Best BCAA For Intermittent Fasting: 9 Supplements

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Best BCAA for Intermittent Fasting

Preventing muscle breakdown and reducing muscle soreness is essential in fitness especially when you include intermittent fasting in your weight loss journey.

Exercise enthusiasts take supplements such as BCAA to help them in attaining their goals by enhancing their performance. With so many different BCAAs on the market, it’s difficult to know which one to buy.

This article will discuss the best BCAA for intermittent fasting that you should think about purchasing before including it in your diet. You might also want to read the article Do BCAAs Break Intermittent Fasting for further information on BCAA and how to use it in conjunction with your fasting.

What Are BCAAs?

The proteins that make up the human body are made up of 20 different amino acids (9 essential amino acids + 11 non-essential amino acids). All 20 amino acids are required for bodybuilding, but essential amino acids cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained from food.

The essential amino acids that are converted to energy in the muscles are leucine, isoleucine and valine, which are referred to collectively as BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)1.

The term branched-chain simply refers to the chemical structure of these molecules. BCAAs can also be obtained as supplements. In some cases, doctors may administer BCAAs intravenously (by IV).

Functions Of BCAAs

BCAAs will help you maintain your performance if you consume them before exercise and use them as a source of energy. Their primary roles are as follows:

  • Makeup 30-40% of the essential amino acids found in muscles.
  • Stop muscle protein breakdown.
  • Used as an effective source of energy during exercise.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

In today’s diet world, intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular trend for achieving weight loss. But if you are attempting to lose weight or improve your overall health, you should be aware that it can be a challenging plan to follow.

During a given time period, the method alternates between fasting and not fasting. Intermittent fasting isn’t about deprivation; rather, it’s about dividing your calories in a different way than the three-square-meal-a-day plus a snack routine.

Intermittent fasting is thought to be effective for weight loss because it increases your body’s responsiveness to insulin. Insulin, a hormone released when you eat food, causes your liver, muscle, and fat cells to store glucose.

When you fast, your blood glucose levels drop, which causes a decrease in insulin production, signaling your body to begin burning stored energy (carbohydrates). After 12 hours of fasting, your body runs out of stored energy and begins to burn stored fat2.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Even though intermittent fasting means you go about not having food or drinks for hours at a time, there are benefits to this process. Here are some of the health advantages of fasting:

  1. Changes the way hormones, cells, and genes work.
    • Several things occur in your body when you do not eat for an extended period of time. Your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible while also initiating critical cellular repair processes. Some of the physiological changes that occur in your body when you fast are:
      • Insulin levels drop. Insulin levels in the blood fall significantly, facilitating fat burning.
      • Levels of human growth hormone (HGH). Human growth hormone (HGH) levels in the blood could skyrocket. Increased levels of this hormone promote fat-burning and muscle gain, among other things.
      • Repair of cells. The body initiates critical cellular repair processes such as waste removal from cells.
      • The expression of genes. There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules associated with longevity and disease resistance.
  2. Can aid in weight loss and the reduction of visceral fat.
    • Intermittent fasting improves hormone function, which aids in weight loss. Lower insulin levels, higher HGH levels, and increased norepinephrine (noradrenaline) levels all promote the breakdown of body fat and use it for energy.
    • As a result, fasting for a short period of time raises your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn even more calories. To put it another way, intermittent fasting helps on both sides of the calorie equation. It increases your metabolic rate (burns more calories) while decreasing the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in).
  3. Reduces insulin resistance, lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
    • Intermittent fasting has been shown to have significant benefits for insulin resistance and to result in a significant decrease in blood sugar levels. Fasting blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes were reduced by 3-6% over the course of 8-12 weeks in human studies on intermittent fasting. Fasting insulin levels have dropped by 20-31%.
    • Intermittent fasting increased survival rates and reduced the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication. This suggests that intermittent fasting may be extremely beneficial for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes3.

Benefits Of BCAA

When you drink a BCAA-containing beverage on a regular basis, the concentration of BCAAs in your bloodstream rises prior to exercise. Numerous studies have found that this has numerous benefits, including the efficient use of BCAAs as an energy source during exercise and suppressed lactic acid production for improved endurance1.

Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that aid in muscle metabolism and protein synthesis. If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, you might try taking branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) orally to aid in workout recovery and improve athletic performance.

BCAAs have been shown in studies to help prevent muscle breakdown during exercise. However, they are unlikely to aid athletic performance4.

BCAAs may be useful for:

  1. Increase muscle growth
    • The BCAA leucine activates a specific pathway in your body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which muscle is formed. Whey protein contains all of the essential amino acids required for muscle growth.
    • As a result, while BCAAs can boost muscle protein synthesis, they can’t do so as effectively without the other essential amino acids found in whey protein or other complete protein sources.
  2. Reduce muscle aches and pains
    • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are used to repair exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The overall effects of BCAA on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following a single session of exercise are deemed useful for improving muscle recovery by reducing DOMS in trained subjects, at low doses, in mild to moderate EIMD, and should not be administered only after the EIMD protocol5.
  3. Stop muscle wasting
    • The maintenance of skeletal muscle mass is dependent on the balance of protein synthesis and protein breakdown; decreased functional demand during unloading disrupts this balance and leads to muscle atrophy.
    • BCAA supplementation alone does not prevent protein degradation, but it does help to preserve specific signal transduction proteins that act as regulators of protein synthesis and cell growth in the non-weight-bearing soleus muscle6.
  4. Reduce the severity of tardive dyskinesia (TD) symptoms
    • The branched chain amino acids (BCAA) have been linked to significantly decrease TD symptoms. Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder that involves involuntary movements. Studies observing nine men, who had long neuroleptic treatment histories, taking BCAA medical food showed a decrease in their symptoms by 38%. The increased availability of BCAA and decreased availability of phenylalanine (Phe) to the brain may have modulated symptoms, showing promise as a treatment for TD7.
  5. Inhibit liver cancer cell proliferation
    • Cirrhotic patients frequently have protein and energy deficiencies. Protein deficiencies can cause hypoalbuminemia, which can cause ascites retention and hepatic edema, whereas energy deficiencies can cause fat and muscle mass loss as well as muscle weakness, both of which can have a significant impact on their quality of life (QOL).
    • The effect of BCAA on maintenance or an increase in serum albumin concentrations in patients with both compensated and decompensated cirrhosis.
    • BCAAs have been shown to promote protein synthesis and hepatocyte proliferation, simulate immune systems, improve insulin resistance, and inhibit liver cancer cell proliferation and neovascularization, among other biological effects. All of these findings suggest that BCAAs may be beneficial in the management of patients with chronic liver diseases, both with and without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)8.
  6. Assesses psychological behaviour
    • A certain study9 has indicated BCAA reduces the odds of depression and anxiety. The study also highlighted that a protein-rich dietary pattern can be effective in reducing a number of mental illnesses. Since consumption of BCAAs is a part of a high-protein diet, it may seem that high-protein diets can be effective in prevention of psychological disorders. However, further prospective studies are required to confirm these findings.

Best BCAA For Intermittent Fasting And Other Amino Acids Supplements

  1. Cellucor Alpha Amino Performance BCAAs are the best low-calorie BCAAs.
  2. Optimum Nutrition BCAA 1000 Capsules are ideal for pre-workout.
  3. Best BCAA Powder for Post-Workout: BPI Sports
  4. Naked Nutrition Naked BCAAs are the best choice for vegans and vegetarians.
  5. NOW Sports BCAA Powder is the best kosher powder available.
  6. Thorne Research Amino Complex is best for a variety of flavors.
  7. Designs for Health BCAA Powder with L-glutamine is the best choice for a GMO-free supplement.
  8. Vital Performance Recover Powder is the best vitamin and mineral supplement.
  9. Pure Encapsulations BCAA Powder is best for allergy sufferers.

BCAAs may aid in reducing recovery time after strenuous workouts and providing the body with the tools it requires to build muscle.

However, they may not be appropriate in all circumstances. BCAAs are not for everyone, and there are some alternatives to consider when selecting the best BCAA products.


BCAA supplements make it easy for you to get some essential amino acids. Despite the fact that research is still inconclusive, many athletes use BCAAs on a regular basis to reduce recovery time and symptoms such as muscle soreness.

Though a healthy diet can provide all of the amino acids that you require. BCAAs may be best if you wish to aid it in your endurance and recovery, especially if you are weakened from intermittent fasting.

Keep in mind that consuming BCAA during your fast will break it, but not in a way that it would totally disrupt the same way as eating a meal does. If you want to preserve muscle mass during a fasted workout, BCAAs might be a good option for you.


1 The function of BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during sports activities. (n.d.). Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.otsuka.co.jp/en/nutraceutical/about/nutrition/sports-nutrition/essential-nutrients/bcaa.html

2 Weinandy, L. (2022, May 9). Does intermittent fasting work? Does Intermittent Fasting Work? | Ohio State Health & Discovery. https://health.osu.edu/wellness/exercise-and-nutrition/does-intermittent-fasting-work

3 Barnosky, A. R., Hoddy, K. K., Unterman, T. G., & Varady, K. A. (2014). Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research, 164(4), 302–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2014.05.013

4 The function of BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during sports activities. (n.d.). Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.otsuka.co.jp/en/nutraceutical/about/nutrition/sports-nutrition/essential-nutrients/bcaa.html

5 Weber, M. G., Dias, S. S., de Angelis, T. R., Fernandes, E. V., Bernardes, A. G., Milanez, V. F., Jussiani, E. I., & de Paula Ramos, S. (2021). The use of BCAA to decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness after a single bout of exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Amino acids, 53(11), 1663–1678. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-021-03089-2

6 Bajotto, G., Sato, Y., Kitaura, Y., & Shimomura, Y. (2011). Effect of branched-chain amino acid supplementation during unloading on regulatory components of protein synthesis in atrophied soleus muscles. European journal of applied physiology, 111(8), 1815–1828. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1825-8

7 Richardson, M. A., Bevans, M. L., Weber, J. B., Gonzalez, J. J., Flynn, C. J., Amira, L., Read, L. L., Suckow, R. F., & Maher, T. J. (1999). Branched chain amino acids decrease tardive dyskinesia symptoms. Psychopharmacology, 143(4), 358–364. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002130050959

8 Tajiri, K., & Shimizu, Y. (2018). Branched-chain amino acids in liver diseases. Translational gastroenterology and hepatology, 3, 47. https://doi.org/10.21037/tgh.2018.07.06

9 Koochakpoor, G., Salari-Moghaddam, A., Keshteli, A.H. et al. Dietary intake of branched-chain amino acids in relation to depression, anxiety and psychological distress. Nutr J 20, 11 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-021-00670-z


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