When doing intermittent fasting, it’s often recommended to take 10g of BCAA during your fast or just before your fasted training. This ensures muscle loss will be kept to a minimum as training fasted has been shown to increase protein breakdown.
The question is then, which is the best BCAA for intermittent fasting?
Here’s what we found…
What Are The Benefits of BCAAs?
BCAAs are made up of the 3 amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, they’re called branched-chain amino acids due to their special structure. However, their structure isn’t the only thing worth mentioning, BCAA has been proven to help do the following:
Fasted Training and BCAAs
Fasted training does have its benefits, as there have been a few studies (such as this one) that suggest training fasted boosts post-workout anabolism (the building of muscle). However, training fasted does also increase catabolism (the break down of muscle) more than if you were to train on a full stomach.
Since BCAA are used directly by the muscle fibers as a fuel source, they help to slow down the muscle breakdown process and also help increase that post-workout anabolic effect created by training fasted.
It’s recommended to take 10g of BCAA 15-20min before a workout. Some of the best pre-workout supplements include a full dose of BCAA in them, so be sure to choose one that does if you don’t plan on buying BCAA on their own.
What's The Optimal BCAA Ratio?
A BCAA ratio refers to the amount of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. For example, 3grams of leucine, 1.5grams of isoleucine, and 1.5grams of valine is said to have a 2:1:1 ratio. If you have a look online or browse your local supplement store, you will see many different ratios of BCAA, some often as high as 12:1:1. Are these ratios better than a normal 2:1:1 ratio?
The simple answer is no. A higher ratio than 2:1:1 has actually been shown to decrease the overall effectiveness of BCAA.
For that reason, we have only included BCAA supplements that contain a 2:1:1 ratio.
Our Top 3 Best BCAA for Intermittent Fasting Picks
#1 – Xtend BCAAs by Scivation
Scivation is a popular supplement company that aims to provide high-quality supplements backed by science. Their Xtend BCAAs are one of the best selling BCAA supplements on Amazon.com, one quick look at the ingredient profile and you will be able to see why.
- 7g of BCAA (2:1:1 ratio)
- 2,5g of L-Glutamine
- 1,17g of Electrolyte Blend
- 1g of Citrulline Malate (helps improve circulation and nitric oxide production)
Servings & when to take:
In each tub of Xtend BCAAs you get 30 servings, however, there is also a 90 serving version available. The 30 serving tub would be fine if you plan to just use it on training days and should last you a few weeks.
For intermittent fasting, it is recommended you take one-two scoops 15-20min before training. However, you can also use BCAA during and after your workouts.
Overall, Scivation’s Xtend BCAAs are great tasting with tons flavors to choose from, sugar-free, and provide a more than optimal dose (optimal dose is 5g) of BCAA per serving. You won’t be disappointed.
#2 – Pro BCAA by Optimum Nutrition
Optimum Nutrition is known for their very popular Gold Standard Whey, however, they also make some other pretty good supplements like their Pro BCAA supplement. Just like the Xtend BCAAs above, this supplement is fully transparent with its ingredients and contains no proprietary blends. A big plus in our eyes.
- 8g of BCAA (2:1:1 ratio)
- 5g of L-Glutamine
- 160mg of PhytoBlend – Grape seed extract improves blood flow
- Also contains electrolytes
Servings & when to take:
In each tub of Pro BCAA you get 20 servings, which is a bit disappointing to be honest, as it is one of the more expensive BCAA options available out there. However, if you plan to just use it on training days then it is a good investment.
It is recommended to take 2 scoops (19.5g, one serving) 15-20min before exercise.
Despite being a bit pricey, Pro BCAA offers a good amount of BCAA per serving and I like the fact that they included L-Glutamine too. Overall, it’s a good product, tastes great but I’d rather go with the Xtend BCAAs above.
#3 – BCAA Energy By Evlution Nutrition
Last on the list we have BCAA energy by Evlution nutrition. This pre-workout features a zero sugar formula that helps boost energy, and muscle recovery. This BCAA is a little different than the others on our list as it does have some caffeine in it too.
- 5g of BCAA (2:1:1 ratio)
- 500mg of Beta-Alanine – Increases muscle endurance
- 500mg of L-Alanine – Important in the process that uses glucose in the blood to fuel energy production. This also helps prevent muscle breakdown for energy production.
- 500mg of Taurine
- 110mg of Natural energizers
Servings & when to take:
In each tub of BCAA energy, you get 30 servings, and one serving size is 2 scoops. For the price, this isn’t bad at all.
Again, you will want to drink this 15-20min before your fasted training.
BCAA energy has the least amount of BCAA per serving than the others on this list, however, it should be noted that you still get an optimal dose per serving. This supplement would be more suited if you don’t already have a pre-workout but would like to increase your energy too. The 110mg of caffeine will provide a nice energy boost without any crash, however, if you are a big coffee drinker or use pre-workouts regularly this dose will seem a bit weak.
Overall a reasonably priced BCAA supplement and good tasting.
Hopefully, you have a better idea of what to look for in a BCAA supplement. Our top choice would be the Xtend BCAAs by Scivation as it offers the best dose of BCAA while being competitive in price.