolic reactions — consists of one or several chains of amino acids. Therefore, amino acids are vital for proteins while proteins are vital for our organism as they are building blocks of our muscle mass. Our bodies have 20 amino acids, some of which get there through digestion.
This means that our bodies cannot produce all these essential molecules on their own and we should help them by eating the right food. However, eating meat, beans and dairy products is not sufficient for those who need to gain muscle mass. You simply cannot consume 20 eggs at a time, but what you can do is to take BCAA supplements before or during workouts.
The above-mentioned amino acids — leucine, isoleucine, and valine — are in charge of increasing muscle mass. They make up 35% of all amino acids that are required for building up physique but have to be ingested.
One of the most important BCAAs is leucine, which is necessary for “muscle protein synthesis and prevention of muscle catabolism, inhibiting the breakdown of muscle tissue,” according to Nick Mitchell, who is one of the leading personal trainers in the world. When you are doing your workouts, leucine diminishes in your body, whereas this amino acid is essential for the biosynthesis of proteins and building up physique.
What Are The Benefits of BCAAs for Women?
BCAAs offer multiple benefits and are particularly helpful for athletes as they increase performance and decrease recovery time. Experts at the University of New Hampshire mention four major benefits of taking these supplements: protein synthesis aids in building up muscles and preventing muscle loss while the synthesis of serotonin enhances the intensity of your exercises. Besides, BCAAs reduce muscle soreness and fatigue after workouts since these supplements act as a source of energy.
This is one of the most important benefits and reasons why athletes should digest BCAA. Studies show that their intake increases protein balance as these supplements either stimulate protein synthesis or reduce muscle breakdown. As you can see from the results of research conducted by British scientists, these supplements really work. So, according to their data, taking about 6 grams of BCAAs after workouts leads to a more than 20-percent increase in the synthesis of muscle.
Decreased Recovery Time
Muscle soreness is frequently experienced by beginners or athletes who suffered injuries. Actually, this is a side effect of the pressure you put on your muscles, so it would be wise to learn how to handle this symptom. And BCAAs is one of the effective ways to reduce this kind of pain or stiffness in your muscles. More importantly, muscle soreness can last for more than two days and may turn into a real headache for you.
How can BCAA help to relieve muscle soreness? This symptom is a result of minor damage or microtrauma caused to your muscles during exercises. These supplements can decrease this damage, something that makes muscle soreness less durable and severe. This is confirmed by various scientific studies, like this one carried out by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada. The Canadian researchers have found out that BCAAs increase muscle NH3 production over the course of workouts and lead to a “suppression of endogenous muscle protein breakdown”.
Dealing With Fatigue
Fatigue is another problem we have to deal with after intensive exercises. While this feeling is not related to muscle damage, it can have a very negative impact on the efficiency of your exercises. This feeling of tiredness and lack of energy discourages from doing workouts or make reduces their performance. Now, let’s take a look at how BCAAs work in this particular case?
A team of scientists published an article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that explains the whole process pretty well. When you do exercises for a long period of time, a greater amount of tryptophan — an α-amino acid required for the biosynthesis of proteins — is transported to your brain. This results in higher serotonin levels in your brain, which makes you feel fatigue because of the serotonin’s effect on drowsiness and sleep. And this is where BCAA can be helpful. The thing is that they get into your brain using the same “path” as tryptophan and, therefore, decrease the amount of the latter in the brain and, eventually, helps to reduce fatigue.
When A Woman Should Buy BCAAs?
If a woman does fitness exercises, sports or engages in outdoor activities, BCAAs will help her gain muscle mass, cope with muscle soreness and decrease both mental and physical fatigue. The latter is particularly relevant for untrained women, with BCAAs being a sort of a magic wand that will help them take their first steps in the world of fitness and not to be discouraged by pain and discomfort.
Another reason for women to buy BCAAs is that, unlike protein shakes, they do not contain carbohydrates or fats. This makes BCAAs a great choice for women on a diet because they will not add extra calories to what they are eating. That said, as Harry Smith, another famous personal trainer, told The Independent, these supplements are not calorie-free. Typically, 0.3-0.4 ounces of BCAAs contain approximately 40 calories. This is not actually much, but for girls who count every calorie, this could be relevant.
Does it mean that taking BCAAs will harm your diet? Quite the contrary! According to experts at The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, “if you are dieting, your muscle mass will start to decrease and this is exactly when you should include BCAAs supplementation in your diet”. This is because these supplements will prevent muscle loss during workouts as they not only enhance protein synthesis but also help every single cell to generate a greater amount of proteins.
Moreover, BCAAs can help you lose weight. Starkie Sowers from Huntington College of Health Sciences notes that recent studies demonstrate the ability of leucine to stimulate the release of fat cells. Apart from that, this amino acid can prevent the muscles from degrading in people suffering from diabetes. If you are on a diet, taking amino acid supplements will allow you to avoid muscle loss.
How To Take BCAA Correctly
You can take BCAAs anytime but for better results, you should do that before or during exercises. In the form of supplements, they quickly get into your muscles and blood, producing an immediate effect. Besides, unlike many milkshakes or protein-rich food, this stuff does not cause heaviness in the stomach and you can easily continue your workouts right after the intake.
Also, these supplements are convenient and some products can be taken as a drink. And finally, you can safely take many BCAAs in combination with other nutrient additives beneficial for your sports performance. But make sure you check the product label before combining different supplements as some of them may not be compatible.
What is the ideal BCAA ratio?
The best ratio of BCAAs depends on what you are going to achieve. Jim Stoppani, who was the personal nutrition consultant for many celebrities and holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, highlights the leucine as the most important ingredient in any BCAA supplement. This amino acid prompts the process of muscle protein synthesis, which results in increasing muscle mass.
Jim’s advice is to use a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine. Products with a higher leucine ration — a 4:1:1 or 8:1:1 ratio — are perceived by many customers as more powerful and efficient BCAAs. Moreover, some people tend to believe that focusing on leucine and excluding other amino acids will help them achieve better results. Absolutely not! Jim refers to a study carried out by Baylor University that shows a combination of the three amino acids improves protein synthesis better than leucine alone. So remember that the right balance is the key to success.
Another advantage of a 2:1:1 ratio is that it helps to relieve fatigue and, therefore, is recommended for intake during exercises. According to Japanese scientists, his is because of valine, which maintains liver glycogen and blood glucose, assisting in the relief of fatigue during workouts. If you still want to try 4:1:1 or 8:1:1 ratio, the best time to take these supplements is after exercising when you need more protein synthesis to recover muscle tissues.
Recommended BCAA Dosage for Women
Those women who do fitness exercises should take about 4 grams of BCAAs daily, but for more intensive workouts, the dosage can be increased to up 12 grams a day. If you stick to 4 grams a day, you can take your supplements once a day, whereas the higher dosage should be divided into several serves a day. If your goal is to lose weight, the dosage should not exceed 6 grams per serve. In this case, you should take your BCAAs approximately half an hour before workouts.
Trusted Brands of BCAA for Women
The best selling brand of BCAA mix drinks is Xtend. The company has been manufacturing products for muscle recovery for about a decade, taking advantage of scientific findings and innovation.
Bluebonnet has been on the market for nutritional supplements for about 30 years, focusing on natural and organic ingredients. The company was awarded the prestigious GMP Registration, meaning it meets all the FDA standards for manufacturing and testing their products. This brand offers a wide range of diet supplements, including amino acids, most of which come in vegetable capsules.
FitMiss includes an assortment of women’s supplement products that are marketed as being formulated specifically for women. This brand is owned by Muscle Pharm, the company that also offers MP Essentials amino acids for muscle build-up.
The Raw Synergies supplements are well-known on the sports nutrition market. The company is headquartered in Tacoma, a city in the State of Washington, and owns a brand named Amino Slim designed for weight management.
Nutricost uses the purest ingredients and high-quality sources for its supplements and offers a generous 2-month guarantee. The company has a great variety of supplemented amino acids, so there is an impressive choice to suit any taste.
ClearCut products are made by a company that offers not only BCAAs but also personal training, group classes, and downloadable workouts.
What Do Buyers Say About BCAA Supplements?
You can find lots of reviews of amino acid supplements online, so let’s take a look at some of them. So BeerBiceps has reviewed Xtend BCAAs. This product will give you 90 servings and has a number of advantages. First, these amino acids absorb very fast into your body so that your muscles could immediately repair even in the middle of your workouts. Secondly, they delay the onset of fatigue. He notes that this product will be beneficial not only for athletes but also for anyone who follows a diet or goes on a fast. People who are on steroids may take advantage of these supplements as well because they work out for up to 4 hours and need immediate recovery.
Why buy Xtend BCAAs? Apart from the three must-have amino acids that are present in any similar product, this one also includes L-glutamine which helps with muscle recovery. In addition, it contains an electrolyte blend that is free of sugar electrolytes and plays a role in replenishing stores of minerals when you are sweating. In his opinion, this is the best product in its category from a reputed American brand and is worth buying.
Another Youtuber, LaurenRoseUk has reviewed several BCAAs for women. She regularly does her fitness exercises in a gym and finds amino acid very useful. Lauren says that she feels like she gets more out of her workouts. That being said, she likes these drinks also because of their nice taste. As Lauren put it, for her, BCAA is just kind of an exciting thing to drink, a “little treat for the day.” And it is not a big surprise since many products have delicious flavors of strawberry, peach or kiwi. This kind of stuff tends to be pretty sweet and, according to her, is “super tasty.” She recommends shaking BCAA drinks with ice and take 5 grams per serving. Then she tried a product with a coca-cola flavor, which smells rather like a watered-down version and, unlike real Coca-Cola is not fizzy, of course.
TOP Best Rated BCAAs for Women
Below, you will find a review of the TOP Best BCAA supplements for women at a price ranging from $15 to $30. These products have different formulas, flavors and come in different ratios. Some of them also include additional ingredients for extra benefits, such as improved sleep and stress relief.
1. Xtend Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion
This sugar-free product is the most popular BCAA on our list. Why? Made by a reputable company with a long history of success, it comes in a 2:1:1 ratio, which is scientifically proven to be the most effective and safest for workouts and weight loss. The product contains three amino acids, glutamine, citrulline malate, and an electrolyte blend. This solution will stimulate your muscle growth, help the muscles to recover after exercises and hydrate you well enough. Customers rate Xtend Original highly and note that it has a wonderful refreshing flavor of watermelon. One of the buyers who has tried it for the first time says that her muscles felt much better compared to other workouts.
2. Bluebonnet Nutrition Extreme Edge BCAA
I recommend this product for intensive workouts as it comes in a 4:1:1 ratio per serving because higher concentrations of leucine will help your muscles recover faster. In addition to the three main amino acids — leucine, isoleucine, and valine — its formula includes L-glutamine that will accelerate muscle growth even more. This stuff contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners, nor does it include gluten or yeast. One 13-ounce pack gives you 30 servings, so for some $25, you will have enough BCAAs for the whole month. Customers like that the product contains natural ingredients and recommend taking these supplements before workouts.
3. FitMiss Women’s BCAA Powder
Designed specifically for women, this product has an unusual ratio — 3 (leucine): 1 (isoleucine): 2 (valine). Why? The company claims that this ratio of amino acids is ideal for a woman’s body as it both helps muscle growth and supports lean muscle mass. Besides, these supplements are easy to use, just mix the powder with water and enjoy its amazing strawberry taste. If you are on a diet, you will like that this product is calorie- and sugar-free. This BCAA powder was thoroughly tested and does not contain any substances that are banned for athletes. Many customers who purchase it for muscle recovery say that it’s a great product for the price and tastes delicious.
4. Amino Slim BCAA Drink for Weight Loss
Not only does this product contain beneficial amino acids and glutamine but it also includes KSM-66 Ashwagandha, which is an extract from the root of the ashwagandha. The latter is a plant that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries and is supposed to promote endurance and strength. This herb can also improve your sleep, which will be very helpful if you are on a diet. Amino Slim is a bit pricier than other items on the list as you will get only 20 servings for about $25, but this is the price you pay for extra natural ingredients. It is noteworthy that almost 90% of the customers gave these BCAA supplements five stars, pointing out the product’s nice flavor and convenience in use.
5. Nutricost BCAA for Women
Like other items on the list, this one is non-GMO, gluten- and calorie-free. It comes in a 2:1:1 ratio, which is proven by scientific studies as the safest and most effective one. In addition to amino acids, it includes vitamins B and D as well as biotin. You can trust this product as it was manufactured at an FDA-registered facility and tested in an independent laboratory. It does not contain sugar but, according to buyers, the solution certainly includes some artificial flavors because it is pretty sweet. Customers say that these supplements are “fantastic” for the female body, in particular, for muscle recovery, energy, and the health of hair, skin, and nails.
6. MP Essentials BCAA Powder
I think it is a good idea to buy BCAA supplements that do not have too sweet flavors as the latter may trigger an appetite. That is why I like the lemon-lime flavor of this one. The only downside is that the taste seems to be a bit chemical and some buyers do not like it. The company claims that it has developed the ideal combination of BCAAs — 3 (l-leucine) : 2 (l-valine) : 1 (l-isoleucine). This product is said to be particularly beneficial for the reduction of muscle breakdown and weight loss. On top of that, these supplements are great for those who are on a budget as one pack containing 30 servings costs about $15.
7. ClearCut PRE BCAA for Women
I recommend this product for women who want to build up muscles. This stuff is great for intensive workouts and can quickly boost your energy. The thing is that it contains a mix of ingredients that will help you do your exercises longer and get better results. Caffeine will keep you energized, taurine and beta-alanine will make your muscles stronger, while l-citrulline malate and BCAAs will increase your stamina. Buyers like that this product includes only those ingredients that are required for gaining muscle mass and does not contain risky ingredients and unnecessary blends. One of the customers says that after taking these supplements for about two weeks, she could lift more weight than she used to do before.
10 Best BCAAs for Women Comparative Table
Risks of Using BCAAs for Women
While there are multiple benefits of taking such supplements, you should be aware of certain risks they can pose to people with health issues. So you should abstain from taking BCAAs in the following cases:
- Insulin Secretion. If you suffer from diabetes, you should first consult a doctor before using BCAAs. Scientific studies show that leucine can stimulate insulin secretion while worsened insulin resistance can cause Type 2 Diabetes.
- Liver Diseases. People with liver diseases should not take these supplements without medical advice. Chinese researchers have found out that amino acid supplements can lead to an “injury via complex mechanisms involving both adipocytes and hepatic cells”. They came to the conclusion that such injuries are even more dangerous than those caused by smoking.
- Cancer Risk. The problem with BCAAs is that they are beneficial for all cells and tissues in your body, including the cancerous ones. According to a study, malignant cells can use excessive amino acids as nutrients and a source of energy for tumor growth. Therefore, if you a cancer survivor or have symptoms indicating this kind of disease, keep in mind that BCAA supplements are capable of stimulating cancer progression.
- Heart Issues. While having a positive impact on metabolic health, BCAAs supplements can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists say. This risk is particularly acute in people with diabetes.
Why take BCAA supplements?
The most common reason for taking these supplements is to improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness after workouts. They are also known to boost muscle growth and can maintain muscle mass in people with chronic diseases. On top of that, women on a diet will also benefit from BCAAs.
Who needs BCAA?
Athletes are the primary consumers of BCAAs, but not only them. If you regularly go to a gym or just a beginner, these supplements will help you improve your results and reduce muscle recovery time. That being said, BCAAs can help to lose weight, so no wonder that they are so popular among women.
Can BCAA cause acne?
Higher levels of essential amino acids do not cause acne directly, however, some studies show that teenagers who take protein supplements for muscle growth are more likely to suffer from an acne outbreak. More importantly, most acne appeared not on the face but on their bodies.
Can BCAA make you sick?
If you overdose on supplements you are most likely to feel sick. But even when you take a correct dose, you may have stomach issues, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea.
When BCAA should be taken?
The best time to take these supplements is approximately 15 minutes before workouts. You can take them several times a day, depending on the size of a serving.
Is BCAA healthy? What are the side effects of BCAA?
They are generally safe when a daily intake does not exceed 35 grams. However, higher levels of essential amino acids can pose some health risks. So people with diabetes, heart disease, liver issues, and cancers should not take BCAAs. As for side effects, these supplements may cause pains in the stomach, nausea, and diarrhea.