BCAA, short for ‘branched chain amino acid’ is a term collectively used for a group of three essential amino acids namely leucine, isoleucine and valine. The intake of these amino acids is recommended for people that lack ‘complete protein’ in their diet.
As vegans, our food choices are known to be sources of ‘incomplete protein’. This simply means that the protein amounted from vegan food options lacks some amino acids and hence has an incomplete ‘amino acid profile’.
Now, it is only natural for vegans to think of supplementing with synthetic BCAAs to make up for the evident lack of these three essential amino acids in their diet. However, like the majority of the mainstream products, synthetic BCAAs aren’t synthesized in a way that we’d deem ‘ethical’.
Most supplement companies source their BCAAs from keratin, a compound extracted from animal hair, feathers and hooves. If you were to consume a BCAA supplement without prior scrutiny, you’d sure be compromising with your values and a dedicated vegan.
Coming back to the matter at hand, is there any vegan BCAA supplement brand? Or can you find a plant based BCAA amidst the hoard of non-vegan alternatives? I’m delighted to answer these questions on a positive note. Yes! there are indeed plant-based organic BCAA alternatives available.
Being synthesized from fermented vegetables, these vegan BCAA powders align with the core concept of veganism where no animal is even minutely harmed in its making. This article lists down the best vegan BCAA brands for you to consider the next time you’re looking to supplement with these essential building blocks.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs are a group of three distinctive essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce but are integral in critical bodily functions including muscle protein synthesis, blood sugar regulation, production of growth hormones and more.
The ‘leucine, isoleucine and valine’ trio is distinguished amongst other essential amino acids because of their unique branched molecular structure. These three EAAs are also different from the other six due to their higher influence in stimulating muscle hypertrophy. This is why, BCAA supplements are renowned in the fitness and bodybuilding community.
Meat, poultry, fish and dairy being the richest sources of BCAAs, vegans are in a greater need of supplementing with organic BCAA supplements. Below is a comprehensive list of completely plant-based vegan BCAAs that are 100% cruelty-free.
Are BCAAs Vegan?
Yes, BCAAs can be vegan. Although, they are made from both vegan and non- vegan ingredients, there are a number of plant-based BCAA supplements made out of glucose, corn or soy which might give you similar effect as that of their non-vegan alternatives.
Embarking on the vegan lifestyle keeps you from consuming certain products. Specifically, the ones that are either directly derived from animals or harm/hurt animals at any stage of their production.
However, this noble concern may seemingly deprive you of certain nutrients that your body needs. Thanks to the scientific development that we have today, there can be found vegan-friendly alternatives to almost all foods and supplements out there. Have a look at the best vegan BCAA supplements here –
Best 100% Vegan BCAA Supplements
Alright, let’s just admit to it that BCAAs are more about being a tasty intra-workout drink for most of us rather than some sophisticated performance-enhancing concoction.
The average joe that works out 4 days a week couldn’t care less about the proclaimed soreness-reducing benefits of that bright pink liquid. There’s a good chance that it appeals to him because he looks cool while sipping on it and it’s a bonus that it tastes good.
Paying heed to the obvious bias of the average lifter towards taste, the Snap plant-based BCAA powder was created. The powdered supplement comes in a refreshing pomegranate watermelon flavor. First-hand reviews state that unlike some that they’ve tried in the past, this doesn’t stink right out of the bottle and has a really delightful taste.
To add to the package, the amino acid supplement has a well-balanced 2:1:1 proportion of ethically sourced BCAAs. Besides, it contains a nitric acid booster blend that may aid in focus and concentration while you work out.
The blend also contains electrolytes from coconut water powder and pomegranate berry extract; thoughtful to counter lost electrolytes owing to profuse sweating while working out.
The non-GMO composition of this vegan BCAA supplement promises aid in muscle protein synthesis, reduced post workout soreness and replenishes lost electrolytes during your workouts. Did I mention the great taste? Pretty much checks all the boxes that I’d personally look for in my vegan BCAA.
“Tastes like candy, keeps me hydrated and fuels my workouts. Since I’m cutting out all sugar for a body building show this is my treat for the day. Pretty sure this is keeping me from commiting a crime 😂 thank you for the flavor and fuel!”
- Delightful taste
- Balanced BCAA composition
- Nitric Acid blend helps in focus
- Replenishes lost electrolytes
- Non GMO
- Might be a little too sweet for some
There are multiple legitimate upsides to this vegan BCAA from PerformanceLab. From providing an optimal, science-backed blend of all three branched-chain essential amino acids and efficiently tackling their inherent bad taste to optimising their absorption; post intake, they’ve managed to check almost all the boxes.
This vegan BCAA supplement is designed as easy-to-swallow capsules and comprises of L-leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine in the ratio, 2:1:1. Contrary to skewed proportions of these EAAs found in some plant-based BCAAs, this specific incorporated proportion has shown to provide the best results in people with regard to athletic endurance.
Further, ditching the regular powder from, the brand manages to not having to include any artificial flavors or sweeteners that would otherwise be a necessity to mask BCAA’s naturally bad taste.
As discussed, this BCAA supplement comes as 00-sized capsules, the shell being made from vegan-friendly pullulan (fermented tapioca). The outer shell displays a yet another inherent virtue to watch out for. Pullulan is naturally infused with prebiotic fibers that act as nourishment for the existing ‘healthy-gut-bacteria’, thereby improving overall nutrient absorption.
Apart from these notable upsides, the supplement incorporates all the inherent benefits of genuine plant-derived branched-chain amino acids. For context, supplementing with these vegan BCAA capsules would directly translate to augmented athletic endurance, reduced muscle soreness and shielding against muscular atrophy.
While a thoughtful intake of ‘complete’ protein in one’s diet would naturally bring about these effects, people with limited protein options to choose from might very well benefit from such a formulation.
“The supplement itself offers you an effective, optimized formula that is transparent and clean. The only aspect of this supplement that I don’t enjoy is the fact you’re required to take 6 Nutricaps to get a full serving.”
- Comes as easy-to-swallow capsules, naturally infused with prebiotic fibers
- Contains no artificial sweeteners or preservatives that are used in powdered BCAAs
- Enhances athletic endurance, helps power through intense workouts
- Accelerates muscle protein synthesis and guards against muscle loss
- Helps reduce muscle soreness
- Recommended daily intake is about 6 capsules a day (lasts 30 days corresponding to this serving size)
Not particularly fond of sweet flavors? Or would you rather go with an economical vegan BCAA opposite to one that is touted to the tastiest intra-workout drink and is correspondingly priced higher?
In either case, you simply cannot overlook Naked nutrition’s humble BCAA formula. Priced at 35$ per 500gm jar with a suggested serving size of 5 gms, this one is hand’s down, one of the most economical BCAAs you’d ever lay your hands on.
Corresponding to the recommended serving size, one jar shall last you for 100 servings, which is clearly 3-4x other options in this range.
Now, given that the supplement is unflavored and that it has a powdered nature, it’d be best to take it as a pre-workout supplement rather than sipping on it during the workout.
The composition of this BCAA supplement is again, in lines with the scientific evidence. Each 5gm serving of this vegan BCAA powder comprised of 2.5 gms of l-leucine, 1.25 gms of l-isoleucine and 1.25 gms of l-valine. Meaning, it complies with the universally accepted 2:1:1 ration of EAAs.
Further, the supplement being free of gluten, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or colors, there shouldn’t be concerns of potential allergies either. Adding this cost-effective amino acid supplement to your routine would help you perform better in the gym, and recover better while you rest.
Totally recommended for vegans and vegetarians that can’t include a broad assortment of protein sources in their diet but are still looking to make optimal muscle gains.
“Yeah, everyone’s right, this stuff stinks…so what? Sure, it’s a powerful stink, but it disappears the moment you add it to any liquid, leaving absolutely no flavor (that I can taste) at all. The cost for 100 servings can’t be beat, either. I’ll definitely repurchase this when I run out.”
- Lasts 3-4 times longer as compared to similarly priced vegan BCAAs
- Contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- Constitutes of EAAs in the optimal 2:1:1 ratio
- Helpful in building and preserving muscle mass in vegetarians and vegans
- Helps enhance athletic endurance, promotes recovery and reduces muscle soreness
Alright, we’re all for natural formulations that are free from preservatives and artificial sweeteners. But should that really translate to a bland tasting powder that you dread taking every day?
Absolutely Not! As a matter of fact, that would be a downright deal-breaker for most of us that just supplement with BCAAs to have something delectable to sip on, while working out.
Bringing together the best of both dimensions, this all natural vegan BCAA powder is the people’s favourite. Available in four delightful flavors, the 100% plant-based BCAA is entirely natural fruit flavored and is absolutely free of artificial, colors or sweeteners.
It is probably because of this virtue that even top athletes prefer and even endorse this cruelty-free fitness supplement.
Heavily acclaimed for its great taste, exceptional mixability and most of all, the evident reduction in muscle soreness post intense workouts, the powdered supplement ranks among the very few enjoyable yet effective ones on the market today.
The formula complies with the science-backed 2:1:1 proportion of the 3 concerned EAAs and therefore brings about noticeable positive effects in a short time. As you’d expect from any vegan BCAA supplement, better training endurance, improved muscle protein synthesis and efficient post-workout recovery are the top selling points of this all-natural plant-based essential amino acid supplement.
“Really a great product! Clean as well as refreshing taste. Best of all, this stuff works! I haven’t been nearly as sore after my intense workouts since taking BCAA and feel a little extra boost in my performance! I absolutely love the peace of mind knowing this is a clean product. Highly recommend!”
- All-natural delightful fruit flavors
- Contains zero artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors
- Attested by first-hand users for great taste, convenient mixability and augmented athletic performance
- Guards against muscular atrophy during cutting
- Priced fairly
- Some flavors are criticized for their taste
This vegan BCAA powder from the Genius Brand is a rather virtuous one. With a versatile ingredient profile, it can double as a pre-workout and a vegan BCAA supplement.
Each serving of the BCAA powder gives you l-leucine, l-isoleucine and l-valine in the ratio 2:1:1. Further there are ingredients included that work on improving cognition and relieveing stress.
Meaning, the formula not only strengthens your body, it also relieves stress and increases focus. Apart from the vital BCAAs, it’s also packed with rhodiolarosea, cognizin citicoline and taurine which enable this supplement to work on both body and mind.
You can have it with the Bubble tea smoothie for a better taste of it. This all-natural Genius Brand BCAA powder is free from any artificial dyes or flavors (like Red 40 or E631)and is made out of only organic ingredients which make it a perfect choice for vegans. It also comes with 100g of natural caffeine to increase your energy level.
“Loved this stuff. The flavor isn’t that great but I’ve certainly have had the worse and I don’t actually mind this flavor. Hard to describe it but almost seems like an unflavored, vitamin flavor.”
- Reduces stress and enhances focus
- Contains fermented BCAAs
- Doesn’t contain any fillers or additives
- Has natural caffeine to provide more energy
- Has an awful taste according to some reviewers
Yet again, emphasizing on a clean, natural ingredient profile, the Clean Machine Vegan BCAA would be ideal for someone that goes all in with their workouts and particularly sweat a lot.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Sweating is great! In fact, sweating is our body’s natural thermoregulatory response to high-intensity training stimulus. But excessive sweating could impart some negative effects as well, if not countered properly.
The loss of water and electrolytes should ideally be almost instantaneously replenished in order to avoid any potential negative effects on performance. Having an electrolyte-infused Vegan BCAA to sip on could be just the right solution.
The Clean BCAA aces in this virtue, being formulated with an ideal 2:1:1 BCAA composition in addition to coconut water powder. The coconut water included in its profile accounts for replenishment of lost electrolytes while the BCAA composition enhances endurance, improves post-wrokout recovery and helps you reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
The BCAAs included in this supplement are 100% derived from fermented non-GMO corn. Meaning, this formulation is free from dairy, soy, gluten and other preservatives. An additional highlight with this plant-based vegan BCAA is that it offers a 100% money-back guarantee if for some reason, you don’t find it quite to your liking. Win-win, it is!
“It is so easy to prepare, not so heavy on stomach and I feel healthy and fit all day. I completely loved the product!”
- Made with totally vegan fermented amino-acids
- Easy to mix with milk, smoothie and water
- Features dehydrated coconut water that supplies electrolytes
- Has great taste
- Available only in small quantities
- Some reviewers complain about the powder’s strong, overpowering smell
The Kaged Muscle amino acid supplement contains fermented BCAAs and is a GMO-free and gluten-free product.
Entirely derived from plants, this formula is 100% vegan-friendly and yet rivals the efficiency of its mainstream counterparts.
It enhances your muscle growth and endurance. With the perfect 2:1:1 ratio of amino acids, this product offers up to 72 servings and hence is set to last long.
Kaged Muscle BCAA powder also works magically to reduce muscle tension from your body after intense muscle-building workout sessions to help you stay energized throughout the day. Increasing muscle endurance and helping with soreness are the primary selling points for this product.
“This stuff is absolutely just amazing. I always get very sore after workouts. Taking this stuff, completely eliminates any muscle fatigue and so I am ready to hit the gym again the next day. I mix it with my favorite flavored protein powder, and so I can’t even taste it.”
- Offers the perfect ratio of BCAAs for effective results
- Enhances the recovery of muscle damage
- Maximizes muscle mass with fermented BCAAs
- Many buyers complain about its sour taste
What Are the Benefits of BCAAs?
Branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs, are important nutrients that create building blocks for muscle growth appreciating the vital protein synthesis. Apart from helping in building muscles, BCAAs also benefit your body in many ways. These are –
1. Weight Loss Effect
Among the three amino acids, leucine helps in increasing fat oxidation. Thus, it helps in weight loss. A good quality BCAA supplement stimulates weight loss to burn the unwanted fat and thereby promotes a better body composition. The fat loss effects of a vegan BCAA supplement would however be best observed when combined with a well-tailored vegan bodybuilding meal plan.
2. Improves Workout Sessions
BCAA supplements draw a great impact on your workout sessions. It burns fat and makes the muscle recovery process quicker so that you feel more energized during strenuous workouts. Many athletes consider taking a BCAA supplement before or after their workout sessions.
An appropriate dose of a creatine supplement any time of the day, further gives you an edge with regards to your workout performance. Add a vegan pre workout to the equation and you have yourself the trinity to kill your workout sessions. I have specifically reviewed some pre-workout supplements that caught my attention at some point. Here’s the list –
- Genius Pre-workout Review
- Gamma Labs G-Fuel Pre-workout Review
- Gnar Pump Pre-workout Review
- StrongGirl Pre-workout Review
- Motiv8 Burn Pre-workout Review
3. Reduces Muscle Soreness
BCAA supplements evidently reduce muscle soreness which you get after long intense workout sessions. Your body usually takes much time to repair the damage. But a BCAA supplement repairs the damage faster and relieves the soreness and tiredness which you get after doing an intense muscle building workout.
Also, you’re most likely to feel less fatigue and more energized the next day. To further augment this effect and take your strength training to new levels, supplementing with a vegan creatine powder is something you may want to consider.
What Makes Vegan BCAAs Different
The main source of non-vegan BCAAs is Keratin. Now, two of the raw ingredients which are used to produce this keratin are – duck feathers and human hair!
But, the manufacturing process of vegan BCAA supplements does not resemble any of the squeamish ingredients. The method of making plant-based BCAA supplements is known as microbial fermentation which takes several days and the raw ingredients used in this method are glucose, corn or soy.
Many vegetarian BCAA supplements include dairy. So, an amino-acid supplement which is made out of plant-based ingredients and is completely GMO-free,dairy -free and gluten-free, can be called a perfect vegan BCAA supplement.
Related: Vegan Mass Gainers
How to Choose the Best Vegan BCAAs
There are many things which you have to keep in mind when you are in search of a plant-based organic BCAA powder. After going through the ingredient-list, when you don’t find any non-vegan elements, you heave a sigh of relief out of utter satisfaction.
But, vegan ingredients are not the only thing you should look for before buying any supplement. There are many things which can cause trouble if not taken seriously before purchasing. So always consider these factors below in order to choose the perfect BCAA supplement for you –
Brand plays an important role in selecting any product. A brand which is known to make genuine and high-quality products, will always attract consumers. Many a time’s vegans get betrayed by brands that are not clear about their ingredients or the manufacturing process. So, we should stay away from those self-proclaimed ‘best vegan’ brands and trust our eyes and ears more.
Though it seems quite childish, taste is an important factor in choosing any amino acid supplement. Because we can’t keep shoving down any drink which has a terrible taste. Flavor plays a vital part especially in the case of supplements which we have to take very often.
So try not to neglect this factor and always see what other customers are saying about the taste of a particular supplement if you can. This greatly applies to protein powders too. It’s not everyday that you’ll get your hands on a good tasting portein powder. If you know the struggle, you may want to use my guide to find vegan protein powders that taste good.
There are some brands which make over-priced products claiming to incorporate better ingredients than other brands. But you should always do the math on how much you are spending compared to how many servings you get before investing in an amino acid supplement.
A vegan BCAA supplement enhances the growth of muscle mass and stimulates protein synthesis in your body. It’s best to incorporate an amino acid supplement in your diet if you want to be lean or muscular or even if you are trying to lose weight.
The whole article might seem quite long but it’s necessary to research about every kind of supplement before consuming it to avoid causing any potential harm to your health. Because your health is your most valuable possession and it cannot be handled carelessly at any cost.