The 6 Best BCAA for Men

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Written by Tim Kalantjakos
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For many of us, any mention of the word “BCAA” gets shoved into the generic “protein” bucket in our mind’s filing cabinet.

And while branched-chain amino acids are indeed constituents of protein, the three amino acids under this category (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are special for a few reasons.

First, our bodies don’t produce them, so it’s crucial we source BCAAs from foods and supplements

Also, the benefits of BCAAs have been shown to not only include muscle growth and recovery, but also the ability to protect glycogen stores during exercise, increasing your exercise tolerance.

But as always, even after establishing the need for a supplement, one question remains for the pragmatically minded: how do I tell a high-quality BCAA supplement apart from the rest?

In this list of the 6 best BCAA supplements for men, we’ll point out the key quality differentiators that divide the leading products from the so-so.

Product Key Points Price 
Zhou Nutrition Muscle BCAA 5g BCAAs per serving; lab-tested product; vegan; contains probiotics and electrolytes; organic beet root and citrulline help with pre-workout vasodilation $25.99 ($0.87/serving)
Naked Nutrition Branched Chain Amino Acids 5g BCAAs per serving; vegan; 2:1:1 BCAA ratio; no artificial additives; competitively priced $34.99 ($0.35/serving)
Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein  5.5g BCAAs and 30g protein per serving; USDA Organic and NSF certified, probiotics; organic performance and muscle recovery blends; plant-based protein $47.99 ($2.53/serving)
Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout 2g BCAAs per serving; contains creatine, L-citrulline, and caffeine; MCT oils for keto-friendly energy; pricier product  $50.99 ($3.40/serving)
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine 8g fermented vegan BCAAs per serving; coconut water with electrolytes; glutamine for enhanced recovery; no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or gluten $39.99 ($1.33/serving)
Dymatize All9 Aminos 10g BCAAs per serving (7.2g BCAAs, 2.8g of the remaining six [essential] aminos); B vitamins and electrolytes; amino blend provides additional pro-workout benefits; contains sucralose $35.03 ($1.17/serving)
TNI Main Logo 700x432 1 Best Overall
Zhou Nutrition Muscle BCAA
Best Value
Naked Nutrition Branched Chain Amino Acids
Organic
Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
Product Zhou Naked Garden of Life

Key Points
5g BCAAs per serving; lab-tested product; vegan; contains probiotics and electrolytes; organic beet root and citrulline help with pre-workout vasodilation 5g BCAAs per serving; vegan; 2:1:1 BCAA ratio; no artificial additives; competitively priced 5.5g BCAAs and 30g protein per serving; USDA Organic and NSF certified, probiotics; organic performance and muscle recovery blends; plant-based protein
Price $25.99 ($0.87/serving)
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$34.99 ($0.35/serving)
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$47.99 ($2.53/serving)
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Best for: Active people (vegan and non-vegan) looking for BCAAs with electrolytes and pre-workout agents to enhance workout tolerance and recovery.

Flexing their formulation savvy once again, Zhou Muscle BCAA delivers a well-rounded helping of pro-performance ingredients that cover several key functional categories, including:

  • Electrolytes (coconut water concentrate)
  • Probiotics (Bacillus coagulans 1 billion CFU)
  • Pre-workout vasodilators (organic beet root + citrulline malate)

And of course, BCAAs—5 grams per serving, to be precise. As you might see on the labels of most higher-end BCAA supplements, there’s a 2:1:1 BCAA ratio in this product. So, what the heck does this mean?

It means that each serving contains twice as much L-leucine (2,500mg in this case) as L-isoleucine (1,250mg) and L-valine (1,250mg).

This is one of the most frequently used and supported ratios in research, as seen in this University of Coimbra (Portugal) review that cites three studies which found the 2:1:1 ratio to improve “exercise inhibitor” mechanisms and mitochondrial activity in male participants.

Moreover, the probiotics help with digestion, metabolism, immune function, weight loss, and more

The electrolytes help to fuel your muscles (and much more) before and after exercise, and the vasodilators help to prime your body to send a greater influx of nutrient-rich blood to muscle tissue by widening the blood vessels.

Zhou Nutrition Muscle BCAA is a complete, evidence-based, vegan, third-party tested supplement at a decent price. It’s the best BCAA for men in our book, and the best BCAA for muscle growth.

Best for: Clean eaters looking for the purest BCAA product out there with zero sweeteners or artificial additives of any kind.

It’s just vegan BCAAs and sunflower lecithin. The end.

Like our top pick above, Naked Nutrition Branched Chain Amino Acids provide a 2:1:1 ratio of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine—told you it would show up again. 

Even more like Zhou, Naked Nutrition provides the same exact amounts (2500/1250/1250 milligrams per serving).

There isn’t much else to say, considering there’s nothing else there. The only other ingredient, sunflower lecithin, is a natural product that acts as an emulsifying agent, meaning it can keep fats, oils, and other elements from sticking together. 

Thanks to this minimalistic approach, the product is free of gluten and GMOs. Of course, if you’re looking for BCAAs with other pre-workout or recovery ingredients, Naked Nutrition Branched Chain Amino Acids won’t check all the boxes, but otherwise, it’s the best BCAA powder supplement for purists.

Best for: Anyone willing to spend extra for a USDA Organic, extremely well-rounded and clean BCAA supplement featuring protein, glutamine, probiotics, and more.

Essentially the polar opposite of our previous entry when it comes to breadth of ingredients is Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein. There’s so much going on here, we’ll break it up into categories per the label:

Organic Performance Protein Blend: Organic Pea Protein, Organic Sprouted Navy Bean, Organic Sprouted Lentil Bean, Organic Sprouted Garbanzo Bean, Organic Cranberry Protein (seed)

Organic Flavor Bend: Organic Vanilla Flavors, Organic Stevia Extract (leaf), Sea Salt

Organic Recovery Blend: Organic Apple (fruit pulp), Organic Tart Cherry (fruit), Organic Turmeric (root), Organic Blueberry (fruit), Organic Lycium barbarum L. (Goji Berry Fruit)

Probiotics: 2 Billion CFU Bifidobacterium lactis

In addition to the 30 grams of plant-based protein and 5.5 grams of BCAA per serving, the added recovery agents (especially tart cherry, turmeric, and blueberry) contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds known to significantly curtail exercise-related soreness. 

The probiotics help the body digest the product while promoting metabolism, immunity, general digestive health, and more.

This product is certified NSF for Sport, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified for Sport, and Vegan.

Basically, Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein is the perfect BCAA supplement on paper. Just get ready to pay extra.

Best for: Active keto adherents looking for a pre-workout supplement that provides keto-friendly energy.

As mentioned in part above, Perfect Keto is our most trusted brand when it comes to truly keto-friendly supplements because they actually test their products to measure the associated glycemic response (the blood sugar spike or lack thereof).

It’s not necessarily true that a product that is very low in or even void of carbs will automatically take it easy on your blood sugar; which is why Perfect Keto is so meticulous about selecting and testing ingredients in their supplements and snacks.

Such is the case with Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout, which uses natural caffeine (50mg/serving) and a readily usable form of keto-friendly fat called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs

In addition, you get 2 grams of BCAAs per serving, creatine, and L-citrulline, an amino acid that increases blood flow and cardiac function.

While the non-organic natural flavors and stevia do put a bit of a blemish on an otherwise squeaky clean ingredient list, Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout is far above the average formulation quality when it comes to keto-friendly amino acid supplements. 

Best for: People who regularly engage in longer and/or more intense workouts; anyone looking for a high-concentration BCAA supplement that balances pre-workout and post-workout benefits.

Though you’ll certainly find these ingredients represented even in the “meh” tier of BCAA supplements out there, a few key formulation strategies help Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine rise above the competition. 

First, the use of fermented BCAAs allows the body to suppress “central fatigue,” which refers to tiredness that arises from chemical processes in the brain. 

In this study from the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm, Sweden, BCAAs were demonstrated to reduce the uptake of tryptophan—the stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy—delaying the onset of fatigue among participants during a 30-kilometer cycling race.

Glutamine makes an appearance as well. As we’ve covered, this amino acid also serves an anti-fatigue function, particularly as it relates to depleted (or depleting) muscle tissue. Not to mention the anti-inflammatory benefits and more.

Finally, the coconut water provides a decent source of electrolytes, antioxidants, and heart-healthy ingredients.

Finally, Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or gluten.

Taking a broader look at the formulation, this product seems well suited for endurance athletes especially. This isn’t to say that the more lifting-inclined gym rat would find it lacking. 

Best for: Active people looking for a sustainable energy boost and pro-recovery electrolytes along with their BCAAs.

Dymatize All9 Aminos takes a slightly different approach to key ingredient categories that piqued our interest, namely in the areas of energy, electrolytes, and a full-spectrum amino acid profile. 

For example, the combination of vitamin B3 (niacin), B6, and B12, ranging from 146% to 588% daily value, offer a less jolting, more sustainable boost in energy than caffeine ideal for longer, tougher workout sessions or a hard day at work.

Thanks to the full-spectrum amino blend, you can go well beyond the three BCAAs (L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine), getting the remaining six essential amino acids as well.

Finally, the electrolyte content is contributed largely by coconut water fruit powder, which contains sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous, depending on the kind of coconut.

Our key gripe centers around the use of artificial flavors and sucralose, but if this isn’t a dealbreaker for you, Dymatize All9 Aminos delivers a well-rounded BCAA supplement formulation ideal for active people.

BCAA for Men FAQs

Is BCAA a testosterone booster?

Researchers are still sketching out the parameters (dosage size, participant’s activity level, etc.), but the majority who address the question of BCAA’s potential to impact testosterone levels agree that there is a positive correlation between the two.

For example, this finding from the College of Charleston in South Carolina that tested BCAAs on eight males found that “Serum testosterone levels were significantly higher, and cortisol and creatine kinase levels were significantly lower in the BCAA group during and following resistance training.”

What does BCAA do to men?

In men and women, BCAAs have been shown to build lean muscle mass and support recovery, improve exercise tolerance, reduce post-workout soreness, improve liver health, and more.

The increase in testosterone is also observed across both genders, which can help with hormone balancing in women especially.

Is it OK to take BCAA every day?

As non-stimulating, non-addictive, essential amino acids that directly address several of the body’s essential needs, BCAAs are considered safe to take every day.

As always, several factors such as dosage level, supplement quality (added sugars and/or preservatives?), and more can render any supplement unsafe, so make sure to follow usage instructions and stay away from low-quality products.

Is BCAA better than creatine? 

Creatine and BCAA may share some overlap when it comes to their functional benefits, but the two are more different than similar, making them an excellent pairing.

In short, creatine is ideal for increasing muscle size and strength, where BCAAs are a more effective tool for managing post-exercise soreness and tissue repair.

A dedicated weightlifter has plenty of use for both, whereas an endurance athlete may be more invested in BCAAs than creatine.



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