- Posted by phytomaniac
- On November 13, 2017
Numerous medical studies have been conducted over the years pointing to the essential role of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in maintaining a lean and muscular body. Studies also highlight the benefits of BCAAs for women and vegans, who can sometimes struggle to support healthy muscle function and growth. In this article, we will provide an overview of BCAAs, their function, and provide our review of the best BCAAs for women.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs are amino acids with a branched molecular structure. BCAAs contain the following three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are considered essential, meaning that although they are required for normal health, our bodies do not produce them naturally. We must therefore ingest BCAAs from outside sources in order to make sure they are present in sufficient quantities in our bodies.
Benefits Of The Best BCAAs For Women & Why They Can Be Important For Vegans
Research into the uses and benefits of BCAAs and specifically BCAAs for women has been ongoing for decades and has resulted in a litany of purported benefits to these essential amino acids. While some of these benefits of BCAAs for women should probably be taken with a grain of salt, there are a few findings that have surfaced so repeatedly that they bear special mention.
It’s common knowledge that eating protein, nothing more than a collection of amino acids, helps to support muscle growth. Interestingly there’s compelling evidence that BCAAs, especially leucine, can help us synthesize muscles at a faster rate than typical protein can on its own.(1)
There’s also evidence that BCAAs can help us diet as well. When we eat fewer calories our bodies start to break down parts of themselves in order to free up and use the energy stored within our cells. Ideally, our bodies would only breakdown our stores of fat during this process, leaving our muscles intact and giving us a lean and muscular look. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t work this way and when we diet we break down both fat and muscles at the same time.
Interestingly, studies have shown that the best BCAAs for women may have the ability to accelerate our bodies’ fat-burning process when we diet.(2) By discouraging our bodies from breaking down muscle and instead encouraging them to breakdown fat, the use of the best BCAAs for women may leave us a leaner and more muscular physique after a period of dieting.
While BCAAs seem to be important for anyone with muscles (e.g. everyone), they take on special importance for those living a vegan lifestyle. That’s because the three most cited sources of BCAAs among foods are meat, eggs, and dairy. Since none of these sources are available to vegans, many people following an animal-free path may find they have lower levels of these amino acids than others. Vegans may want to consider supplementation to pursue the benefits of these unique proteins.
How To Evaluate And Choose A Supplement Of The Best BCAAs For Women
Leucine is often considered the most “important” of the three BCAAs for women. While most studies have shown the benefits of the best BCAAs for women to be shared by all three in the family, leucine seems to be the most active of the three. That’s why it is recommended to look for supplements of BCAAs for women that contain at least a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine.
Other important factors when researching supplements include source ingredients, taste, and price. While we may be interested in getting a complete serving of BCAAs for women through supplementation, it is also important to make sure we are not ingesting a ton of unwanted filler ingredients in the process.
Are The Best BCAAs For Women Different Than The Best BCAAs For Men?
Supplementation of BCAAs for women and men can be viewed in different contexts. While men may be more interested in BCAAs’ purported benefit to increase muscle mass, the typical uses of BCAAs for women may center more on their ability to burn fat and maintain the muscle they already have.
Since leucine is especially active in the potential for BCAAs to prevent the breakdown of muscle during dieting, it is again important for those interested in the fat-burning benefits of BCAAs for women to seek out a supplement that is high in leucine relative to other amino acids.
What’s The Best Way To Use BCAAs For Women?
Studies have shown that the most beneficial time to take BCAAs for women may be around the time of your workouts.(3) This can be both before or after. This may be due to the fact that muscle protein synthesis decreases during exercise while being accompanied by an increase in muscle degradation. This is part of the normal pattern of degradation and regrowth that results in increased muscle and lower fat content in our bodies. The presence of the best BCAAs for women in this process may help stimulate the regrowth phase.
But I’ve Heard Supplements Aren’t An Effective Source Of BCAAs For Women?
A common knock against the supplementation of BCAAs for women is that BCAAs are easier for your body to get when eaten in food rather than in supplement form. While the sentiment may be sound in theory, the most common foods sources of BCAAs for women are meat, eggs, and dairy. These are clearly not an option for those following a vegan lifestyle.
While it is true that BCAAs can be found in some beans and legumes such as soybeans, lentils, almonds, and cashews; these foods may not have a high enough concentration to provide the proper benefits we are seeking. While supplementation may be a less efficient way to get the best BCAAs for women than eating food, it is still a great way for vegans to gain the benefits of these branched-chain amino acids.
A Note Of Caution
BCAAs for women are typically considered safe. There have, however, been reports of BCAA supplements interacting negatively with some drugs, notably medications for diabetes. Those interested in supplementing with the best BCAAs for women should first consult a medical professional.
A Quick Summary Video On The Benefits Of The Best BCAAs For Women And More!
Best BCAAs For Women
7 – Best BCAAs For Women: Get Diesel Vegan BCAAs
- In addition to the preferred ratio of BCAAs for women, this product also includes a few other amino acids that are useful for muscle growth and maintenance. These include glutamine, citrulline, and tyrosine
- Powder dissolves smoothly and avoids clumps when mixing with water or other liquids
- No artificial sweeteners, a plus for those focused on using natural additives in their supplements
- Many consider it one of the better tasting brands out there with a variety of flavors to choose from
- Contains grape seed extract, which may help increase blood circulation and combat high cholesterol
- A higher than normal amount of additives may be worrying to those with allergies, or those taking blood thinners, which can interact with grape seed extract
6 – Best BCAAs For Women: AAN Natural Plant-Based BCAA Drink
- 2:1:1 leucine ration, making it full of high-quality BCAAs for women
- Powder mixes smoothly into beverages without the gritty texture or clumping of some other supplements
- Contains Nitric Oxide, a supplement that may increase blood flow to muscles in order to promote recovery after a workout
- Taste suited for those accustomed to a stronger flavor than is delivered by completely natural supplements
- Uses artificial sweeteners to obtain its flavor, which may be a deterrent to those looking for a supplement comprised only of natural ingredients
- While there may be benefits to the additional supplements included in this beverage, those looking to avoid anything beyond BCAAs may be deterred by the added ingredients
5 – Best BCAAs For Women: Do Vitamins – Natural Vegan BCAA Capsules
- Not only do these capsules have the preferred ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine, but they also contain no other supplements. This makes them a strong candidate for those looking to supplement with the best BCAAs for women but nothing else
- Capsule form allows you to easily bring individual servings on the go without having to worry about mixing them into a drink
- Tasteless delivery may be preferable to those sensitive to the flavor of other supplements
- Capsule shell is made of hypromellose, which might give pause to those looking to avoid the ingredient or who already take a high number of supplements in capsule form
- Some customers have reported receiving empty capsules from the company
4 – Best BCAAs For Women: Alpha Vegan Plant Based Protein With BCAAs
- This product is a protein powder with the best BCAAs for women included in the mix, making it an interesting choice for those seeking an all-in-one supplement for a pre or post workout drink
- Taste is closer to a traditional protein powder with less of the bitter aftertaste associated with many supplements of the best BCAAs for women
- Minimal ingredient list for those seeking a product comprised of natural components
- The most expensive supplement on this list, partly due to the addition of other supplements
- May not be suitable for those seeking BCAAs but no added proteins
- Unknown ratio of leucine, meaning it may not be an optimal source of BCAAs for women
3 – Best BCAAs For Women: Solgar BCAA Vegetable Capsules
- Capsules are portable and do not need to be mixed into a beverage to consume
- Relatively free of other supplements, containing only vitamin b6 in addition to the BCAAs
- One of the most inexpensive options on this list when considering price per serving of the best BCAAs for women
- No taste, making them a good option for those unable to find a flavored powder that they enjoy
- Capsules do include some filler products, namely magnesium stearate, which may be less ideal for those already taking a lot of magnesium-containing supplements and do not wish to ingest more
- Ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine is slightly off from the ideal 2:1:1 ratio of the best BCAAs for women
2 – Best BCAAs For Women: Truth Nutrition Natural BCAA Powder
- Ideal 2:1:1 leucine ratio of BCAAs for women
- With no other supplements added to the mix, this is one of the purest powdered BCAA supplements on this list
- The powder is instantized which allows it to mix into water or other liquids quickly, easily, and completely
- Free of sucralose and artificial dyes, making this one of the more natural products on the list
- Another supplement with a nice flavor, this one has the choice of either raspberry or watermelon
- Made in the US for those who want to support American manufacturing
- One of the more expensive supplements on the list
- Contains beets, which may be a deterrent for those with an allergy
1 – Best BCAAs For Women: Genius BCAA Powder
- Contains an optimal leucine ratio of 2:1:1 to capitalize on the purported muscle-growing properties of the best BCAAs for women
- Comes in powder form which allows you to mix it with other supplements or workout beverages
- The company takes a hard line against chemicals and fillers, using only natural ingredients instead of the synthetic compounds often found in health supplements
- The presence of natural stimulants such as caffeine and taurine may be beneficial for those seeking a bit of extra energy and mental focus without the jittery effects of coffee
- Sweetened with stevia for a plant based source of flavor that is completely free of calories
- Since it comes from natural sources, the taste may not be to the liking of those accustomed to more processed products
Our Favorite Vegan BCAA For Women
While all of the preceding supplements are strong choices as vegan BCAAs for women, our favorite is Genius’s Vegan BCAA Powder. Its optimal leucine ratio along with the addition of supplements to promote mental clarity makes it our preferred addition to our other workout supplements. When taken before or after a workout, Genius’s powder can be a good choice for those seeking to capitalize on the muscle building and fat burning benefits of the best BCAAs for women that have been measured in studies.
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