Find the cheapest unflavoured BCAA powder in the UK with our amazing supplement comparison tool below, when it comes to BCAA unlflavored is the cheapest and most pure way of taking them. Just simply add some BCAA Powder to a drink of your choice and you will have the quickest amino acid drink available.
BCAA powder normally comes in a 2:1:1 ratio blend of Leucine Isoleucine Valine but sometimes it is 4:1:1 meaning four times the amount of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine to make the most of the muscle building qualities of BCAA Powder.
Branched Chain Amino Acid supplements or BCAA supplements as they are more commonly called have been around for nearly 40 years.
The description ‘branched chain’ is a direct reference to these amino acids’ chemical structure. Two other terms associated with amino acids are Essential and Non-Essential.
Although there are around 20 amino acids that your muscles use for growth there are three that are essential – leucine, isoleucine and valine making up close to a third of those found in your muscle tissue. And it is these 3 that are normally found in your supplement.
Essential and Non- Essential BCAA – What does it Mean
First let us get one thing straight. All amino acids are essential so the terms are a bit confusing. The terms are used to separate those amino acids that your body cannot manufacture and must get directly from protein foods and vegetables – these are the ‘essential’ ones. And there are nine of them – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and valine.
Non-essential amino-acids can be manufactured by your body using other amino-acids and vitamins.
BCAA Powder Supplements Have Been Studied Intensely
BCCA’s have been studied in great depth by many top scientific groups over the past 30 or 40 years. Early research was very promising.
One of the things that comes through from all these studies is that BCAA’s have an almost impeccable character. In other words they provide significant benefits without risk and the product is reasonably priced.
Initial medical research found that using a BCAA supplement for bed ridden cancer patients on an intravenous feed gave a significant increase in body muscle even though they were inactive. Clearly this created some real interest in the medical world with other uses being investigated.
One investigation found that trained athletes performing under extreme conditions for 3 weeks using a BCAA supplement actually came out with reduced body fat but with an increase in muscle. Normally in such a situation, without the supplement, they would have lost significant muscle mass. Key to this appeared to be that their bodies burnt more fat for fuel thereby helping to retain muscle condition.
What About the Sports Science for BCAA Powder?
The body building and athletic community did not take long to become aware of these results and sports scientists embarked on their own series of research investigations extending the information then currently available. As a consequence many athletes have made use of BCAA supplements for years. They stimulate the building of protein in muscle with the added benefit of reducing muscle breakdown. Other benefits noted are an enhanced cognitive ability and a suppression of lactic acid formation during rigorous exercise.
The result. The fitness and health market now offers 100′s of BCAA supplement choices.
So is There Any Real Difference Between Labels?
Many suppliers will be quite convincing that their particular product is the best. Many users will swear by their chosen brand. But closer investigation suggests that a lot of them are sourced from the same place and they are essentially the same.
They will have a ratio of 2:1:1 for the three components Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine and will be in what is known as ‘free form.’ This means that they are just straight amino acids and are not bound to anything else.
Despite this they are effective so what is the difference that identifies a modern BCAA supplement?
More Research Gives More Information about BCAA Powder
Some recent U.S. Army research (2011) found that by doubling the level of Leucine in their amino acid blend there was a marked improvement in muscle recovery and growth.
So what does this mean? The long held ratio of 2:1:1 was not the most effective for building muscle and enabling preferential loss of stomach or belly fat. A more effective ratio for Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine 4:1:1.
So here we have one clue about how a modern BCAA supplement differs from the rest – it will have the more effective ratio of 4:1:1 rather than the more common 2:1:1.
What Else Should You Know ?
Something that hardly any of us think about is how our body actually absorbs all those good (and not so good) things that we send through our digestive system.
Certainly there is a growing realization that our intestines play a much more significant part in our health and well being than perhaps we have previously thought. But that is about as far as it goes.
It turns out that there are also different amino acid ‘transport systems’ within the gut depending on its type – neutral, dibasic or acidic. I suppose that you could think of them as subway, bus or plane. But if everyone was forced onto the one system it would quickly become overloaded.
And that is the case with your BCAA supplement – these three essential amino acids all use the same ‘neutral’ transport system. When you take your supplement and it reaches your intestine the transport system gets overloaded and not all of it is absorbed. There can also be some unwelcome side effects like gas and bloating in the gut as the excess moves towards the ‘exit’
An Effective Solution For All Of This
If the component parts of your BCAA supplement were in the more effective ratio of 4:1:1 and each was on to a separate ‘transport system’ they would be more effectively absorbed and there would be fewer side effects.
Seems simple but has it been done? Fortunately it has.
BCAA Matrix (TM) has all these features. You might care to think of it as the ultimate Modern BCAA supplement.
BCAA Supplements are generally available in 2 forms – as either a powder or a capsule.
So the question arises are there any differences or advantages for those taking one form or the other.
The immediate answer appears to be NO. In other words there is no significant difference in the composition of the BCAA product.
But are there any other reasons why one is preferable to the other?
You Can Better Manage The Dosage With A BCAA Powder
While it may seem obvious this is something that is not always considered when looking at supplements – controlling the dosage rate.
With a powder it is possible to vary the quantity consumed by carefully measuring it – be it by weight or volume (scoop). Either way this provides for quite good adjustment with the dosage rate. Generally dosage is measured in ounces or grams. Often the scoop provided is ‘calibrated’ as well. So even though it dispenses a volume a level scoop will be noted as equivalent to a certain weight such as 50 milligrams (mg).
However using a BCAA powder means that there is a certain level of ‘fiddling’ and mixing to get a consumable mixture.
BCAA Capsules Deliver A More Precise Dosage
Provided your BCAA capsules come from a reputable source the dose that they deliver is much more certain and precise. Details of the content of each capsule will be listed on the label.
The recommended dosage will be listed on the label- for example 2 capsules twice per day. The label will have each individual ingredient listed with the quantity per capsule together with any non-active ingredients such as vegetable cellulose (for the capsule), rice flour and vegetable stearate.
These measurements are precise and accurate for every capsule so you know exactly how much you are taking.
However you have no option but to take step inputs for your dosage. The ability to vary the dosage on a sliding scale, as you can with a powder, goes out the door with a capsule. Your dosage will be in steps equivalent to one capsule contents. Obvious maybe but not so intuitive unless you stop and think about it.
What Is The Recommended BCAA Intake?
Well that depends on the reason you are taking your BCAA powder or capsule. The most commonly known and everyday use of supplements is among the body building and athletics communities.
Despite some quite extensive trials and testing dosage rates for sporting users are certainly not clearly established. Recommendations appear to vary widely. So it is reasonable to deduce that more research is needed to obtain specific requirements.
Despite this variation and perhaps some contra indications in different research projects there is sufficient scientific evidence to use BCAA supplements for high performance athletes.
The range of benefits is quite extensive – increasing aerobic and anaerobic capacities, improvement in a significant number of physiological factors, better muscle recovery after heavy exercise, reducing the fall off in short term performance during over reaching and a reduction in fatigue. And there may be gains in both muscle mass and strength when a supplement is used.
Typical dosage rates identified in some research range from 200-300mg up to 2 to 5 grams of each of the three BCAA’s found in standard supplements – leucine, isoleucine and valine. In addition the lowest effective daily dosage is 150mg for each one of the three components.
The recommended dosage from Consumer.lab ranges from 1 to 12 grams which again reflects the lack specific usage information. The ratio in most products is typically 2:1:1 for the three components mentioned above. However some more recent research has indicated that a 4:1:1 ratio for leucine, isoleucine and valine is better. And it is this 4:1:1 ratio that some modern bcaa supplements now use. As well as this some of them have also developed an improved delivery mechanism.
Finally, as a basic standard, you should take your BCAA with water before and after your exercise or training routine along with any other supplements. There are other more complex and involved supplementation routines which are not covered here.
Lack Of Toxicity Is A Real Plus
An added benefit is the lack of apparent toxicity or danger using BCAA supplements. They certainly have a great pedigree.
Some authorities recommend that they are not taken for periods longer than 6 months at a time. Others recommend that you should start with small doses gradually increasing the dose so that your stomach and body gets used to the supplement.
And it is here that the difference between a capsule and a powder can come into its own. Because if you have trouble adjusting to the powder then a capsule might be the ideal remedy if you wish to continue taking this supplement.
Other Uses for BCAA Supplements
BCAA’s do have other medical uses as well which are not generally covered in supplement articles. For clinically diagnosed people BCAA’s may assist those with liver disease, support recovery in patients who have been subject to severe physical stress, trauma, burns and kidney failure. And there is some indication that BCAA’s may help surgery patients with their recovery.
If you want to read some general commentary of BCAA supplement WebMD has a useful article in their Vitamins & Supplements section.
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