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2018's 10 Best

Many women who spend time in the gym are looking for another way to improve their workouts, speed up their recovery, and/or get more effective results. Supplements are a great way to help with this, and BCAAs are a great option.

Branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs, are one of the most popular supplements used by athletes and gym-goers for exercise and recovery. Many supplements made for a variety of purposes contain BCAAs because of their range of benefits. But some supplements are composed solely of these amino acids.

While many exercise supplements are designed specifically for use by men looking to increase muscle size or testosterone levels, it can be difficult for women to determine which supplements are the best options for them and their needs. BCAAs provide a product that can be very beneficial for women, and some of the benefits of these products can include weight loss, increased energy, and reduced stress.

How BCAAs for Women Work

Branched-chain amino acid supplements are composed of three main amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. These are all known as essential amino acids. This means that the body can’t make them on its own, so they need to be taken in through the diet each day. BCAAs make up nearly 40 percent of all amino acids in the body. They also make up about 35 percent of the amino acids in skeletal muscle, making them critical for the body to function correctly, especially if you are exercising on a regular basis.

Leucine is directly responsible for protein synthesis in the muscles. It is found in foods such as eggs, soy, and fish. This essential amino acid is needed for rebuilding the body after your workout. By stimulating protein synthesis, leucine helps to slow down the breakdown of muscles while increasing growth. It is also needed for the building of new cells and forming of sterols. Sterols are used when building new steroid hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.

Isoleucine is an amino acid that is found in many foods, such as eggs, fish, and seeds. It is also used to build new proteins, though not to the extent that leucine is. Isoleucine is also responsible for creating new hemoglobin cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to cells throughout the body. In addition, it is needed for regulating blood sugar and energy levels, and it can help to produce various chemicals that generate extra energy. This energy is created from breaking down ketone bodies and fatty acids.

Unlike the other two amino acids, valine is not responsible for new protein synthesis. Instead, it is needed for energy production. It can be broken down into glycogen molecules, which can be metabolized by the body to use as fuel. Valine is most often used as an energy source when the body has low levels of carbohydrates or proteins, which are most often broken down by the body as part of the normal energy cycle.

Health Benefits of BCAAs for Women

BCAAs come with a wide range of benefits, both related to exercise and general health. Most of the benefits relate to muscle growth and soreness.


One of the biggest reasons that BCAAs are used as a supplement is to increase and stimulate muscle growth. Improvements can be seen in both muscle size and strength. Leucine is an especially important part of this effect. One study looked at individuals who took 5.6 grams of BCAAs in a drink after a resistance workout. Those who took the supplements showed a 22 percent increase in protein synthesis compared to those who took a placebo.

While BCAAs definitely play a role in muscle growth, their impact is even greater when combined with other essential amino acids. Because of this, it is important to obtain plenty of protein either in your diet or through other supplements, such as protein powders.


For some people, muscle soreness is the sign that you had a good workout the day before. Muscle soreness generally sets in around 12 to 24 hours after a workout, and it can last for up to three days or more. Delayed-onset muscle soreness can make it difficult to move and reduce the effectiveness of workouts over the next couple of days.

Taking BCAAs can help to reduce the rate that muscle is broken down during exercise, leaving less damage for the body to repair after the fact. Multiple studies have shown that BCAA supplements reduced muscle soreness after workouts. Taking BCAAs before workouts can also help to speed up recovery times. Jump to Our 10 Best BCAAs for Women List


Weight loss is a goal of many women, and having enough protein in your diet is a critical part of this. Proteins are critical for stimulating weight loss, and not having enough protein in your diet is especially common in women who are dieting. Leucine plays a large role in this effect.

Leucine plays a role in balancing and controlling blood sugar levels, but it can also increase levels of hormones that help to control hunger. Both factors can further aid weight loss.


With the busy lives many women face, high stress levels are all too familiar. Stress is caused by cortisol, a hormone that causes increased blood sugar and lower levels of human growth hormone release. Cortisol can also result in higher levels of insulin in the body. This causes the body to break down muscle for energy and store more fat. BCAAs can reduce cortisol levels in the blood, bringing stress levels down and promoting fat loss.


Increased energy is another benefit of BCAA supplements for women. These products sometimes contain extra ingredients, such as green tea extract or other stimulants, which help to both increase energy and metabolism for enhanced fat loss.

BCAAs are known to keep your energy levels high, especially during exercise. When you work out, your body starts to use up BCAAs in the muscles. This causes BCAA levels in the blood to go down. When your blood is running low on these amino acids, tryptophan, which is found in the brain, begins to be broken down. When this happens, it is converted into serotonin, which can cause fatigue during exercise.


Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that causes this organ to not function correctly. This can result in loss of some brain function in about 50 percent of cases, which results from hepatic encephalopathy. This disease causes the body to be unable to filter toxins from the blood. For individuals who are taking antibiotics to treat this issue, BCAAs may help reduce the associated symptoms.

Cirrhosis can also increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. In several studies, BCAA supplements have been shown to help protect against this cancer and prevent against further liver complications.


Tough workouts can actually lessen the effectiveness of your immune system. This makes your body more vulnerable to disease and other health issues. This is most likely because exercise causes lower levels of glutamine, an amino acid that serves as fuel for immune cells. To combat this, BCAAs can be taken into the muscles and converted into extra glutamine.

What to Look for When Buying BCAAs for Women


One of the biggest things to look for when choosing a BCAA supplement is the ratio of leucine to isoleucine to valine. This ratio can vary widely, from the typical ratio of 2:1:1 to ratios as high as 8:1:1. The proper ratio you choose largely depends on the benefits you are looking to achieve.

If you are solely looking to see more muscle and strength gains, choosing a supplement with a higher proportion of leucine could be an option. However, in general, the lower ratios, such as 2:1:1 or 3:1:1 are often better choices for the majority of women.


It is also good practice to take a look at the other ingredients included in the product. Just like all exercise supplements, it is important to avoid products that include unwanted chemicals, sweeteners, or color dyes. These ingredients can be harmful to your body, and they should be avoided whenever possible.

Some, but not all, BCAAs have specific ingredients to further benefit women. Some of these ingredients that can be added include green tea extract and/or conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), both of which provide an energy boost and can increase your metabolism and rate of fat oxidation to increase weight loss. Many products also contain no sugar and few carbohydrates to reduce excess calorie intake. Jump to Our 10 Best BCAAs for Women List

The Proper Dosage of BCAAs for Women

When you are trying to determine the optimal amount of BCAAs to take in each dose, one of the most important considerations is body weight. In general, a regular gym-goer should consume around 91 milligrams of BCAAs per pound of body-weight per day. For example, a woman who weighs 130 pounds would require around 12 grams per day.

Another important factor when it comes to the effectiveness of BCAAs is the amount of time you take these supplements for. To get the most effective results from these products, you’ll want to take them for at least 10 days. Better results are often seen with long-term use. You should also plan to take BCAA supplements every day, even if you are not exercising.

Planning the Timing of Doses

One of the most important things to keep in mind with BCAAs is the timing of when you take them. You can take BCAA supplements either before or after exercise and still obtain benefits from them. In one study, individuals took 5.5 grams of BCAAs before or after their regular workout for 10 weeks. Both groups showed equal improvements in both strength and muscle mass increases.

In general, the BCAA levels in your blood peak around 30 minutes after you take a dose of the supplement. These products are often taken as a post-workout recovery supplement. It has often been preached that recovery supplements need to be taken within an hour of a workout to work at their best. However, new studies have shown that this period of time may be as long as five hours.

You can also split up your daily dosage into two or more individual doses. One study found that taking a dose both before and after exercise can be beneficial to overall results. This can also help ensure that your body can digest and fully absorb everything you’re putting into it.

Possible Side Effects of BCAAs for Women

In general, BCAA supplements are quite safe to take. There are some minor negative side effects that can arise. These can include issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or stomach bloating. These products can also result in fatigue and loss of coordination in some rare cases.

Because of these potential side effects, it is important to start out taking a lower dose of BCAA supplements. This will allow you to recognize any ill effects and adjust your dosage accordingly.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid taking BCAA supplements. These products have not been sufficiently tested for these groups, so their potential negative effects are not well known. BCAA supplements should also not be taken by children. There is some evidence that taking them short-term, being a maximum of six months, could be okay, but more studies will need to be done to confirm this.

Possible Interactions of BCAAs for Women

If you suffer from diabetes and take a medication that lowers your blood sugar, you should not take BCAA supplements. These products also help to lower blood sugar, which could cause it to go too low. If you become hypoglycemic, you could experience fatigue, lightheadedness, or mental cloudiness.

Also, if you are taking corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, your medication could decrease the effectiveness of BCAA supplements. This same effect can occur if you are taking thyroid hormone medications.

Best BCAA Supplements for Women

Our top 10 list of BCAA supplements for women is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality BCAA supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.

#1 - Gym Vixen BCAA

The Standout: Amazing Taste, Created Just For Women

Gym Vixen's BCAA was made for women, by women, with clinically dosed ingredients formulated to meet athletic women's needs. Each scoop provides 6 Grams of BCAAs in the optimal 2:1:1 ratio. This no oridinary BCAA blend also includes Casein (in the form of the PeptoPro Matrix), HICA, and additional minerals along with Vitamin B6.

Key Points:

  • 6 Grams BCAA
  • 2:1:1 Standard Ratio
  • 3 Grams Hydration Complex
  • 1000 Mg HICA
  • 2 Grams Casein
  • Additional Minerals
  • Best Tasting BCAA
  • Boosts Performance

HICA, or alfa-hydroxyisocaproic acid, is a metabolite of the amino acid Leucine, and has been shown to boost lean muscle mass, by maximizing amino acid availability by increasing the incorporation rate of dietary amino acids into skeletal muscle. It can also help reduce post-workout muscle soreness, allowing for quicker recovery rates.

A hydration complex containing 1000 mg of Coconut Water has also been added to ensure maximum hydration balance. Complete with sodium, postassium and magnesium, Coconut Water Powder is a well-rounded, natural source of electrolyte support.

Offered in two mouth-watering flavors, this 2:1:1 BCAA complex is a great addition to your workout routine. Noted as one of the best tasting BCAAs on the market, recover quickly with an enjoyable post-workout treat.

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#2 - Nutricost BCAA

The Standout: Highest Quality, Cost Effective, Zero Calorie

Nutricost's BCAA provides a whopping 83 servings per bottle, with only 23 cents per serving, of high-quality branched chain amino acids. Each scoop delivers 6 grams of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine to support muscle building and muscle recovery, so you can boost muscle endurance and strength. Less chalky than the average BCAA, each scoop fully dissolves into water, juice, and shakes.

Key Points:

  • 6 Grams BCAAs
  • 500 Grams Per Bottle
  • 64 Servings Per Bottle
  • 23 Cents Per Seving
  • Enhances Protein Synthesis
  • Zero Calories
  • Best Tasting BCAA

This pure BCAA supplement contains no additives or fillers, and is zero calorie to support both muscle building and weight loss goals. This ideal 2:1:1 ratio provides twice the amount of Leucine, critical for activating the mTOR pathway and igniting protein synthesis.

Nutricost's BCAA also comes in several delicious, fruity flavors, making it the best tasting BCAA on the market. At only $21, Nutriciost's BCAA provides high quality for an amazing price. It's no wonder that Nutricost rates so highly over on Amazon.

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#3 - BCAAs For Women

The Standout: Zero Calorie, Supports Weight Loss

Attaining a fit physique involves more than just spending time at the gym which is why IdealFit has created IdealLean BCAAs for Women - a powerful amino acid supplement designed to fit women's needs. Containing 5,000 mg of the highest-quality BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio, along with a hydrating coconut powder and fat-loss blend, IdealLean BCAAs for Women makes sure to cover all the fitness bases in order to improve the recovery of muscle, build lean muscle, and shred fat.

Key Points:

  • 5 Grams BCAAs
  • 30 Servings Per Bottle
  • Supports Muscle Recovery
  • Boosts Protein Synthesis
  • Zero Calories
  • Several Delicious Flavors

IdealLean BCAAs maximizes weight loss with its Fat Loss Blend, packed with ingredients like Green Tea Extract and Tonalin CLA. Green Tea Extract provides a natural caffeine source to help amp up metabolism and fat oxidation. CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, is a fatty acid that has also been shown to boost fat loss, by increasing basal metabolic rates to help convert food more efficiently into energy.

This sugar and calorie free BCAA blend well help support and build your ideal physique, so you can work hard in the gym and recover quickly.

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#4 - Muscle Martini Natural

The Standout: Natural Amino Acid Formula

As an ultimate amino superdrink, GAT Muscle Martini Natural is a great choice for women who want to build lean muscle, improve workout recovery, and promote better overall health. Delivering 8.7 grams of amino acids with no sugar and less than 1 gram of carbs, as well as 50mg of Organic Fruit and Vegetable Antioxidant Blend in every serving, Muscle Martini Natural makes for a great BCAA supplement choice.

Key Points:

  • 8.7 Grams BCAAs
  • 50 Mg Anti-Oxidant Blend
  • 30 Servings Per Bottle
  • Maximizes Lean Muscle Mass
  • Boosts Protein Synthesis
  • Stimulant Free
  • Zero Sugar, Fillers, Artificial Flavors

GAT's Muscle Martini is a clean, natural muscle recovery drink that contains only 5 calories per serving, while providing a potent Organic Fruit And Vegetable Anti-Oxidant Blend. With 14 fruits and vegetables, you can fight oxidative stress and free radicals accumulated from exercise related exertion.

Sugar Free, Stimulant Free, GMO Free, Gluten Free, GAT Muscle Martini is a straight forward BCAA complex that supports muscle building and recovery, and boosts overall health and vitality.

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#5 - Gym Vixen Recover

The Standout: Post-Workout Designed For Women

Gym Vixen Recover is part of the next generation of post-workout supplements tailored specifically for women. It combines the latest breakthroughs for muscles, strength, and performance with an emphasis on fast, efficient recovery for the female athlete. Recover consists of a Essential Amino Complex and Recovery Complex, delivering a boost of BCAAs, L-Glutamine, And Creatine HCL.

Key Points:

  • 1.1 Grams L-Leucine
  • 2 Grams L-Glutamine
  • 1 Gram Creatine HCL
  • 30 Servings Per Bottle
  • Maximizes Protein Synthesis
  • Low Calorie
  • Great Taste

All of the ingredients in Recover are geared specifically to reduce recovery time. The instantized 2:1:1 BCAA blend activates key enzymes in protein synthesis, igniting the mTOR pathway for fast and efficient muscular repair and growth.

Recover also includes Creatine HCl for to boost performance and muscle growth, as well as glutamine for optimal glycogen storage, allowing you to replenish lost energy from your workouts.

Recover is a revolutionary, next generation post-workout, complete in a variety of low-calories flavors that provide delicious satisfaction for a post-workout drink you can actually enjoy guilt free.

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#6 - XTEND

The Standout: Advanced BCAA Formula

It can be difficult to conserve muscle when burning fat, but that is where Scivation's Xtend BCAAs step in. With 7 Grams of BCAAs including L-Leucine, L-Glutamine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine, each scoop enhances muscle growth and recovery. Topped off with a hydration complex and 1 gram of Citrulline Malate, boost BCAA benefits and support muscle hydration.

Key Points:

  • 7 Grams BCAAs
  • 30-90 Servings Per Bottle
  • Enhances Muscle Recovery
  • Boosts Protein Synthesis
  • Zero Calories
  • Zero Fillers

Xtend BCAAs helps support recovery between workouts, by giving a generous serving of vital branched chain amino acids, along with key electrolyte minerals such as sodium and potassium to support electrolyte balance. L-Citrulline Malate is also speculated to positively mediate leucine's trigger of the mTOR pathway, helping build muscle.

With Zero calories, sugars, and fillers, Xtend BCAAs is an obvious addition to any workout regimen to build your ideal physique.

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#7 - CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine

The Standout: Advanced BCAA Formula

It can be difficult to conserve muscle when burning fat, but that is where Scivation's Xtend BCAAs step in. With 7 Grams of BCAAs including L-Leucine, L-Glutamine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine, each scoop enhances muscle growth and recovery. Topped off with a hydration complex and 1 gram of Citrulline Malate, boost BCAA benefits and support muscle hydration.

Key Points:

  • 7 Grams BCAAs
  • 30-90 Servings Per Bottle
  • Enhances Muscle Recovery
  • Boosts Protein Synthesis
  • Zero Calories
  • Zero Fillers

Xtend BCAAs helps support recovery between workouts, by giving a generous serving of vital branched chain amino acids, along with key electrolyte minerals such as sodium and potassium to support electrolyte balance. L-Citrulline Malate is also speculated to positively mediate leucine's trigger of the mTOR pathway, helping build muscle.

With Zero calories, sugars, and fillers, Xtend BCAAs is an obvious addition to any workout regimen to build your ideal physique.

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#8 - BPI Sports Best BCAA

The Standout: Great Tasting, All-Inclusive Blend

Best BCAA supplement is made with the highest-quality BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to improve your physique and enhance your strength.

Key Points:

  • 5 Grams BCAAs
  • 1 Gram CLA Matrix
  • 250 Mg Agmatine Sulfate
  • Boosts Fat Burning
  • Maximizes Muscle Growth
  • Great Tasting

In addition to the three essential BCAAs, Best BCAA also features CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid in the form of Safflower Oil, Avocado Oil, and Coconut Oil , which can assist in transforming body composition by increasing fat burning while supporting muscle growth.

Agmatine Sulfate is also included to enhance nitric oxide levels, in order to deliver nutrients quickly to muscle tissue and support muscle recovery.

The combination of BCAAs, CLA, and Agmatine make Best BCAAs truly a powerhouse muscle building and recovery supplement.

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#9 - XPI Amino Powder

The Standout: 4:1:1 Ratio Formula, Great Tasting

XPI's Amino Powder is a leading Branched Chain Amino Acid Complex, perfect for women looking to up their muscle growth, with a rapid bio-available formula that delivers an unprecedented 4:1:1 ratio of BCAAs.

Key Points:

  • 3 Grams L-Leucine
  • 750 Mg L-Isoleucine
  • 750 Mg L-Valine
  • Amino Acid Complex
  • Neuro-Focus Complex
  • Hydration Complex
  • Absorption Enhancing Complex
  • Amazing Taste

Muscle levels of BCAAs are depleted during exercise, and that is why it is important to replenish them through dietary measures. Amino Powder contains a 4:1:1 BCAA ratio to optimize recovery. Each scoop also provides glutamine and citrulline malate for boosted nitric oxide, vasodialiation and blood flow. Complete with an Absorption Enhancement Complex, these nutrients can be absorbed quickly for best results.

With zero calories and zero grams of sugar, and 4 times the amount of leucine, expect 4 times the results in a great tasting mix that can be conveniently added to pre or post-workout beverages.

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#10 - Cellucor Alpha Amino

The Standout: Comprehensive Amino Acid Supplement

Cellucor's Alpha Amino is one of the most inclusive Amino Acid supplement currently on the market, delivering a total of 19 amino acids, designed to help build muscle, support quick recovery between workouts, and enhance overall performance. Alpha Amino also includes their alpha hydration formula, so muscles stay hydrated.

Key Points:

  • 5 Grams BCAA
  • 14 Different Aminos
  • 3 Grams Hydration Complex
  • 2.5 Grams Alpha Amino Complex
  • 30 Servings Per Bottle
  • Maximizes Muscle Growth
  • Promotes Protein Synthesis

Alpha Amino provides 3 different forms of leucine that gaurantees optimal muscle growth by stimulating protein synthesis. Alpha Amino goes a step further by including their hydration support, which contains a revolutionary patented Hydromax is a glycerol that helps prevent dehydration during workouts, and provides hyperhydration by nearly doubling the volume of body fluid.

If you're looking for a sports drink without relying on stimulants, caffeine, or sugar, Cellucor's Alpha Amino stands above the competition.

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