If you’re already taking a BCAA powder, there’s no denying it has its upsides: they help you remain in an anabolic state and lean out. However, they do have downsides: some of them contain nasty fillers (such as artificial food colorings) in a desparate attempt to make them taste good. This is where BCAA capsules come in – not only are they a great when of getting your BCAA fix, but they’re also a clean and convenient way of doing so.
Quick List: Best BCAA Capsules
The best BCAA capsules feature clean formulations which help you achieve your long-term fitness goals and deliver superior results. More on these later, but for now here is a quick list of the best BCAA capsules:
|#1. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA – This is a standalone, clean, and bioavailable form of BCAA which should give you a fast return on your investment. They come in high-quality Plantcaps® form and include prebiotics which boost digestion and absorption. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA website|
|#2. Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules – A top-notch BCAA supplement which uses AJIPURE® amino acids – pure pharmaceutical-grade amino acids which trump the competition in terms of quality. Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules website|
|#3. Sheer BCAA – The manufacturer hails this product as the “Most Potent BCAA Formula” which “offers a potent formulation of pure BCAAs,” per its official website. Sheer BCAA website|
|#4. Muscle Momentum BCAA Force – Simply put, this is one BCAA capsule product which helps your muscles recover faster. Muscle Momentum BCAA Force website|
|#5. Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro – This is one of the few BCAA capsules on the market which have outstanding nutritional value, ingredient safety, and product purity. Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro website|
Or, read on to learn about the secrets behind these high-quality BCAA capsules and how they help promote anabolism (muscle-building) and keep catabolism (muscle breakdown) at bay.
Best BCAA Capsules Guide
Before digging deeper into the best BCAA capsule supplements, we must first understand why they’re valuable to anybody training hard in the gym on a regular basis.
8 Reasons Why BCAA Capsules Are Worth Your Hard-Earned Investment
1. Convenience: Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids your body cannot synthesize. Hence, you must obtain them from whole foods and supplements. In today’s busy world, people live at a frenetic pace – convenience is of utmost importance. Sure, top-notch BCAA supplements in powder form are also convenient. However, BCAA capsules (unless they’re the size of horse pills) take it a notch higher: just pop one or two capsules in your mouth, wash them down with water, and you’re all set. It’s like taking a multivitamin in the morning after a heavy breakfast. It’s as easy as one-two-three.
2. Product purity and ingredient safety: If there’s one glaring downside to supplementing with BCAAs in powder form, it’s the inclusion of fillers. Unfortunately, many bodybuilding manufacturers lace them with artificial food colorings and sweeteners (such as sucralose) in a desperate attempt to please your taste buds. Sometimes, taste is worth sacrificing for your long-term health. In general, BCAA capsules are a safer alternative than their counterparts in powder form. If you prefer the latter, do your due diligence- check out our B5 Supplement Guide to give you the lowdown on buying supplements and make yourself a shrewd consumer.
3. Increased muscle protein synthesis (MPS): If you want to remain in an anabolic state everywhere you go, BCAA capsules are a must. Combining these with strength or anaerobic training trigger the mTORC1 signaling pathway. These, in turn, result in muscle growth in conjunction with sound nutrition and enough sleep.
As hard evidence, the June 7, 2017 issue of Frontiers in Physiology says, “The ingestion of BCAAs alone, without the concurrent ingestion of EAA (essential amino acids), intact protein or other macronutrients, increases the stimulation of mTORC1 activity and myofibrillar-MPS following exercise in resistance-trained young men.”
4. Ramped-up energy levels: BCAA capsules not only help you muscle up, but they also help increase your energy levels. The muscle tissues absorb BCAAs for purposes of energy expenditure. Experts believe the muscles burn BCAAs during hard training (which is why some of them prefer BCAAs as an intra-workout supplement).
“Fatty acids may be one of the regulators of BCAA catabolism and that the BCAA requirement is increased by exercise. Furthermore, BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle protein synthesis; this suggests the possibility that BCAAs are a useful supplement in relation to exercise and sports,” per the October 1, 2004 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
5. Increased fat loss: BCAA capsules aren’t just great for muscling up, but they’re also helpful if you want to lean out. Fitness experts believe individuals who are getting sufficient amounts of branched-chain amino acids maintain an ideal weight and keep obesity at bay. They credit the anabolic amino acid, l-leucine, for this. Aside from its ability to kickstart muscle protein synthesis, it also helps ramp up fat oxidation and energy expenditure.
“Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an eight-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink,” per the July 31, 2009 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov). It bears repeating: supplementing with BCAAs while on a regular strength training program helps you muscle up and lean out.
6. Fewer instances of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): Nothing could be more frustrating than experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). As the name implies, it is muscular discomfort one experiences a day or two after unfamiliar exercise. If you’re into bodybuilding, you may have experienced DOMS previously. Fortunately, science reveals branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can help ward off DOMS.
Twelve healthy and untrained females were the subjects of a study in Nagoya, Japan in June 2010. Researchers divided them into groups which supplemented with BCAAs prior to training and a placebo. Both groups performed squat exercises for several days. They experienced a peak in DOMS on days two and three of the experiment. “However, the study revealed that BCAA supplementation greatly reduced the level of soreness when compared with the placebo. According to this study, BCAAs may be beneficial in regard to reduced soreness when starting a new training program or returning from a period of rest or injury,” per Alexandra Pires-Menard, OSS Intern of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society in Canada.
If you’ve been having DOMS issues, taking BCAA capsules should help you nip these in the bud sooner than later.
7. Increased endurance and greater resistance against fatigue: Sure, taking a pre-workout supplement with tried and tested endurance-enhancing components such as beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, l-citrulline, and the like can help you bust through your fitness plateaus. However, BCAAs also have a reputation for warding off fatigue.
“It is presumed than an intake of the BCAAs can lower the concentration of serotonin, a central fatigue substance, during endurance exercise, which subsequently can reduce the concentrations of muscle damage substances such as CK and LDH and enhance exercise performance,” per the November 28, 2013 issue of The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov).
If you’re going through a slump in your fitness routine, taking BCAA capsules should help you get your second wind. With that, expect to conquer your workouts on a regular basis.
8. Improved muscle preservation: You work hard to earn muscle mass – you train regularly, pay attention to your nutrition habits, supplement wisely, and get enough sleep. Earning muscle is just half of the long-term fitness equation. You also have to preserve it. BCAA capsules can help you do just that.
“Our data suggest that under hypocaloric conditions, those who participate in heavy resistance training can maintain lean muscle mass and muscular performance by utilizing a BCAA product pre- and post-workout,” per the January 5, 2016 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov). When you follow the said recommendation, we’re confident you’ll preserve hard-earned lean muscle mass.
To achieve the best results, people in this group should look for supplements that provide extra support for:
- Muscle protein synthesis/muscle mass
- Energy and endurance
- Fat loss/thermogenesis
- Recovery time
What Ingredients Should People Look for in a BCAA Capsule?
BCAA capsules are among the simplest bodybuilding supplements on the market. Let’s rattle off the key BCAA capsule ingredients which give you the best bang for your buck.
L-leucine (or simply leucine) is the most anabolic amino acid which helps kickstart the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) process. It’s also the most abundant BCAA in muscle tissue. Leucine triggers muscle growth by activating a compound in muscle known as mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin).
“Leucine-enriched essential amino acid ingestion, in combination with resistance exercise in some cases, may be a useful intervention to promote mTOR signaling and protein synthesis in an effort to counteract a variety of muscle wasting conditions (e.g. sarcopenia, cachexia, AIDS, inactivity/bed rest, sepsis, kidney failure, and trauma),” per the May 11, 2008 issue of Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov). The key takeaway: if you want to remain in an anabolic state, try supplementing with l-leucine. You simply can’t go wrong with it.
Leucine isn’t just about building muscle – it can actually preserve it. In fact, the December 2008 issue of Journal of Medicine and Food (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov) says, “Several recent studies provide evidence that leucine aids in the retention of lean mass in a hypocaloric state.”
It doesn’t stop there. Studies also suggest leucine helps boost fat loss. “There is increasing evidence that the BCAAs, and specifically leucine, have unique roles in metabolic regulation beyond the fundamental role of amino acids as substrates for synthesis of proteins,” per the January 1, 2003 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
Long story short, if you are trying to muscle up and lean out, l-leucine should help you achieve your fitness goals. It’s clearly more than just an anabolic agent. Supplementing with BCAA capsules with key amounts of l-leucine (around two grams per serving or s0) should help you stay on the right track.
The branched-chain amino acid l-isoleucine has several key benefits:
- Increases exercise endurance
- Repairs muscle tissue
- Maintains a positive nitrogen balance
- Promote healthy blood sugar levels
- Shortens recovery time
- Plays a key role in blood clot formation and hemoglobin production
It turns out l-isoleucine also helps ward off carcinogenicity. Japanese researchers made this conclusion after using rat subjects in a study which the American Association for Cancer Research’s official website published in April 2007. We can clearly see this BCAA is a bona fide Jack of all trades. It should help you shore up your long-term health.
Just like l-isoleucine, l-valine is another well-rounded BCAA which should help you bust through your fitness plateaus. Let’s rattle off its important health benefits:
- Increases endurance
- Repairs muscle tissue
- Quells anxiety
- Improves sleep quality
- Suppresses appetite
- Increase muscle growth
- Enhances cognitive function
“Consuming (a) BCAA drink during (the) exercise recovery period may provide the muscle with an anabolic environment by stimulating insulin secretion and increasing T/C ratio,” per the April 21, 2010 issue of the Chinese Journal of Physiology (via CPS.org.tw). This substantiate’s l-valine’s ability to increase muscle growth. Now you know why it is a crucial part of the BCAA equation.
How Best 5 Supplements Rates and Ranks the Best BCAA Capsules
For general information on purchasing high-quality supplements, please check out the Best 5 How to Buy a Good Supplement guide. In terms of the best BCAA capsules, here are the criteria we used in our ratings:
- Combinations: A simple combination of the three BCAAs (l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine) usually does the trick.
- Healthy: The best BCAA capsules on the market also have customers’ long-term health in mind.
- Quality: We give precedence to supplements which emphasize not only simplicity, but quality as well. These resonate well with consumers.
- Research: Bodybuilding supplements with the backing of strong research and clinical evidence get the nod over those which don’t.
- Service: A high-quality supplement is just half of the story. Top-notch customer service completes the consumer’s overall experience.
- Value: We love superior BCAA capsule formulas which give you the best returns on your hard-earned investment.
- Cleanliness: We value bodybuilding supplements which have no fillers whatsoever.
Best BCAA Capsules
#1: Performance Lab SPORT BCAA
Meet our No.-1 ranked BCAA capsule: Performance Lab Sport BCAA. This product “supplies branched-chain amino acids that help activate muscle growth, block muscle breakdown, and elevate performance across all strength and endurance exercises,” per the manufacturer’s official website. One difference-maker is the use of Plantcaps®, a vegetarian capsule which is a by-product of pullulan and tapioca for efficient delivery. Not only that, but the capsules are clean and infused with prebiotics for better digestion and absorption.
Full ingredient list: BCAA 2:1:1 (fermented from sunflower lecithin) 3000 mg (l-leucine 1500 mg, l-isoleucine 750 mg, l-valine 750 mg)
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA Summary
|Advanced Ingredients: Plantcaps® Pullulan Capsule, NuFlow® Rice Concentrate|
|Clean Label: Yes. You won’t find any dirty ingredients in Performance Lab SPORT BCAA. That’s why it’s a cut above the rest.|
|Advanced Delivery: Yes. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA’s use of Plantcaps® Pullulan Capsules ensures improved bioavailability for better overall results.|
|Stimulant-free? Yes. For the most part, BCAA capsules contain no stimulants. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is no execption.|
|Price: $25 for one box (12o capsules; 30 servings)|
|Any Deals? Yes. Two boxes (240 capsules) sell for $47.50 (five percent savings); three boxes (360 capsules) sell for $67.50 (10 percent savings)|
|Service: 24/7 customer service (e-mail inquiry response within 30 minutes), seven-day returns policy|
|Official Website: https://www.performancelab.com/supplements/bcaa|
|Read our in-depth Performance Lab SPORT BCAA review|
#2: Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules
Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules is one of the highest-quality supplements of its kind on the market today. “Do Vitamins BCAAs contain no animal products and no fillers. Made from pure pharmaceutical-grade vegetarian amino acids, Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules are the highest-quality, highest-purity branched-chain amino acids in the world,” per the manufacturer’s official website. No wonder it’s a mainstay on Labdoor.com’s Top BCAAs list.
Full ingredient list: l-leucine (Ajipure®) 1050 mg, l-isoleucine (Ajipure®) 525 mg, l-valine (Ajipure®) 525 mg
Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules Summary
|Advanced Ingredients: L-leucine (Ajipure®) 1050 mg, L-isoleucine (Ajipure®) 525 mg, L-valine (Ajipure®) 525 mg, Vcaps® Plus vegetarian capsule (hypromellose)|
|Clean Label: Yes. Many BCAA capsule supplements boast of clean labels. Fortunately, Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules is one of them.|
|Advanced Delivery: Yes. Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules’ Vcaps® Plus vegetarian capsules help optimize delivery and maximize performance.|
|Stimulant-free? Yes. This BCAA capsule supplement contains no stimulants whatsoever.|
|Price: $24.95 for one 90-capsule bottle|
|Any Deals? Yes. Free shipping on U.S. orders over $75, $5 gift card valid on first order upon sign-up for company newsletter, military and other service discounts|
|Service: Customer support e-mail, returns with full refunds (depending on customer’s situation)|
|Official Website: https://dovitamins.com/products/vegan-bcaa-capsules|
|Read our in-depth Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules review|
#3: Sheer BCAA
This BCAA capsule supplement claims to help you build muscle, recover, and burn fat faster thanks to its potent formulation. To sum things up, this is one bodybuilding product which will help you achieve most – if not all – of your fitness goals. Sheer BCAA is yet another top BCAA supplement on Labdoor.com which should exceed your lofty expectations.
Full ingredient list: l-leucine, 1050 mg, L-isoleucine, 450 mg, L-valine, 450 mg
Sheer BCAA Summary
|Advanced Ingredients: None|
|Clean Label: Yes. Sheer BCAA’s formulation is clean from top to bottom .|
|Advanced Delivery: No. Manufacturer utilizes regular gelatin capsules with magnesium stearate.|
|Stimulant-free? Yes. Sheer BCAA does not rely on stimulants to help you maximize your workouts.|
|Price: $15.97 for one 90-capsule bottle|
|Any Deals? None.|
|Service: Customer inquiry form on product website, 30-day money-back guarantee|
|Official Website: www.sheerstrengthlabs.com/products/sheer-bcaa|
|Read our in-depth Sheer BCAA review|
#4: Muscle Momentum BCAA Force
Muscle Momentum BCAA Force is a downright simple BCAA capsule supplement which promotes speedier muscle recovery, allows you to work out longer and harder, and leans you out faster. It may have just one gram of branched-chain amino acids per two-capsule serving, but its superior quality propels it to Labdoor’s Top BCAA list. Muscle Momentum BCAA Force is the epitome of a bodybuilding product which gives precedence to quality over quantity.
Full ingredient list: l-isoleucine 460 mg, l-valine 384 mg, l-isoleucine 156 mg
Muscle Momentum BCAA Force Summary
|Advanced Ingredients: None|
|Clean Label: Yes. Muscle Momentum BCAA Force is a simple BCAA capsule supplement. It doesn’t bombard you with fancy and useless ingredients not worth your while.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The manufacturer utilizes regular gelatin capsules with maltodextrin and magnesium stearate.|
|Stimulant-free? Yes. Muscle Momentum BCAA Force is a BCAA capsule supplement which doesn’t rely on stimulants to make good on its claims.|
|Price: $20 for one 200-capsule bottle|
|Any Deals? Yes. Every purchase of one 200-capsule bottle entitles customer to 30-day money-back guarantee and free e-book|
|Service: 30-day money-back guarantee|
|Official Website: www.musclemomentum.com/bcaa/|
|Read our in-depth Muscle Momentum BCAA Force review|
#5: Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro
Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro is not your ordinary BCAA capsule supplement – it’s one of the rare ones on the market which also includes an ample amount of vitamin B6 (100 percent of the daily value). This vitamin helps boost heart health and ramp up human growth hormone (HGH) levels. It’s a great complement to Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro’s one gram of branched-chain amino acids per two-capsule serving. Bear in mind this product is another mainstay on Labdoor’s Top BCAA supplements. With that in mind, you’re sure to get a fast return on your investment.
Full ingredient list: Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 2 mg, leucine (as l-leucine) 500 mg, isoleucine (as l-isoleucine) 250 mg, valine (as l-valine) 250 mg
Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro Summary
|Advanced Ingredients: None.|
|Clean Label: Yes. Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro has no fillers and synthetic additives.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. Manufacturer utilizes regular gelatin capsules with magnesium stearate and dicalcium phosphate.|
|Stimulant-free: Yes. Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro has not stimulant content whatsoever.|
|Price: $16.95 for one 100-serving bottle|
|Any Deals? No.|
|Service: Online customer inquiry form, Customer service hotline from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST Monday to Friday|
|Official Website: https://www.universalusa.com/products/bcaa-pro|
|Read our in-depth Universal Nutrition BCAA Pro review|
Best BCAA Capsules Conclusion
Remaining in an anabolic state day in and day out can be a daunting challenge. Trying to muscle up and lean out takes a great deal of dedication and commitment. BCAA capsules can help you achieve your fitness goals, and then some. To sum things up, they’re versatile and convenient anabolic agents you can consume anytime and anywhere.
This guide presents five of the best BCAA capsule supplements on the market. When you add any of these high-quality bodybuilding products to your stack, exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get enough sleep, you’re well on your way to shoring up your long-term health.