Are you searching for vegan-friendly BCAAs in order to improve your performance during workouts and your muscle growth after workouts?
If yes, then we’ve organized a list with six high-quality vegan BCAA supplements that will help you achieve those goals. BCAAs have amino acids that allow your muscles to recover and rebuild faster, and also to grow stronger, bigger, and with better quality.
In order to help you find a good BCAA supplement, we’ve researched & compared some of the best vegan BCAA supplements we could find on the market.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Vegan BCAA Supplement
To find the right vegan BCAA, it’s important to look at several options, and evaluate the different aspects that make each supplement unique or better than the others.
Conceptually, most supplements are a blend of ingredients designed to exploit the benefits of each, singular ingredient to maximize a health-related mechanism in our bodies.
Therefore, the first thing to consider before purchasing a BCAA supplement is:
Ingredients: The first thing to look at is the list of ingredients. A solid BCAA will always have the most important nutrients (or amino acids) that prevent protein breakdown and incite protein synthesis: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Any other ingredient that comes afterward may be considered an added bonus as long as it has the scientific evidence to prove that the ingredient does, in fact, offer the claimed benefit.
Value for money: BCAAs are not the cheapest of supplements. However, like anything, that doesn’t mean you should pay more than what the supplement is actually worth. Generally, we’re looking at $0.50-$1.50 per serving, excluding the quality of ingredients, as well as their number. Some supplements are a combination of pre-workout, BCAA, and nootropic (for improved mood) in a single bottle. In some cases, the price is justified, but in others, it isn’t.
Brand reputation: Who’s the company behind the product? Are they well-known and trust among buyers and members of the fitness community? A trustworthy company usually has a pure product that does NOT include banned substances or any other harmful contaminant.
Convenience vs taste: Does the product come in powder, pills, or capsules? Capsules and pills are more convenient because you don’t have to mix them with water or other supplements. While powders, although they’re more easily digestible, they may have a good or bad taste. Believe it or not, but a supplement with a bad taste can actually keep people from consuming it.
Top 9 Vegan BCAA Supplements
Transparent Labs – Vegan BCAAs + Glutamine
This Vegan BCAA by Transparent Labs is among our favorite BCAAs, not only due to its plant-based composition, but because its blend of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, also includes Glutamine and Coconut Water Extract.
On one hand, you have the right 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, which is a clinically effective dosage designed to promote protein synthetis and recovery.
Then you have Glutamine, which is a naturally occuring nonessential amino acid that plays an important role in protein synthesis by actually increasing it.
Lastly, Coconut Water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes, which are quite effective in preventing dehydration from strenuous training. Plus, when you train, you lose electrolytes (sodium and potassium), which must be replenished via food, water, or supplements.
However, Coconut Water actually contains 5 electrolytes your body needs:
- and Calcium.
All of which are extremely important for muscle, bone, and cardiac health.
On top of that, Transparent Labs makes a compelling case for a super clean, highly transparent approach to nutritional supplements, which is why it’s our favorite BCAA supplement.
Performance Lab – Vegan BCAAs
This BCAA by Performance Lab is designed by a highly reputable company from Europe (the UK to be more precise), and they’re known for producing many quality supplements, not just this BCAA.
Unlike many BCAA supplements, Performance Lab BCAA follows a scientific approach with the 2:1:1 BCAA ratio, which is essentially the safest form of BCAA according to evidence.
The supplement itself is available in vegan-friendly Nutricaps, a rather clean and convenient alternative to artificial flavors, sweeteners or any other additives that companies may use to mask the often disgusting flavors of their supplements.
Furthermore, Performance Labs uses two technologically advanced blends of BCAA’s called Ajipure and Nutrigenesis.
Ajipure refers to clean, bioavailable BCAAs made from natural vegetable-based carbohydrates that use the patented, eco-friendly Ferment-A-Pure technology. And Nutrigenesis refers to lab-grown BCAAs with built-in absorption-enhancing properties which include probiotics, fibers, enzymes, and antioxidants.
This is hands down one of the best, pure grade BCAAs in the market, but it’s not the cheapest.
Driven’s Amino – Vegan BCAAs
Driven’s Amino contains the ideal ratio of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine to promote muscle growth and recovery, as well as prevent overall fatigue. This inevitably allows you to exercise with more intensity for longer periods of time.
On top of that, it also contains L-Glutamine, another important amino acid that plays a fundamental role in decreasing muscle soreness and improving your recovery after intense exercise. Plus, Glutamine also plays an important role in immune function.
Several reviews mention that this BCAA mixed with water makes for a delicious mid-workout drink, not to mention you’re also preventing the body from entering a catabolic state.
It comes in four different flavors: Watermelon, Grape, Fruit Punch, and Fresh Lemonade, all of which are quite delicious and refreshing, especially during a WOD.
Kaged Muscle – Vegan BCAAs
The Kaged Muscle BCAA formula is an unflavored BCAA formula that is priced very generously for the amount of servings it contains (72 servings).
Despite the price, this formula includes BCAAs processed through natural fermentation, so you have amino acids that taste better, dissolve easily and are of much higher quality.
The Kaged Muscle formula is also free from artifical colors, flavors and other weird substances.
While there aren’t many conceptual differences between this formula and some of the products I’ve mentioned with simple formulas, their difference in servings is massive.
That alone makes this BCAA the best bang for your buck, especially if you’re looking for a BCAA that is designed simply for muscle growth and endurance.
The Genius Brand – Vegan BCAAs
What we love about this Genius BCAA— is that it has such a well-rounded formula that can benefit you during, after, and outside a workout.
The Genius BCAA contains a variety of ingredients that help you build muscle, recover from exercise, and actually improve your mood and motivation.
This is due to the genius blend that features ingredients that promote protein synthetesis, energy levels, and stress reduction.
Besides the branched-chained amino acids (L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine, L-glutamine, L-tyrosine, and L-citruline malate), it contains stimulants (natural caffeine), and other plant-based ingredients such as rhodiola rosea, an adaptogen that increases your body’s resistance to stress.
While you have stimulants that boost your energy levels by triggering synapses in your brain, you also have clinical doses of adaptogenic herbs that calm your brain, preventing the common jittery and crash from happening after you consume the supplement.
This being said, the Genius BCAA is quite pricey, and it only has a 21-day supply, which is an aspect some people may not be too adamant about. However, this is by far our most favorite supplement quality-wise, and most of the reviews on Amazon also agree!
Raw Barrel – Vegan BCAAs
Unlike the Genius BCAA, the No Bull BCAA comes in tablets, and it’s actually less expensive.
On the other hand, it does not provide as many benefits as the Genius BCAA, because it lacks some of the natural ingredients that improve both mood and energy.
However, the No Bull BCAA is significantly less expensive and it still provides you with the muscle-growth and muscle-repair benefits Genius BCAA has.
On top of being inexpensive, it also comes with 120 tablets, which is the equivalent to a 40-day supply. If you’re simply looking for its muscle-building properties, then the No Bull BCAA represents the best option in terms of price and value.
It features the three main ingredients you need to prevent muscles from breaking down and stimulating their growth: L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine.
And while not many people enjoy taking tablets, they’re actually quite convenient if you’re simply taking your BCAAs in an isolated fashion.
Overall, this is the best-valued choice when it comes to building pure muscle.
Truth Nutrition – Vegan BCAAs
This Vegan BCAA powder by Truth Nutrition is a 100% natural, plant-based, fermented BCAA formula designed to improve strength, endurance, and muscle recovery.
According to the manufacturer, it comes with 30 servings of naturally fermented BCAAs, with the formula following the scientifically-backed 2:1:1 BCAA ratio for maximized gains.
In addition, it’s free from sugar and it contains electrolytes that replace nutrients you lose during exercise, and which improve your hydration.
Looking at the different reviews, one of the most praised qualities is the variety of flavors and their delightful taste. Tasty flavors are not rare, but they’re also not easy to find.
The flavors are Blood Orange, Watermelon, Pink Lemonade, and Red Raspberry. All of which are delicious and refreshing when mixed with freshwater.
Also, in spite of the amazing flavors, there are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
Overall, it’s a suitable choice if you’ve got a little more money.
Raw Synergies – Vegan BCAAS
The AminoSlim BCAA is a formula designed for people who want to lose weight, tone their bodies and still maintain peak energy during workouts.
This supplement was devised with a unique formula that supports weight management, so you have ingredients that control appetite, increase energy levels and reduce stress.
On top of that, you also have the standard BCAA ingredients that prevent muscle breakdown and incite protein sythesis which minimizes muscle loss during a cutting cycle.
Some of the ingredients that caught our attention are:
If you want to lose weight or get ripped, the AminoSlim BCAA is a powerful supplement, but in the end it all comes down to which goals you have.
Do Vitamins – Vegan BCAAs
One of the best-selling points behind the Do Vitamins BCAA supplement is the fact it’s ranked #1 on Labdoors as the purest BCAA supplement.
In other words, Do Vitamins BCAA has passed screenings for harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pathogens, and pesticides, and also for more than 200 substances banned in sports.
Do Vitamins keeps thing simple by sticking to the three most common ingredients in BCAAs (and perhaps most effective) – L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine.
Do Vitamins also sticks to the highly effective 2:1:1 amino acid ratio which has been scientifically-proven to be the best for muscle growth and endurance.
If you don’t like consuming your BCAAs in the form of capsules, Do Vitamins also have a powder variation, which is also as pure as this one.
What are Amino Acids?
According to Healthline, amino acids, also known as the building blocks of protein, are compounds that have a critical role in different mechanisms within the body.
They’re essential for processes like the building of protein and synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. In this particular case, amino acids are used in the form of supplements to boost athletic performance, prevent muscle loss and promote weight loss.
If you’re an athlete or weight lifter, taking amino acids can help you build strength and also build and repair muscle tissues, among many other things. (see reference)
What are BCAA Supplements?
The average person shouldn’t require to take a BCAA supplement, but if you’re an athlete, weight lifter, or fitness enthusiast who is constantly putting your body under tension, taking a BCAA supplement can be quite helpful.
BCAAs fuel your skeletal muscles during training, allowing to push your limits and get more out of your daily gym sessions. Taking BCAAs helps preserve your stores of glycogen, which is the primary fuel your muscles use for energy production— giving you a reliable source of energy that lets you keep going. Also, having an abundant glycogen store keeps your body from breaking down muscle protein to produce energy. In other words, a BCAA supplement helps you sustain your muscles, and it also gives you the energy to do more in the gym, which equals more gains.
What are the Benefits of BCAAs?
BCAAs are known for providing the following benefits when it comes to weight lifting or exercise:
- Prevents muscle breakdown: Muscle breakdown happens when protein breakdown exceeds protein synthesis. BCAAs inhibit muscle protein breakdown, allowing you to maintain or promote your muscle growth in a more fine-tuned fashion. (reference)
- Promote protein synthesis: Several studies show that consuming BCAAs promote protein synthesis, a process of rebuilding damaged proteins in the body, which is fundamental if you intend to build muscle. (reference)
- Increases muscle endurance: BCAAs can promote and fuel your muscles, allowing you to endure longer workouts with more weight and repetitions. They help delay fatigue during a workout, which is beneficial to maximize your results. (reference)
- Decreases muscle soreness: You know it’s not uncommon to get sore muscles a day or two after a workout (leg soreness is horrible). In fact, the soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which happens 12-24 hours after exercising, and can last up to 72 hours. BCAAs have shown to decrease muscle damage, which may help reduce the length of that soreness, speeding up your recovery time. (reference)
BCAAs have also been successfully used in a hospital in order to prevent or slow muscle loss, and also to improve symptoms of liver disease. (reference)
How do I Take BCAAs?
Regardless of what anyone tells you, you should always follow the instructions on the product packaging and should always speak with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement. This is true for any supplement.
Do not take more than what’s instructed on the packaging, unless advised by a doctor.
There are several occasions throughout the day where your BCAAs can be beneficial.
Most people take them after a workout because of the reasons we’ve explained earlier. BCAAs prevent muscle protein breakdown and promote protein synthesis, the process of rebuilding the damaged proteins in the body.
Some people also take it right before a workout because BCAAs are known to increase muscle endurance which is helpful if you’re into intense, muscle pumping workouts
BCAAs are usually available in a powder form, so they’re often mixed with water, or added to shakes that contain other supplements, fruits, oats, etc. If you intend to get your BCAAs on the way to your gym or during a workout, getting a proper BlenderBottle can make that process much more doable, since you can easily blend stuff on the go.
Differences Between BCAA Pills & Powders
BCAA supplements come in two forms: powder or pills.
In most cases, you will find that people use powder, but pills can also be convenient.
If you’re looking for a cheaper BCAA with customizable doses and that is able to be mixed with other supplements and drinks, BCAA powder is usually the optimal choice.
When you’re on a specific workout plan and require taking higher doses of BCAAs, you’ll have to take a ton of pills to reach certain high doses. With powders, it’s a question of adding one or two teaspoons to your drink or shake.
More importantly, BCAAs available in a powder form are usually cheaper when you look at the cost per gram, and sometimes it’s actually a significant difference.
This being said, pills also have their benefits.
Because you don’t have to mix them with a beverage, it’s way more simple to get your dose in. They also lack taste, and if you’ve taken BCAAs in the past, some taste awfully. In addition, pills rarely contain additives, unlike powders that come with a synthetic flavoring.
Finally, as far as the absorption rate goes, there isn’t much difference in their effectiveness but your body can more rapidly digest powder.
Are There Any Side Effects to BCAAs?
Generally, the side effects of BCAAs are mild, and most people will not experience any negative effects in the great majority of cases.
With that being said, certain BCAAs may actually have side effects.
For example, an ingredient that is often present in BCAAs is beta-alanine, which many people have experienced a tingling sensation when taking it. From what I’ve researched, that tingling sensation is actually normal, and it disappears once your body gets used to the supplement.
Everyone reacts differently to supplements, which is why you should visit a healthcare professional before you decide tot take any supplement.
BCAA supplements are great if you workout on a daily basis and wish to improve both your athletic performance and muscle growth.
With that in mind, I’ve gone through different supplements to figure which ones are the best.
Fortunately, there isn’t a significant difference between any of the supplements on this list, so whatever BCAA supplement you choose, you’re most likely to be happy with your choice.
Naturally, that may not be the case for some people, so do pay attention to the reviews and see if there’s anything you may not tolerate in the supplements.
Lastly, before you order any of these supplements, be sure to check your doctor to ensure you can take these supplements without any negative effects resulting from their consumption.
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