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October 22, 2020 3 min read

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs are EAAs

Essential Amino Acids are essential because our bodies require EAAs, but cannot make EAAs. 

To get adequate EAAs you have to ensure that you consume enough through your daily food intake or through an EAA Supplement. 

Of the EAAs three Amino Acids are known as Branched Chain Amino Acids  or BCAAs: Leucine, isoleucine, and Valine.

Why are BCAA Supplements Important?

Adequate BCAA intake is especially important for athletes or anyone who's goals include increased muscle growth and performance.

BCAAs promote muscle protein synthesis and while also suppressing protein breakdown, but this is especially true of the BCAA Leucine.

Are You Getting Enough Leucine?

Leucine is the most important BCAA for achieving your goals, so you want a BCAA Supplement that is Loaded with Leucine!  Does your EAA have enough Leucine?  Go ahead and check, but I'm sorry to say that it almost certainly does not!

What's in Your Ratio?

Probably Not Enough Leucine!

BCAA Ratios are represented as Parts Leucine : Parts Isoleucine : Parts Valine.  The first number represents Leucine and, being that we all agree that it is the most important BCAA, is usually the highest.

Unfortunately, the popular 2:1:1 and 4:1:1 BCAA formulas only include the very smallest ratios of Leucine to the other BCAAs available.

A Better BCAA Ratio?

If Leucine is the most important BCAA, don't you want to get more Leucine than anything else?  For the Best BCAA, look for a BCAA Ratio that is high in leucine, like an 8 1 1 BCAA ratio or a 12 1 1 BCAA ratio.

A BCAA Ratio With The Right Amount of Leucine...

Remember that ratios compare parts of a whole, but ratios do not indicate the total amount of any particular BCAA per serving.  A very small amount of BCAAs, say 1 gram total, can have a high BCAA ratio and be absolutely no good to you due to the small amount of BCAAs and, especially, Leucine.

Always Check How much Leucine is in Your BCAA Powder!

We recommend choosing a BCAA Drink Mix with at least 3 grams of Leucine and, preferably, 5 grams of Leucine.  Leucine is expensive, so be diligent to ensure that your EAA Product has the highest BCAA ratio and Most Leucine you can find.  We have one rule, if the amount of Leucine isn't disclosed, put it back!

BCAAs in a Nutshell

BCAAs have undergone many studies and have been shown to [1-5]:

  • Increase Protein Synthesis
  • Suppress Muscle Protein Breakdown
  • Reduce Muscle Damage
  • Lessen Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

BCAA EAA Supplements can be one of the Most Important Parts of Your Supplement Arsenal, but you have to make sure that your taking a BCAA that has everything you need or you risk wasting your workouts and your hard earned cash!  Look for the high ratio products with lots of leucine and you'll be on your way to achieving your goals!

Action Nutrition's 12:1:1 BCAA Loaded

Coveted 12:1:1 Ratio, 5g Leucine Mega Dose,
and 500mg of Coconut Water Powder for Amazing Intra Workout Hydration.

Learn More About BCAA Loaded Here!


  1. Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., ... & Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 20(3), 236.

  2. Coombes, J. S., & McNaughton, L. S. (2000). Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 40(3), 240.

  3. MacLean, D. A., Graham, T. E., & Saltin, B. (1994). Branched-chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 267(6), E1010-E1022.

  4. Nosaka, K., Sacco, P., & Mawatari, K. (2006). Effects of amino acid supplementation on muscle soreness and damage. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16(6), 620.

  5. Tipton, K. D., Rasmussen, B. B., Miller, S. L., Wolf, S. E., Owens-Stovall, S. K., Petrini, B. E., & Wolfe, R. R. (2001). Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 281(2), E197-E206.