The Best Vegan BCAA Supplements. Buyer’s Guide and Review

The choice to keep away from carnivorous diets unites people into a large brotherly community that knows no borders. There are plenty of solid reasons that make different people go vegan, but whatever these reasons are, your faith in the power of veganism should be supported by the accurate knowledge about the vegan diet and all its highlights and challenges.

This knowledge includes an understanding of the nutritional requirements of our bodies. While a varied vegan diet provides a vast array of nutrients, it is associated with a lack of quite a few amino acids needed for the healthy functioning of our systems. This includes amino acids called BCAA that amount to the body’s most important protein resources.

What are BCAAs and why do we need them?

Blackboard with the chemical formula of Isoleucine

In plain language, amino acids are proteins that take part in all vital processes such as synthesis of our enzymes and hormones, the growth and repair of our tissues and muscles, and the overall proper functioning of most human organs and systems.

All amino acids (or AA) fall into two main categories: essential and nonessential. These names actually speak for themselves, and it is left only to add that a good part of essential AAs including BCAAs cannot be produced by our bodies. The only way these amino acids can be obtained is from external sources, the majority of which is drawn from animal foods.

Three of the nine essential acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, belong to the group of so-called branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, named so thanks to their special structure. For us, the most important aspect about BCAAs is surely not their name or their structure but what they can do for our bodies and why their proper levels are considered vital for human health and especially for the health of vegan people.

  • Leucine, for example, plays a crucial role in protein synthesis and muscular repair. It also supports wound treatment, helps to control the level of your blood sugar, and takes part in the production of growth hormones (1).
  • Isoleucine highly concentrated in our muscular tissues is one of the main participants of muscle metabolism. It is also needed for the proper functioning of the immune system, hemoglobin formation, and energy management.
  • Valine is the last but not the list BCAA that helps our bodies to generate top-quality proteins and enzymes. Valine is necessary for muscle development and maintaining high energy levels. It is also found that valine helps to protect the human liver, brain, and nervous system.

Health benefits of BCAAs

The foregoing brief description of leucine, isoleucine, and valine makes evident how important correct rates of BCAA are for humans as a whole and vegans in particular. This is especially true in the case of vegan sportspeople, whose performance is highly dependable on nutritious factors and good BCAA readings.

Optimal BCAA levels allow people to:

  • promote the growth of muscle mass;
  • decrease muscle aching after the exercise;
  • help to reduce both physical and mental tiredness and fatigue;
  • may cut down high blood sugar level;
  • help in weight management and even its loss (if needed);
  • protect the liver from damage and improve its resistance to stress;
  • increase immunity (2) and sound functioning of all organs and systems

Common signs of the BCAA shortage

Women holding dumbbell

BCAA metabolism is quite a complex process, which involves the ability of the body to produce a sufficient amount of proper enzymes. When the BCAA shortage is not compensated, it may cause ominous abnormalities even in animal food eaters. This is the very reason why vegans should give more attention to the following early signs that may point to BCAA deficiency:

  • low levels of energy and frequent tiredness and soreness ;
  • slow redeployment between lean and fat body tissues (regardless of increased exercise);
  • excessive muscular movement, mascles’ wasting, twitching, or tremors;
  • unexplainable rash and nausea;
  • eating disorders such as night eating syndrome or bulimia

How much of BCAA do we need?

According to most experts, an average adult needs 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of his or her body weight.  According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, in the case of sportspeople, this dosage is increased to 2 grams per kilogram.

As for BCAAs in particular, it was found that the daily dose of an ordinary person accounts for about 100 mg/kg, which should be increased to 200-250 mg/kg when it comes to people engaged in vigorous exercise. This translates into 7 grams of BCAA per day for a regular individual, and 14-17 grams – for sportspersons (3).

Bearing in mind that only a tiny part of BCAA can be derived from plant-based food sources, this means that the performance of vegan athletes should be based on the regular daily intake of 14-17 g of BCAA supplements. What is more, the best proportion of the three BCAA amino acids (i. e. leucine: isoleucine: valine) in these supplements should be identical to the natural 2:1:1 ratio – the proportion that features pure animal-based proteins (4).

These recommendations are designed for generally healthy adult individuals over the age of 18 and without any unhealthy conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular issues.

How to choose the right vegan BCAA supplement?

How to make sure that the BCAA product you are going to use is perfect in every way and can really give your body everything it needs?

  • You have to be certain that all the information provided on the supplement label is true and reliable. This is possible only in the case of the most successful and reliable brands that guarantee their data transparency, which ensures the product quality and security. The best indicators for that are usually logos about FDA approval or the NSF International Certification for Sport.
  • The next important info you should look for on the vegan BCAA sticker is a 2:1:1 ratio, which, as was mentioned above, matches the ratio of the best natural but animal-derived sources. Although there are BCAA items with 2:1:1 and even 4:1:1 ratio (with a doubled and even quadrupled amount of leucine), most health professionals view such proportions as an extreme and precarious measure that brings to naught the benefits given by valine and isoleucine.
  • Vegan BCAA products are 100% plant-based goods. This is guaranteed by the brand’s good name and reputation. Anyway, if you want to double-check that no human or animal hair or other peculiar stuff was used in the item production, you may examine the label for the absence of gelatin and glyceryl monostearate.
  • The general rule is the fewer ingredients are used in the product formula, the better. Make sure that the product does not include active elements such as caffeine that is associated with body dehydration, which, in turn, prevents the maximum physical performance. The non-occurrence of other harmful artificial additions like sweeteners, flavors, and colors is also a good criterion that each vegan should consider while choosing the primary BCAA supplement.
  • The taste factor makes some manufacturers include into their products natural additions such as sunflower lecithin or coconut water. This also boosts electrolytes and makes products more mixable. BCAA vegan capsules avert the necessity for such additions, which would make them the purest product of all if not for their coating (even if it is a vegan one).

Natural vegan BCAA sources

Man is training chest on crossover machine

Using BCAA supplements is certainly beneficial, but it doesn’t actually mean paying less attention to natural sources, even if you know that they contain much less of the required stuff than specially developed supplementation.

Natural foods represent a unique blend of components designed by Mother Nature, where a small quantity of BCAAs is strengthened by the presence of other beneficial compounds: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants,and flavonoids. Most natural BCAA sources also can provide medicinal abilities. For example, they help to control blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory properties. The latter makes them especially important for all exercising people.

Therefore, the best choice for vegans is both to use supplementations and consume all available natural sources of BCAA such as:

  • brazil nuts, almonds, and cashews;
  • pumpkin and sunflower seeds;
  • beans and lentils;
  • corns and chickpeas;
  • rice (white, red, black and brown), oats and quinoa;
  • soy meats, tofu, and tempeh

Our top 5 BCAA supplements for vegans

The above criteria enable us to rank vegan products by the purity of their formulas, their cost, taste, their effect on muscular tissue.  We will also consider other popular areas of interest such as the effect of the supplement on weight loss, immunity, or the product’s blendability.

We have identified the following 5 supplements as the most effectual and vegan-friendly solutions, which, thanks to their natural composition do not cause any adverse reactions in their users.

1. BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs

1. BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs

As already noted, best BCAA products’ formulas are based on the virtue of simplicity concept. This very reason made Transparent Labs to create the powder, which includes only 5 natural ingredients. Three fermented BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), l-glutamine, and coconut water powder constitute a composition that makes all the difference and ensures the maximum result. The short but powerful formula is backed by the potent 2:1:1 ratio, thorough research, and careful selection of purest ingredients.

The beneficial impact of the BCAA Glutamine is gained through the use of the following properties:

  • premium ingredients from the purest natural sources and 2:1:1 ratio;
  • simple vegan-friendly formula without adverse artificial additions;
  • enhanced protein production and muscle metabolism;
  • reduced time for muscular recovery;
  • higher levels of energy that nullify fatigue and tiredness;
  • improved immune system and the rate of glucose absorption;
  • quick burning of fat;
  • great taste and blend-ability thanks to coconut water powder

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2. Naked BCAAs by Naked Nutrition

2. Naked BCAAs by Naked Nutrition

This all-natural solution developed by the Naked Nutrition professionals encapsulates the efficacy of the intrinsic elements offered by generous Mother Nature. According to the Naked philosophy, the powder formula includes only basic ingredients: the three BCAAs incorporated into a goodly 2:1:1 proportion and sunflower lecithin added for better dissolution and absorption. One huge can contains 100 servings which turns Naked BCAAs into the best cost-effective investment.

The benefits of taking Naked BCAAs include but are not limited to:

  • top-quality organic ingredients mixed into a potent 2:1:1 proportion;
  • no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners;
  • active support in muscular metabolism, protein synthesis, and growth;
  • speedy aid for muscle restoration;
  • dynamic energy booster for pre- and after exercise bio-responses;
  • mild taste thanks to the absence of added flavors;

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3. BCAA by Performance Labs

3. BCAA by Performance Labs

Performance Labs designed an easy-to-use BCAA solution in a convenient form of vegan capsules. Many users find capsules to be a more practical and time-efficient way of consumption that enables quickly and easily to use the product in any environment. The composition of BCAA is also based on the celestial 2:1:1 ratio of the three essential BCAAs supported by the friendly input of sunflower lecithin.

The regular intake of BCAA provides you with the following benefits:

  • pure and practical vegan-friendly solution without phony artificial additives;
  • user-friendly capsules with a vegan coating;
  • improved muscle development and strength;
  • increased endurance at all periods of exercise (pre- and post);
  • a quick burst of energy and prompt muscular restoration;
  • increased immunity and liver functioning

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4. BCAA Tablets by Raw Barrel

4. BCAA Tablets by Raw Barrel

Raw Barrel created its BCAA product in a useful and dynamic tablet form. A natural fermentation method allowed its producers to formulate extra strong 1000 mg pills. Each tablet has at least twice as many BCAAs as other top brands. Apart from BCAAs, the formula includes a couple of other natural ingredients specifically used to enhance the favorable impact on tablets’ users.

Raw Barrel developed these extra-strength pills to:

  • balance your BCAA profile and the resultant protein metabolism;
  • promote muscle synthesis and post-workout recovery;
  • optimize energy production and endurance;
  • support immune defenses against exercising demands;
  • control weight thanks to accelerated fat metabolism processes;
  • tasteless and easy to swallow tablets

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5. Vegan BCAA by Truth Nutrition

5. Vegan BCAA by Truth Nutrition

Vegan BCAA powder is our last but not the list vegan product that has proved its worth for greedy for results people. Its balanced composition incorporates a 2:1:1 factor for 3 essential BCAAs with a few other natural elements (such as beetroot powder and stevia) for a better taste and higher blendability.

The beneficial impact of the Vegan BCAA will be felt through the following qualities:

  • purely organic solution without synthetic additions;
  • enhanced muscle growth and protein production;
  • increased energy generation and maintenance;
  • quick muscle restoration and reduced soreness and tiredness;
  • improved immunity and nervous system;
  • great taste and safe production

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Conclusion

A healthy lifestyle and healthy eating are undeniably golden keys to the wellness journey. Healthy eating and proper sustenance are especially important for vegans, whose nutrition might be under-resourced with branched-chain amino acids.

Deficiency of BCAAs might be quite a serious problem as the balanced levels of BCAAs are necessary for many vital processes within your body. They include correct muscular metabolism and synthesis, internal energy levels, the inflammatory response just to name a few. This is why taking BCAA supplementation becomes an absolute necessity for every vegan.

Regular intake of vegan-friendly supplements supports your health in a most natural way and is perfectly attuned with vegan philosophy. The abovementioned BCAA supplements have long proven their value among chiliads of grateful consumers, but if you seek our advice on the matter, we would consider BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs the greatest solution that consolidates all the best features of BCAA supplements.

Polina

Author:

Polina

Blog owner, pole dance instructor, fitness athlete. Vegan for 10+ years

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