10 Best Amino Acid Supplements (2024 Upd)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 28, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

BCAA supplements are vital for athletes and bodybuilders, especially on intense workout days, boosting both physical performance and mental health.

As a personal trainer, I've tested various products with clients and colleagues at Total Shape. While some BCAAs didn't meet expectations, we found several excellent ones that truly deliver results.

With so many choices available, how do you find the one that offers the right dosage and quality to support your fitness goals effectively?

Keep reading and discover which supplements can help you achieve your fitness goals.

The Best Amino Acid Supplements

Editor's Choice
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
Transparent Labs
Rated 4.9/5
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Double Wood Supplements Essential Amino Acids
Double Wood
Rated 4.8/5
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Jacked Factory BCAA Supplement Powder
Jacked Factory
Rated 4.7/5
Check Current Price

Our Top Products (May 2024)

1 - Transparent Labs - BCAA Glutamine (Best Overall)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Ingredients
4.9
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
  • Supplement Facts: Calories: 10, Carbs: 2g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 8g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The BCAA powder has the recommended ratio for protein synthesis
  • Added L-glutamine has shown positive results with users regarding recovery times
  • Great selection of tasty flavors that mix easily in a shaker

Cons

  • Free shipping is only available for orders over $150

Transparent Labs' BCAA supplement is unique for its added L-glutamine, known to aid muscle recovery and reduce muscle wasting, as WebMD highlights [1].

I've used this supplement for years, seeing consistent muscle growth and less muscle soreness post-workout.

My research revealed that its 2:1:1 Leucine:Isoleucine:Valine ratio is ideal for muscle protein synthesis, backed by studies on Research Gate [2].

Plus, it's got great flavors and mixes well with cold water, making for a refreshing drink, as many users note.

2 - Double Wood Supplements Essential Amino Acids (Best for Skin and Hair Health)

Rated 4.8/5
5.0
Ingredients
4.7
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Double Wood Supplements Essential Amino Acids
  • Supplement Facts: Calories 4, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: EAA, Dosage: 1g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Contains all nine essential amino acids to kickstart protein synthesis
  • The capsules are easy to swallow
  • Many positive comments that it seems to help reduce fatigue

Cons

  • The capsules contain gelatin and won't suit all diets

I've personally tried Double Wood Essential Amino Acids supplement, initially aiming for better pumps and endurance, which it delivered.

Surprisingly, it also noticeably improved my skin elasticity and hair strength.

My test group reported similar gains in endurance and skin and hair health.

The small, easy-to-swallow capsules are a plus, but vegans and vegetarians should note they contain gelatin.

3 - Jacked Factory BCAA Supplement Powder (Best Tasting)

Rated 4.7/5
4.7
Ingredients
4.7
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Jacked Factory BCAA Supplement Powder
  • Supplement Facts: Calories: 24, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 6g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides a higher than average dose of BCAAs in each scoop
  • Based on fermented BCAAs that may be absorbed faster
  • Many positive comments online about the taste and texture

Cons

  • The unflavored version does not taste good with just water

Jacked Factory is a top pick for me, especially their flavored supplements which taste great post-workout.

Their formula, with 6g of amino acids, effectively reduced my muscle soreness.

They claim fermented BCAAs are superior, though I haven't found scientific backing for this.

While the flavors appear natural, some suggest steering clear of their unflavored option.

4 - Life Extension Branched Chain Amino Acids (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.6/5
4.7
Ingredients
4.5
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Life Extension Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • Supplement Facts: Calories: 10, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 2.4g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It comes in a capsule form, making it more convenient for taking on the go
  • It's easy to split the dosage before and after exercising
  • Certified gluten-free and non-GMO make it a clean and simple BCAA supplementation

Cons

  • It doesn't provide a high enough dose for performance athletes

I've found Life Extension Branched Chain Amino Acids supplement an ideal option for people who need to take BCAA supplements while they are on the go like me. See, it comes in small capsules. You won't need to mix it up before you hit the gym, and it's easier to carry around.

Users have also said that splitting the 4 capsule dose before and after training seemed to provide a boost of energy and faster recovery.

Just keep in mind that the dosage is lower than the above options.

5 - Huge Supplements Huge BCAA (Best for Bodybuilders)

Rated 4.6/5
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Huge Supplements Huge BCAA
  • Supplement Facts: Calories: 58, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 8g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides a large dose of glutamine that seems to work well for faster recovery
  • The BCAA powder mixes very easily with water leaving no clumps
  • A broad range of other essential amino acids seems to trigger protein synthesis better

Cons

  • It contains some sucralose that some people find too sweet and artificial

This is a BCAA Supplement that we found a lot of bodybuilders recommending because it has 8g of BCAAs and 5g of glutamine.

As a result, this shouldn't just help with faster training recovery but also reduce muscle fatigue during training.

I also liked that it mixes fast and easily with water, so you don't end up with a clumpy mess, and most of the powder stuck to your shaker.

6 - Thorne Amino Complex (Best Vegan-Friendly)

Rated 4.4/5
4.4
Ingredients
4.2
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Thorne Amino Complex
  • Supplement Facts: Calories 25, Carbs: 1g, Fat: 0g, Type: EAA, Dosage: 4g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It contains 11 different amino acids for broader muscle support
  • Uses only natural flavors for a more pleasant taste
  • One of the few certified vegan-friendly options

Cons

  • High-performance athletes and bodybuilders probably need a higher dose

Having tried this BCAA powder in the trial period myself, I found that it truly offers all the essential amino acids for optimum muscle recovery.

And unlike other BCAA supplements, this one is certified vegan with plant ingredients only.

One thing that stood out for me was that the natural lemon flavor was not too bitter. And because there are no artificial sweeteners, you also don't get an awful aftertaste.

Just make sure you're aware of the lower dose than average, as bodybuilders will probably need to take more than one scoop.

7 - XTEND Original BCAA Powder (Best for Energy Boost)

Rated 4.3/5
4.2
Ingredients
4.2
Effectiveness
4.5
Price
XTEND Original BCAA Powder
  • Supplement Facts: Calories 0, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 7g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Added L-citrulline should help provide some better pumps
  • Contains some added vitamin B to support energy levels
  • Positive comments online about the flavors being tasty

Cons

  • Contains some artificial ingredients for color and flavor

This is another one of the BCAA supplements that performance athletes tend to buy as it doesn't just have a high branched-chain amino acid dose but also delivers glutamine and citrulline.

My clients’ experience has been that they get better pumps during training and the amino acid profile helped them bulk up more muscle mass.

I just wish they stopped using artificial ingredients as they really aren't needed.

8 - Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Capsules (Best for Muscle Recovery)

Rated 4.2/5
4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Effectiveness
4.5
Price
Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Capsules
  • Supplement Facts: Calories 4, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 1g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes in a large tub with 400 capsules for serious bulking phases
  • The small capsules make it very easy to adjust the dosage to personal needs
  • Users from many different sports have said they felt much less muscle pain

Cons

  • It contains some gelatin making it unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians

This Optimum Nutrition BCAA Supplement is another one based on capsules, and the super-sized tub is ideal for bodybuilders who need to take large doses and tailor those to daily needs.

I would also agree with the many comments online that once I found my ideal dosage, my muscles didn't seem anywhere near as sore after training.

Just keep in mind that the Optimum Nutrition capsules contain gelatin, and as a vegan, you'd have to pick a different product.

9 - Naked BCAAs Amino Acids Powder (Best Unflavored)

Rated 4.0/5
4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Effectiveness
4.0
Price
Naked BCAAs Amino Acids Powder
  • Supplement Facts: Calories 20, Carbs: 0g, Fat: 0g, Type: BCAA, Dosage: 5g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It's a pure branched-chain amino acid powder with no unnecessary additives
  • Comes in a large enough tub to cover 100 standard servings
  • The unflavored powder is ideal for mixing with other drinks or smoothies

Cons

  • It would be great to have some more flavor options available

The final one of our best amino acid supplements is this Naked BCAA powder.

While it might not have the strongest dose or the largest amino acid range, the company has created a clean and pure supplement with only BCAAs and no additives.

I also liked that it comes as a large tub with 100 servings, as that would be enough for several months of bulking.

The one thing I'd like to see, though, is a few more flavor options to make it a bit more interesting.

10 - The Aminoco - Perform

Rated 3.8/5
3.7
Ingredients
3.8
Effectiveness
4.0
Price
The Aminoco - Perform
  • Supplement Facts: Calories: 10, Carbs: 2g, Fat: 0g, Type: EAA, Dosage: 3.8g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Claims to provide a scientifically tested combination of essential amino acids
  • May provide better physical performance when taken as a pre-workout supplement
  • The added caffeine seems to help you stay focused and motivated for longer
  • It comes with good subscription discounts for a competitive price

Cons

  • It would be nice to have more flavor options

Top of our list of best amino acid supplements is this one from Aminoco.

The unique thing I noticed was the added L-citrulline and creatine which lack in certain products, seem to help to boost my performance at the gym.

Caffeine should also keep you motivated and focused on training.

And because it has a good ratio of BCAAs and all the amino acids needed for muscle growth, many users have commented that muscle soreness didn't last as long as normal.

How We Tested the Best Amino Acid Supplements

In our quest to identify the top amino acid supplements, we streamlined our testing process to focus on four key criteria:

  • Amino acid profile. Our primary focus was on the types and amounts of amino acids in each supplement, emphasizing essential amino acids crucial for the body.
  • Digestibility and side effects. We assessed how easily each supplement was digested and noted any common side effects reported by users or identified through expert consultations.
  • Flavor and palatability. The taste of each supplement was a significant factor, as a pleasant flavor can encourage regular use, which is essential for effectiveness.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Price per serving was compared to ensure that our recommended supplements offer a good balance of cost, quality, and effectiveness.

BCAA Supplements Buyer's Guide

Pill cover in hand

There are several things we researched for all of the above BCAA supplements. And to make sure you get the right product for your needs, these are things to focus on.

Check For Essential Amino Acids

Make sure your pre-workout has the three key branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Taking these right after training can speed up recovery by boosting muscle protein synthesis, as Science Direct studies show [3].

Also, look for supplements with a wider range of amino acids, covering all nine essential ones needed in your diet. They're crucial for muscle development post-resistance training.

Simply put, the more of these amino acids listed on the label, the better your recovery is likely to be.

“Proteins are composed of amino acids, some of which your body can synthesize and others not. The nine you need yet cannot synthesize, and thus need to ingest, are called essential amino acids (EAAs).”

- Kamal Patel, Co-founder of Examine.com

Compare The Dosage

Always check the dosage on BCAA supplement labels. Some cheaper options may skimp on essential amino acids, not meeting the needs of performance athletes with rigorous exercise routines.

Look for a BCAA product with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which is key for preventing muscle breakdown and aiding recovery.

Tailor your BCAA choice to your personal needs, considering your activity level, age, and health conditions to ensure the supplement aligns with your body's requirements.

A handy tip: jot down the dosages of potential products and calculate their cost per gram for a value comparison.

More on that shortly.

Choose A Supplement Form

Supplement in powder form

When choosing a BCAA supplement, decide between powder or capsule form. Both are effective; it's more about your preference or convenience.

I keep both at home. Capsules are great for on-the-go, especially when rushing to the gym. But, I prefer powder in my morning pre-workout smoothie – it's a good reminder to take it and kickstarts my day.

If you're someone who forgets pills, go for the powder form to ensure you get those BCAA benefits.

Find Out What The Flavor And Texture Are Like

Even the best BCAA powders can disappoint in flavor and texture. Some taste overly artificial or too sweet, while others don't mix well, creating clumps and leaving residue in the shaker. It's surprising how many fitness supplements miss the mark on texture and flavor.

Our top-recommended BCAA supplements mix smoothly and avoid that artificial candy taste. Be mindful of flavorings when choosing.

Avoid Artificial Ingredients

Avoid artificial ingredients

To find the best amino acid supplements, scrutinize the nutrition label for all ingredients. Some brands sneak in artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors in hard-to-spot sections.

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences associates these additives with gut issues, potentially causing cramps, bloating, and weight gain [4].

Aim for purity in your product, with minimal additives like stearic acid for binding.

“Artificial sweeteners can potentially turn healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome into harmful microbes and potentially cause serious health issues such as blood poisoning”

- Sara Rigby, PA Science, Writer at sciencefocus.com

Confirm If There Are Carbs And Sugar

During our testing and research, we found several products that had a lot of sugar and carbs. These are typically added to make a BCAA supplement taste great, but they really don't belong in a health and fitness supplement.

All of our best BCAA supplements contain just a few grams of carbs and no added sugar, which is particularly important for anyone on the ketogenic diet.

Those unnecessary carbs can also mess with your weight management for the average athlete and bodybuilder, so it's best to stay away from them.

Don't Let Price Be A Deciding Factor

stack of coins in a mans hand

Basing your choice solely on price could end up costing you more. Remember to note the dosage of branched-chain amino acids and other ingredients.

Multiply the grams per dose by the number of scoops or capsules. Then, divide the product's price by the total grams of BCAAs in the container to get the price per gram.

This calculation puts you in a better spot to identify which product is more cost-effective.

FAQs

Should You Take Amino Acids Every Day?

You should take certain amino acids every day if you’re not getting enough of them from food. You might struggle to get all the essential amino acids through your diet, which could cause skeletal muscle wasting problems.

Do Amino Acids Affect the Kidneys?

Yes, amino acids affect the kidneys. If you don't get enough of the essential ones, it can lead to kidney problems. Taking the right BCAA supplement may help you prevent that.

Can You Take Amino Acids if You Don’t Work Out?

You can take amino acids even if you don't work out. BCAA capsules or powder supplements don't just help you build muscle; they also help prevent muscle mass loss due to chronic diseases.

Can You Gain Weight with Amino Acids?

No, amino acids don't make you gain weight. When combined with a tough workout routine, they will help build up more muscle mass, and the resulting weight gain would be from the added muscles, not fat.

Which Amino Acid Supplement Should You Choose?

After extensive testing and research with my team, we unanimously agree that Transparent Labs BCAA tops our list of amino acid supplements.

Its standout formula, enriched with BCAAs, L-citrulline, and creatine, has consistently aided in our muscle-building phases. We've experienced noticeable gains in strength, endurance, and focus during workouts.

Its superior ingredient quality and effectiveness set it apart in our trials, making it our go-to recommendation for those seeking effective amino acid supplementation.

Our #1 Recommendation

Transparent Labs - BCAA Glutamine (Best Overall)

Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Ingredients
4.9
Effectiveness
4.7
Price
Pros
  • The BCAA powder has the recommended ratio for protein synthesis
  • Added L-glutamine has shown positive results with users regarding recovery times
  • Great selection of tasty flavors that mix easily in a shaker
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of May
Cons
  • Free shipping is only available for orders over $150
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our ingredients score is based on 3 factors including: transparency, blend disclosure, and dosage accuracy. We conduct third-party lab verification of ingredients. The score is an objective measure of the lab test results compared to the product label. For more information see our ingredients score explanation here.
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Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.