When Should I Take BCAA?

With the rising popularity of whey proteins, BCAA or Branched-chain amino acids have also secured a distinguished spot. Be it a trained professional athlete or a health fitness-conscious person, BCAA is the preferred choice.

Test results show the effectiveness of BCAA for muscle building, reducing soreness in the muscles, and also controlling workout fatigue. However, most people are often seen confused about the best time to consume BCAA.

This article will help you get all the required information about BCAA, including the best time to consume them. Let us begin.


BCAA Supplements:

BCAA Supplements

Branched-chain amino acids are the building blocks for protein. Amino acids play a vital role in helping your body grow new body muscles. There are 20 amino acids in total, out of which our body can manufacture 11 amino acids. The remaining 9 amino acids are delivered to the body with a healthy balanced diet or health supplements.

Amongst these 9 amino acids – lysine, leucine, isoleucine, histidine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, methionine, and phenylalanine, the essential trio is isoleucine, valine, and leucine. The BCAA supplements supply 2-times leucine as compared to isoleucine and valine, popularly referred to as the 2:1:1 ratio.

There are still different types of research happening to understand if BCAA supplements are better than whole food-based protein sources containing sufficient BCAA. At least for now, BCAA supplements are convenient, portable, and affordable options to rely on. You can either try the BCAA capsules or BCAA powder supplements according to your preference.


How the BCAA supplements improve your fitness regime?

BCAA supplements improve your fitness regime

Different pieces of evidence support the potential of BCAA to enhance the fitness regime in at least 5 of these important ways:

Controls exercise fatigue:

Tryptophan is used by the human body to produce serotonin which causes exercise fatigue. BCAA controls the tryptophan entry in the brain, and as a result, the higher amount of BCAA can manage exercise fatigue.


Enhances building muscles post-workout:

BCAA stimulates protein synthesis in the muscles suppressing muscle protein breakdown. This results in faster growth of the muscles after the workout.


Controls muscles soreness and damage:

The intake of BCAAs is also effective in reducing the soreness and inflammation in the muscles caused because of heavy workout sessions.


Supports and improves immunity:

Glutamine – a popular amino acid, acts as a fuel for body immunity. The reduced levels of glutamine can affect the body’s immunity. To control this, BCAA can be easily converted into the required amount of glutamine, resulting in improved body immunity.


Ensures to provide enough energy during exercise:

When the body glucose levels decrease during heavy exercise sessions, BCAAs can act as a reliable energy source for the body.

BCAAs serve many benefits to the human body if taken in the desired amount and at the right time. Let us now have a look at when you should consume BCAA to get the desired results.


When to take BCAAs?

take BCAAs

There is a never-ending confusion about the right time to consume BCAAs. Some health experts suggest taking it before exercise, while some suggest taking them after completing the workout.

The result and benefits of consuming BCAAs at a specific time over the other (before or after exercise) are compared to know the most suitable time. Here is the review for your reference:

Consuming BCAAs before or after exercise:

Before exercise:

BCAAs, when consumed before a heavy workout, results in lesser soreness and inflammation in the muscles experienced after the exercise. It also reduced blood markers resulting in muscles damage. Thus, consuming BCAAs before your exercise time is a good option.


After exercise:

Consuming BCAAs after exercise helps in better and faster muscle recovery and growth. Moreover, it also helps in stimulating protein better, resulting in high energy levels throughout the day. Considering such benefits, BCAAs are seen as an excellent option to consume after exercise.

To put this in simple words, you can consume BCAAs either before or after your exercise sessions to get fantastic body benefits. In either time frame, BCAAs help the body to recover, re-build and energize for the best.


What if you consume BCAAs during exercise sessions?

There is no such evidence that supports the consumption of BCAAs during exercise to benefit the body. There isn’t any physical improvement in the body after taking BCAAs during exercise; however, the supplement helps control mental fatigue.


The best time window to consume BCAAs:

The BCAA levels are at the peak 30-minutes after its consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure taking it at an optimal time for expected results.

  • Earlier, it was estimated that you could get benefit from BCAAs (muscles growth and recovery) for 45-60 minutes after the exercise. However, according to the new research, the time window to take BCAAs can be as wide as 5-hours after completing your workout.
  • Also, another vital thing to keep in mind is that the time window to consume BCAAs after exercise can be altered accordingly if you have consumed a protein supplement about 1-2 hours before your exercise session.


Other important tips to consider with BCAAs consumption:

These 4 additional tips are considered necessary for enhancing the benefits of BCAA supplements:

  1. Make sure to consume at least 91mg of BCAA supplement per pound of your body weight.
  2. You should continue regular consumption of BCAA supplements to ensure getting the desired benefits without any hassles. This should mean consuming the supplement even on days when you don’t exercise.
  3. Rather than consuming the full dose at a particular time, it is better to split it into 2 or more doses. You can divide your daily requirement into 2 parts and consume the same before and after your exercise time.
  4. Along with BCAAs, your body needs other essential amino acids to allow your body to make the required amount of protein. Therefore, you should include other protein sources in your diet.



BCAA supplements provide enough nutrients for supporting body muscles. However, there is still a dilemma of their benefits over the available food sources.

Consuming BCAAs, either before or after exercise, has almost the same benefits on the body. Thus, the optimal time to consume these supplements can be decided according to one’s liking and preference.  Just make sure to consume only the right amount of BCAA supplements to limit any adverse effects on the body.

Still, have doubts? Don’t worry; we are here to take care of them. Drop down all your doubts and concerns in the comment section, and we assure you to provide relevant information.

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Dr. Med. Raoul Hasert is a specialist in dermatology and venereology. He is a senior physician in Praxisklinik Dr. Hasert.

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