Up until relatively recently, BCAAs (or branched-chain amino acids) we’re simply a constituent of protein supplements.
Now, however, they’re recognized as valuable supplements in their own right as they increase the rate of protein synthesis, thus helping to promote muscle gain (bulk) and, just as importantly, maintain those gains as you lose weight again (cut), which is why we pressed on with this Ultimate, your very own, Best BCAA UK Top 10 List.
The three, key BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, which have traditionally been consumed in a 2:1:1 ratio, although some brands are moving away from this and developing other ratios.
Depending on your preference, you can have your BCAA drink during your workout or afterwards, perhaps in combination with a protein shake.
Serious comment, if you have your BCAA shake and your protein shake after your work out, mix and drink them separately. We’ve yet to discover any BCAA product which could be mixed and drunk together with any protein product.
You’re welcome to try to prove us wrong, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
So here is our round-up of the top 7 best BCAAs currently available on the market, plus a bonus pick for vegans or anyone else who wants to avoid dairy protein. We’ve specifically looked for BCAAs which were available on Amazon, so we could be sure you could get your hands on them regardless of where you live, plus if you spend over £20 or have Amazon Prime, delivery is free.
Top Ten BCAAs UK List
BSN Amino X Review
The main reason BSN products tend to appear in “best of” lists so regularly is because they offer great value for money and this is certainly true of BSN Amino X. When it comes to your choice of BCAAs there’s an extra, possible reason to buy it which is that it’s caffeine-free.
In theory, it’s available in 7 flavours although in reality you’re probably going to find four, maybe five, at most stockists, basically reflecting what most people like. Regardless of what flavour you choose, you’ll get 10g of blended BCAAs along with the essential amino acids, L-Alanine, Taurine and L-Citrulline.
There are a couple of minor points to consider when looking at this product. The first is that the scoop is quite wide in comparison with the neck of the tub, so it can be a bit of a pain to get the product out. If that’s an issue for you, then you can just decant it into another airtight container.
The other is that for some reason this product does seem to shake up very easily to the point where it can actually take the lids of shakers (or so we’ve heard), so we’d suggest giving it a bit of a stir or gentle shake, before you go full-blast.
- AMINO ACID BLEND - 10 g of amino acids per serving (includes 4 g of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine).
- CAFFEINE FREE - AMINOx is the perfect any time powder without the inclusion of stimulants*
- ZERO SUGARS
- NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS
- Contains VITAMIN B6 to help reduce tiredness and fatigue
- MIXES EASILY - no clumping
- 2 SIZES AVAILABLE - 30 servings or 70 servings
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MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 Capsules Review
Vegetarians move along, these capsules are made with gelatine. You may wish to look at the MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 powder although we have to say we don’t like it as much.
MusclePharm are, currently, the only company producing BCAAs in the 3:1:2 ratio and according to their literature, they have a patent pending on it. We’re not lawyers, but we’d assume that this patent related to the way in which they produce the formula rather than the ratio itself, since we’re not at all sure how you would be able to patent that.
In any case, each serving of MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 delivers 3 grams of L-Leucine, 2 grams of L-Valine and 1 gram of L-Isoleucine. The company believes that this delivers optimum performance (although we’re more inclined to think that there’s no ideal product for everyone, which is one reason why we try to provide a range of choices).
A serving is 8 capsules, which, effectively have no flavour. This may be a reason for choosing them, if you can’t find a powder you like (or can manage to hold your nose and swallow).
- Rapidly absorbed branched chain amino acid complex
- Delivers bccas in the patented ratio of 3:1:2
- Support lean mass growth
- Help to promote muscle development and maintenance
- This may help provide support against muscle breakdown and lead to gains in body mass without losing weight
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Optimum Nutrition (Essential) Amino Energy Review
This product is sometimes listed with the “essential” bit in the name and sometimes without. In either case, it’s theoretically available in an impressive 12 flavours although we wouldn’t count on finding them all in stock. We’d also say that although it’s literally a matter of taste which one you prefer, some flavours do seem to mix more easily than others.
If you have an issue with mixing your drink, using warm water may help. Warm, in this case means warm, not hot not cold. You can always heat it up or cool it down once it’s mixed.
Whatever flavour you buy and however you mix it, you end up with 100mg of caffeine to go along with your 5 g of micronised amino acids, which include 3g of BCAAs as follows: L-Leucine 1g, L-Isoleucine 0.5g, L-Valine 0.5g, L-Glutamine 1g. This is presumably why Optimum Nutrition (Essential) Amino Energy is often so highly commended for its beneficial influence on mental focus.
The only downside to this product is the same as with all Optimum Nutrition products, namely they are premium-grade products and priced accordingly, but if you’re seriously committed to training, then this could reasonably be counted as an investment purchase.
- AMINO ACID BLEND - a blended mix of 5 g amino acids in every serving
- ENERGY - Contains 24 mg of Vitamin C in every serving to support your energy and help you get through the day or a grueling workout
- MENTAL FOCUS - don't allow the day to get the best of you, the unique formula in ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY helps provide you with the mental focus you...
- ANY-TIME FORMULA - perfect for any time of the day such as helping you get energised and focused in the morning, helping to stay focused and...
- 30 CALORIES PER SERVING
- NO ADDED SUGAR
- 10+ DELIGHTFUL FLAVOURS TO CHOOSE FROM - Fruit Fusion, Blue Raspberry, Orange Cooler, Lemon Lime, Strawberry Lime, Pineapple, Watermelon, Lime & Mint...
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Phd Nutrition BCAA Intra+ Review
PhD Nutrition is another premium brand and it’s made its name on innovation. The innovation in this case being the addition of coconut-water powder to its three flavours, which are coconut and lime, coconut and mango and watermelon.
We haven’t tried the watermelon flavour but we can tell you that, in general, coconut water is pretty mild and so we doubt you’d notice the taste unless it was really ladled on. In fact even the coconut and lime is pretty mild although from what we’ve heard, most people find it perfectly pleasant.
In all honesty, we’re not sure what extra benefit the coconut-water powder brings. We’re not really buying into it as a source of MCTs and, to be fair, PhD Nutrition isn’t advertising it as such. As far as BCAAs are concerned, however, the fundamentals are solid: L-Leucine 2540mg, L-Isoleucine 635mg, L-Valine 635mg, L-Glutamine 1340mg and L-Alanine 375mg.
There is also vitamin C for additional benefits, including a boost to your immune system.
Overall, we like the Phd Nutrition BCAA Intra+ a lot, if only because it has mild flavours and powerful benefits.
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The Protein Works BCAA Extreme Review
|Values based on:||per 100g||per serving|
|of which Saturates (g)||0.0||0.0|
|of which Sugars (g)||0.0||0.0|
|Allergens – See below ingredients in ORANGE|
|BCAA 4:1:2 (L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin)|
|Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)|
|Pepform® Leucine Peptides (Milk)|
The Protein Works is another brand with an innovative ratio, in this case 4:1:2 (L-Leucine: L-Valine: L-Isoleucine), along with magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. Much to our annoyance, we’re unable to find detailed values for exactly how much you get of any of these but to be fair, The Protein Works is a well-respected name so we’re prepared to believe you get a decent quantity as well as an effective ratio.
In theory, The Protein Works BCAA Extreme is available in four flavours (or three flavours and unflavoured, whichever way you want to look at it). In practice, you’re probably only going to find a couple widely available. Overall, this is another premium product at a premium price, but if you have the budget, The Protein Works’ products are generally worth the money.
- Branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement
- Instantised for easy mixing and absorption in the muscles
- Supports muscle recovery and growth while preventing breakdown
- 4:1:2 ratio of L-Leucine, L-Valine and L-Isoleucine and includes a distinct blend of magnesium, calcium and vitamin C
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USN BCAA+ Power Punch Review
Last but my no means least, out of our main picks, we have USN BCAA+ Power Punch. It’s available in four “delicious” flavours. We’ve yet to find a BCAA product which we’d class as “delicious”, so let’s say “pretty decent” for both flavour and mixability. One serving will get you a substantial 7g of BCAAs in a 2:1:1: ratio (L-Leucine: L-Isoleucine:L-Valine) along with Glutamine and vitamin B6. USN BCAA+ Power Punch is a caffeine-free product. Overall, we’d say this was a solid product offering excellent value for money.
- Scientific blend of glutamine and branched chain amino acids
- Added vitamin B6 to promote the transport of the branched chain amino acids within the cellular interior
- Only 34kcal per serving.
- Zero Sugar.
- Enhanced post-training recovery and makes an easy to mix great tasting beverage
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CNP Professional Pro BCAA Burst Apple flavour Review
|Nutritional Information||100g||12.5g Serving|
|Energy||1654kJ / 390kcal||207kJ /49kcal|
of which saturates
|Carbohydrates of which sugars||4.5g 0.6g||0.6g 0.1g|
* Branched Chain Amino Acids
Ingredients: Branch chain amino acid blend (leucine, isoleucine, valine) (Soya lecithin), Taurine, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine Peptides (Milk), Beta Alanine, Flavouring, L- Citrulline DL-Malate, Sodium Chloride, Malic Acid, Sweeteners (sucralose, acesulfame K).
We’re going to have to say up front, that CNP Professional Pro BCAA Burst is only available in two flavours, namely apple and pineapple. If you’re OK with that, then this product is another great value choice. It will give you 11g of protein to go along with 4g Leucine, 1g Beta Alanine and 0.5g each of Isoleucine and Valine.
CNP Professional Pro BCAA Burst is priced so that even those on lower budgets can afford to use it on non-training days to keep up the good work.
- CNP PRO BCAA BURST is a great tasting branched chain amino acid drink that mixes easily and can be used pre, during or post workout
- SUPPORT YOUR TRAINING GOALS - Pro BCAA can be used pre, during or post workout
- ADVANCED BLEND of the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine, together with taurine, beta alanine and citrulline malate
- BCAAs increase the rate of protein synthesis in the body, whilst at the same time reduce the rate of protein breakdown
- SUGAR FREE - easy mixing, fast absorbing amino acid drink
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Bonus pick Vegavero BCAA Powder Review
At this point in time, Vegavero is a bit of an unknown quantity to us, however, if you’re looking for an ethical and/or vegan supplement, which is not only guaranteed free of additives such as Maltodextrin, Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide and Microcrystalline Cellulose but also made with love for the planet, then this one seems pretty decent.
In terms of the actual BCAAs, one serving gets you 500 mg of Leucine, 245 mg of Isoleucine and 245 mg of Valine.
- ABOUT OUR PRODUCT: Our BCAA Complex includes a ratio of 2:1:1 of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, along with B Vitamins, Chromium and Zinc for added...
- 🌿 THE VEGAVERO DIFFERENCE: We make our BCAA with a little more love in Germany by choosing high quality ingredients and following strict...
- WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) are the building blocks to the proteins in our muscles. Opt for BCAA before or during a workout...
- 🌍 THE GOOD STUFF: Everything we produce at Vegavero follows a few simple rules - from nature, with passion, for you. That means our product is...
- 💚 INVESTED IN HEALTH: We are a young and international company based in Berlin, and we develop our products with passion. At Vegavero, we...
Best BCAA UK – Overall
In our opinion, any one of these brands would probably be fine for people who just liked to keep fit without being too serious about it. For these people, your decision is likely to be based on taste and/or price and if you have the budget it might be worth trying some of the premium brands just to see how you felt about the flavours as compared to the more affordable ones.
Those who are serious about training, for example, those who want to compete in bodybuilding, would probably do best with one of the more premium brands, but if these are out of your budget then a product from a good, entry-level brand would be a lot better than nothing.