BCAA supplements are a dime a dozen, but is this one a real dime?
We’re going to talk BodyLab’s BCAA supplement and what it brings to the table. If you’re interested in BCAA supplements for exercise and physique, you’re in the right place.
We’ll also touch on the market as a whole and how this kind of product fits in. This means everything from what it does, how you should think about BCAAs in your diet overall, and what you can do to get the best results around your Branched-Chain Amino Acid intake!
Read on, and you’ll know everything you need to know about BodyLab’s BCAA Instant!
About BodyLab BCAA Instant
What’s in BodyLab BCAA Instant? BCAAs, of course!
Branched chain amino acids cover three compounds: Leucine, valine, and isoleucine. The former is the most important and you may have heard about it before since it’s part of the system your body uses to signal for muscle protein synthesis.
It all sounds way more scientific than it needs to. Basically, your Leucine levels are a good indicator for your overall protein intake. Isoleucine and valine are less important but have their own benefits – and they’re still pretty good for overall amino acid levels.
BCAAs are all essential amino acids. This means that your body can’t produce them – so they need to come in through your diet. This is where supplementation comes in, but you’ll also find them in certain food items (more on that later).
BodyLab BCAA Supplement Facts
Here’s the concentrated intake of BCAAs you can expect from the BodyLab BCAA supplement:
Instructions for use
We totally disagree with the doses recommended here. The proper intake of BCAAs should be in the 5-10g region total for the best results. We recommend simply doubling the servings so that you’re getting a total of roughly 5g of BCAAs and 2.6g of Leucine. These are closer to the levels you’d expect to see in the science.
It doesn’t matter when you take your BCAAs, so much, but you may gain some endurance benefits if you take them before a workout. The results won’t be comparable to a dedicated endurance pre-workout, but it’s as good a time as any to use them!
What’s in It?
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Leucine is the key BCAA: it’s the one that is most important for your goals and it’s the one that is going to bring the most benefits.
Leucine is an amino acid that your body uses to gauge how much protein you’re getting. If you don’t have enough leucine, you’re not going to stimulate maximal muscle recovery/growth. This is why Leucine is the clear active ingredient in a good BCAA supplement.
Proper supplementation of Leucine tends to be around 6g in clinical trials, but you want to get around half of that for supplementary use. There is no risk of ‘overdosing’, but it probably would burn through your supply of this supplement rather quickly.
Either way, Leucine is key here and it’s why it occurs at twice the dose of the other BCAAs. It’s a compound that is important in the muscles, but there may not always be direct link between supplementary intake and results.
The 2:1:1 ratio is how it occurs in the body so, in any case, we’re glad that Leucine is the key player in this supplement.
Isoleucine is a separate form of leucine that plays a different role. While Leucine itself is a key compound in the proper signaling pathways for recovery and muscle growth, isoleucine is about the preservation of muscle mass.
When you’re trying to lose weight or you’re training really hard, it’s a useful compound in the body that makes sure you’re not burning muscle. This is important because it’s possible that weight loss could be as much as 50% muscle loss, rather than fat loss.
Isoleucine is a good compound to keep in your diet during these tough times because it supports muscle health and fends off muscular damage. This makes it a useful secondary compound on top of leucine, and it’s why BCAAs are often taken rather than Leucine all by itself.
As with Leucine, the supplementary dose in this product is nowhere near the evidence-based amounts. The literature says an average man needs around 3-5g of Isoleucine for maximal muscle-sparing and recovery.
This is possible with the BodyLab BCAA, but you’d need to take 5-10 scoops and that’s going to be an expensive habit! It’s a pretty good combo with a high-carb diet, however, so if you’re a mega-endurance athlete this could be the ingredient for you. Otherwise, it’s going to be underdosed and under-effective.
Valine is the least important member of the BCAA family – it’s not got the star power of leucine or the niche benefits of Isoleucine. If anything, it’s even less important than the Leucine-metabolite HMB, which is a powerful anti-catabolism compound.
The evidence on Valine is very limited and Examine.com’s supplement guide goes as far as to say, “does not appear to have any known unique benefits”. Clearly, we’re not as impressed by Valine as any of the other BCAAs, but it is part of the package.
Because of this, we’re presuming it’s in this product because they naturally occur at a 2:1:1 ratio. This might be how your body makes it but, more likely, it’s just cheaper than extracting valine.
We’d rather see HMB or anything else, but it’s a cheap product so we’re not going to criticize BodyLab’s choice. Valine is already in there; it just isn’t amazingly useful.
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Let’s be completely honest: not everyone needsp a BCAA supplement. BCAAs might be essential amino acids but they’re not difficult to get. They’re already in common foods such as eggs, fish, meat and dairy, plus a whey or casein protein shake is likely to contain a significant quantity of BCAAs with all the additional benefits of a complete protein supplement.
Your diet is probably at a good level of BCAA intake already if you’re taking in a decent amount of protein. Very few people who are eating an appropriately protein-rich diet are going to need BCAA supplementation.
That said, if you want to ensure you have your BCAA intake covered, taking a supplement is one of the easiest ways to do it. Likewise, certain groups – such as those people who don’t eat meat/dairy, or endurance athletes – may well benefit from additional supplementation. The latter need to take BCAAs with carbohydrates, water, and electrolytes for performance – since there may be performance benefits.
The benefits aren’t huge, but they could be appropriate for you, if you fit the right conditions.
If this is you, then combine those with a beta-alanine/citrulline malate supplement for the best results.
Any Side Effects?
There’s no reason you should run into side effects with this product. If you have an adverse response, its likely to be a very personal problem.
If you experience negative responses to BCAAs, you should still contact your doctor and cease use. However, there’s almost no likelihood of this since they’re found in foods and this product doesn’t seem to contain anything controversial.
BodyLab BCAA Instant Benefits
At a push, we can outline some of the benefits of BCAAs. However, they’re very specific to your goals. As mentioned above, endurance athletes can make use of BCAAs but they’re probably more popular among bodybuilders and other forms of gym enthusiast.
The main benefit of BCAAs is a short-term boost to endurance. They can improve overall time-to-exhaustion in some cases and the science is starting to look a little more certain on this. Not all gym training requires tons of stamina, and there are other options, so BCAAs aren’t essential for everyone.
BCAAs are good for combining with the high-carb diet seen in serious endurance athletes, too. Isoleucine and valine, when combined, can be useful for a regular and consistent transition of carbs from the bloodstream to the organs and muscles.
Perhaps the largest benefit comes from this combination of carbohydrates and BCAAs. The intra-workout amino acid support you can get from BCAAs are likely their key selling point – and the reason they’ve been so popular among bodybuilders for so long.
During prolonged exercise, you’re going to need to keep amino acid levels up to support performance and prevent muscular breakdown. BCAAs are a possible choice here, and their combination with carbohydrates (also important intra-workout) is a popular and effective method of ensuring proper fueling and muscular support during a workout.
Overall, it’s clear that the marketing of BCAA products has been successful over the years but it’s not a perfect fit for everyone. If you’re on a low- or no-animal-product diet then it’s a solid choice, and they can improve endurance in some individuals.
If you are concerned to keep amino acid levels high, then a combination of carbohydrates and BCAAs is a plausible choice for your intra-workout drink.
Who Takes It?
Endurance athletes and vegans/vegetarians will be the biggest group of people to benefit from BCAAs, primarily.
Perhaps the only other group who should consider BCAAs are athletes who are already doing everything else right. It’s better to cover your bases as an athlete, but for the average joe or bodybuilder it may have a limited use.
BodyLab BCAA Instant Summary
- Economy choice, with a good price point
- Good intra-workout choice when combined with carbohydrates
- Can improve endurance
- Doesn’t fit everyone’s goals
- There’s not much point saving money on a product if it doesn’t work for your goals
- We dispute the recommended dose here.
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Pricing & Buying Info
From a price perspective, this product is actually really good. BodyLab BCAA Instant’s price point is sitting nice and low compared to other BCAA products. We don’t recommend following the suggested dosages, but the overall product ratio is exactly what you want to look for.
BodyLab BCAA Instant: Final Word
BCAA supplements are a very niche choice that most people don’t understand, but the culture has made them seem appealing. These colored-water looking supplements are very specific in their application and you need to know why you want them.
This product is it’s a cheap and effective one. If you’ve read this whole article and you’re ready to give BCAAs a try, this is a plausible choice. There are other options out there on the market that may be better, but this is a tolerable economy choice.