Essential amino acids are the pillars of muscle repair, growth, and performance. But among the nine of them, three hold special importance: leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Known as branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, these essential amino acids are the key drivers of muscle building.
No wonder why so many exercise enthusiasts and athletes use BCAA supplements.
Let's discover what vegans have to gain from supplementing BCAAs. And find out what to keep in mind when choosing a vegan BCAA supplement.
Do You Have to Take BCAA Supplements as a Vegan?
BCAAs make up the bulk of all the amino acids that the body accumulates from food. They may amount to as much as 40% of the essential amino acids in the body. And most of them become metabolized right in the muscles.
As no surprise, BCAAs are the body's go-to amino acids for building more muscle. And that's exactly why most vegans have a hard time gaining more muscle mass. Since the majority of plant-based diets are deficient in protein, they simply don't supply enough BCAAs.
But wait a second, aren't BCAA supplements animal-sourced?
In this day and age, no. There's no shortage of cruelty-free BCAA supplements on the market. Made of plant-based ingredients only, vegan BCAA supplements serve as superior choices for anyone who sticks to a plant-based diet.
Let's take a look at what every vegan has to gain from taking vegan BCAA supplements.
Key Benefits of BCAA Supplements for Every Vegan
Supplying your body with plenty of BCAAs is a good idea for nearly every vegan.
BCAAs have shown to be able to:
- Accelerate muscle growth by activating the enzymes that build muscle.
- Facilitate recovery by suppressing the enzymes that break down muscle.
- Stabilize blood sugar levels by helping muscles take in sugar from blood.
- Help the body burn fat during exercise with higher efficiency.
- Support healthy liver function and minimize complications of liver disease.
- Enable faster gains in both muscle mass and muscle strength in the long run.
Taking a vegan BCAA supplement makes enjoying all these benefits times easier.
But only if the vegan BCAA supplement has a high-quality level.
How to Choose a Decent Vegan BCAA Supplement
Top-of-the-range vegan BCAA supplements aren't hard to spot if you keep certain things in mind. Namely:
- BCAA ratio BCAA supplements may differ when it comes to the ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine. The most common BCAA ratios are 2:1:1, 4:1:1, and 8:1:1. The 2:1:1 BCAA ratio is a time-tested classic and has the best synergistic effect.
- Source Vegan BCAA supplements may rely on a variety of plant-based foods to source BCAAs from. Higher-grade sources, like sesame seeds, are generally more preferable than lower-grade sources, such as soy.
- Additives Ideally, a vegan BCAA supplement must contain no harmful additives. Avoid BCAA supplements that use various artificial sweeteners and flavors, preservatives, fillers, and other toxic substances.
- Supplement form Powders and pills are the main forms of BCAA supplements. BCAA powders digest faster and spare you the trouble of taking over a dozen of BCAA pills at a time. They are also more common and provide you with more options to pick from.
- Amount In order to be effective, a BCAA supplement must deliver at least 4 grams of BCAAs per serving. If a BCAA supplement supplies less than that in one portion, it's a waste of time and money.
- Blend Some vegan BCAA supplements include other amino acids that a plant-based diet may provide a short supply of. For instance, they may also contain beta-alanine, glutamine, or citruline. While other amino acids are also crucial, they aren't the focus of BCAA supplements.
Bearing these in mind, you'll be able to spot decent vegan BCAA supplements with ease. What vegan BCAA brands can you start your search from?
Top Vegan BCAA Brands for You to Check
If you want a few suggestions, look into what these vegan BCAA brands have to offer:
- Performance Lab.
- Raw Barrel.
- Transparent Labs.
- Clean Machine.
- Battle Ready Fuel.
Can You Do Without a BCAA Supplement as a Vegan?
Taking food supplements of any kind isn't a must. But many plant-based diets are imbalanced and tend to miss out on complete proteins. This leads to an inferior intake of essential amino acids, including BCAAs.
A high-quality vegan BCAA supplement can make up for those BCAAs the diet fails to deliver.
Do You Need a BCAA Supplement if You Take Protein?
Vegan protein supplements can be instrumental in maintaining and building muscle as a vegan. But there are times when the body needs specifically BCAAs, such as before and after training. That's when vegan BCAA supplements can reign supreme.