During the 2020 pandemic and the ensuing quarantine period, I took the downtime as an opportunity to really take my personal fitness to the next level.
One of the first things I did was to look at my diet and work with a fitness trainer to help me create a nutrition plan that would help me build strength while still retaining my lean physique.
In addition to balancing my macronutrients, my trainer also recommended that I start supplementing with BCAA’s, or Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
These essential amino acids can help your body get the most out of each workout. They’ll give you more energy and endurance while you’re exercising and they’ll help your body build muscle and recover after you get out of the gym as well.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you some of the best vegan BCAA supplements on the market. Whether you’re a fitness junkie or you’re just looking to take the first step towards bettering your personal fitness, I’ll explain everything you need to know below!
Can BCAA’s Be Vegan?
Branch-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAA, are the building blocks of protein. If you remember anything from your high school health class, you’ll remember that protein is the block of muscle.
Therefore, the logic follows that the right BCAA’s can help your body recover and build muscle by ensuring that there’s plenty of protein to go around.
Here’s a quick video explaining how BCAA work, so you have a better understanding of what I’m going to be talking about throughout this post:
BCAA’s are naturally found in meat. Unfortunately, this means that many of the top-rated BCAA supplements on the market are derived from animal proteins. This, of course, makes them non-vegan.
Thankfully, BCAA’s can also be derived from plant-based protein sources as well! Thanks to modern food processing technology, labs can now isolate the branch-chain amino acids within plant protein to create 100% vegan BCAA supplements.
How Do I Know If My BCAA’s Are Vegan?
If you were to go just based on the taste of the supplement itself, it would be almost impossible to tell whether or not your BCAA’s are vegan or not. Much like meat-derived gelatin, most BCAA’s are tasteless, so you wouldn’t be able to taste whether or not it came from meat.
The best way to tell if a BCAA supplement is vegan or not is to closely read the label. Vegan BCAA’s will typically have very clear labelling, as they’re trying to advertise that they’re a vegan-friendly product.
For example, if you take a look at all of the vegan BCAA’s that I’ve reviewed below, you’ll see that almost all of them have the word “vegan” or “plant-based” in bold lettering on the front package.
Since they’re trying to market specifically to vegans and vegetarians, it makes sense that they would be very clear about their labelling.
If you don’t see any clear labels saying that the product is “vegan” or “plant-based,” then it’s safe to assume that the BCAA supplement you’re looking at is not vegan.
Do I Need A Vegan BCAA Supplement?
Technically, nobody really needs a BCAA supplement. However, if you’re an athlete or you spend a considerable amount of time in the gym, then a vegan BCAA supplement can help take your performance up a notch.
It’s worth noting that you should be getting most of your essential amino acids from your daily food intake. Healthy vegan protein sources are naturally rich in amino acids. For example, beans and legumes, such as soy and chickpeas are excellent sources of BCAA.
That being said, there’s a big difference between the basics that your body needs and what your body could use to become even stronger.
If you’re truly dedicated to your fitness goals and want to see massive positive growth, then you’re going to need a bit more than beans and legumes.
On the other hand, if you’re somebody who exercises to feel good or just to maintain their health, then you may not need to go overboard with the BCAA’s and vegan protein supplements.
Benefits Of Taking A Vegan BCAA Supplement
Still not convinced? Here’s a quick table outlining some of the key benefits of taking a vegan BCAA supplement:
|Benefits of Taking a Vegan BCAA||Explanation|
|Increased muscle growth||The more BCAA’s you have in your system, the easier it is for your body to build protein and use it to fuel new muscle growth.|
|Decreased soreness||Since BCAA’s allow your muscles to recover quicker, you’ll usually be less sore following an intense workout.|
|Reduced fatigue while exercising||As you exercise, your body burns through its BCAA stores in order to fuel muscle recovery and performance. As your BCAA levels are depleted, tryptophan is released into your brain. This chemical is known for causing sleepiness and is released to help our bodies slow down and recover.|
The Best Vegan BCAA Supplements 2022
So, now that you know a little bit more about why BCAA’s are important and how they can help you as an athlete, it’s time to show you some of the best vegan BCAA supplements.
Since beginning my fitness journey over two years ago, I’ve had the chance to experiment with a number of different brands. While many of them are quite similar to one another, some supplements feature added vitamins and nutrients that help them stand out.
Below, you’ll find my honest reviews, so you know what to shop for!
1) Truth Nutrition Fermented Vegan BCAA Powder (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
If you’re looking for something that’s quick, healthy, and clean, you can’t go wrong with Truth Nutrition Fermented Vegan BCAA Powder. This vegan supplement features the three most vital BCAA’s: L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine.
These three amino acids are the main three BCAA that your body needs to synthesize protein and help your body build muscle, recover, and power through the toughest workouts.
Unlike traditional BCAA supplements that use animal hair, meat, and bird feathers for BCAA’s, Truth Nutrition’s vegan BCAA powder isolates their BCAA’s by fermenting corn.
The fermentation process causes these BCAA’s to break apart from the corn, where they can then be isolated and used for supplements.
In addition to the main active BCAA’s this supplement also includes natural flavours, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, and beetroot powder, and is naturally sweetened with stevia. Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that’s 100% natural and comes from the stevia leaf.
It comes in a powder form that can be quickly mixed into a bottle of water. It’s available in four flavours: Watermelon, Pink Lemonade, Red Raspberry, and Blood Orange. Personally, I’ve only tried the Blood Orange, but I thought it was delicious!
- Made with plant-based BCAA’s
- Uses zero-calorie stevia sweetener
- Available in four flavours
- Made from GMO-free fermented corn
- It’s a little expensive
2) Honey Badger BCAA Amino Acids Powder (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
Honey Badgers are creatures that are known for their ferocity, strength, and speed. Despite their small size, they’re more terrifying than larger animals twice their size!
Made in the spirit of this amazing animal, Honey Badger BCAA Amino Acids are an excellent source of vegan BCAA’s. Not only is this vegan BCAA supplement affordable but it’s also quite complex and offers more amino acids than many of the other supplements that I’ve seen.
Of course, you’ll find the “big three” here: l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine.
However, Honey Badger BCAA’s also include several other essential amino acids that aren’t as easy to come by: l-lysine hydrochloride, l-methionine, l-threonine, l-phenylalanine, l-histidine, and l-tryptophan.
These added essential amino acids aren’t quite as potent (in regards to muscle building) but they help nonetheless. The added essential amino acids really help with recovery and will leave you feeling well-rested and not as sore the next day after a hard workout.
Last but not least, I really like how this vegan BCAA supplement also features added electrolytes.
It contains magnesium citrate, Himalayan salt, and potassium citrate. The magnesium helps with recovery, the salt provides your body with much-needed electrolytes, and the potassium helps prevent muscle cramping and soreness from lactic acid buildup.
- Contains nine amino acids (BCAA’s and essential amino acids)
- Contains electrolytes for increased endurance
- Contains magnesium for enhanced recovery
- Contains potassium to prevent cramping and soreness
- Available in six flavours
- Sweetened with zero-calorie monk fruit sweetener
- Very affordable
- The flavours taste a bit “sour”
3) Naked Vegan BCAA’s Amino Acids Powder (link)
- Supplement Type: Unsweetened, Raw Amino Acid Powder
Generally speaking, I prefer the flavored vegan amino acid supplements. Nothing against raw amino, but they’re not the best-tasting in the world. However, I recognize that many of my readers prefer supplements that are as raw and all-natural as possible.
If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ll really appreciate Naked Vegan BCAA’s Amino Acids Powder.
It features a 2:1:1 ratio (the “golden ratio”) of l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine. That’s it!
The only other added ingredient is sunflower lecithin. This is used as an emulsifier to prevent the amino acids from separating and giving you an imbalance scoop. The sunflower lecithin accounts for less than 1% of the entire supplement, though, so it’s nothing to worry about.
I’ve reviewed several of Naked’s products before, and all of them have been incredibly high-quality. In fact, when I first started weightlifting, I took the Naked Vegan Mass Builder supplement for thirty days to help me pack on muscle quickly!
Since there are no added ingredients, sweeteners, or flavors, each container of Naked Vegan BCAA contains one hundred servings, which makes this contain a three-month supply.
When you look at its price point combined with the value it offers, it’s actually more affordable than most of the other vegan BCAA supplements on the market.
Of course, the only downside of this particular supplement is that it doesn’t taste that good. It kind of tastes like you’re drinking down a bunch of sawdust. But who needs all of those extra additives anyways?
- Pure vegan BCAA’s, nothing extra
- No sweeteners, sugars, acids, or anything unnatural
- Only contains a little bit of sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier
- Great deal for the money
- Pharmaceutical-grade BCAA’s
- Doesn’t taste very good
4) Tattle Vegan BCAA Powder & Electrolytes (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
Tattle Vegan BCAA Powder & Electrolytes was one of the best vegan BCAA supplements that I’ve tried to date. I really love the flavor and the way it makes me feel. It’s also fairly priced and only costs a little bit more than some of the other vegan BCAA’s that I’ve tried.
Each serving of Tattle Vegan BCAA contains the golden ratio of 2:1:1 of l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine. This ensures that your muscles are able to recover and grow with each workout. That’s not all, though.
Each serving also contains 2 grams of l-glutamine. This amino acid not only helps to synthesize protein but also supports a healthy immune system and helps your body deal with high levels of stress.
Given the ongoing pandemic, I think we could all use an immunity booster in our lives!
Tattle Vegan BCAA Powder even includes 3 grams of electrolytes to keep your energy levels and hydration high throughout the duration of your workout.
Another interesting ingredient in this vegan BCAA supplement is the addition of tart cherry powder. It’s not added for flavor, either. Based on several studies, consuming tart cherry powder prior to a workout can decrease your muscle soreness after your workout.
It’s a great way to make sure that you’re fresh and ready for tomorrow’s workout!
The only downside of this vegan BCAA is that the flavor is a big sharp. Then again, that’s going to be the case with most of these sugar-free BCAA supplements, so it’s not too big of an issue.
- Added tart cherry powder for decreased muscle soreness
- 6 grams of BCAA’s
- 3 grams of electrolytes for enhanced hydration
- Great flavors
- The flavor isn’t all that great
5) Plant Aminos Organic Essential Amino Acids (link)
- Supplement Type: Edible Tablets
If you can’t stand the taste of vegan BCAA supplements, then you’ll really appreciate Plant Aminos Organic Essential Amino Acids. This vegan amino acid supplement comes in tablet form, so you can easily swallow your daily dose with a glass of cold water.
While taking the tablets is easier, it does have one downside – it’s harder for your body to absorb.
BCAA’s in the water-soluble form is easier for your body to absorb, so there’s more bioavailability. Some of the BCAA’s in these tablets will be destroyed by your stomach acid before they get the chance to be absorbed.
That’s really the only downside of this supplement. This can be easily remedied by consuming the tablets more frequently.
This is actually one of the most comprehensive amino acid supplements I’ve ever tried. Each serving contains seventeen different amino acids. It includes l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine for muscle growth.
It also includes fourteen more amino acids that support various functions throughout the body, improving circulation, mental clarity, and balancing energy levels.
All of the amino come from raw, plant-based sources, so you don’t have to worry about any meat-derived additives or animal BCAA’s. It’s a certified vegan and certified organic product, so everything that goes into creating this supplement is top-notch quality.
- Easy-to-take tablet form
- Contains seventeen essential amino acids
- Certified vegan and certified organic
- Supports full-body health
- When taken in tablet form, the BCAA’s aren’t absorbed as easily by your body
6) Elevate Plant-Based Vegan BCAA Powder with B12 & Glutamine (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
If you’ve ever found yourself dragging your feet to the gym in the morning, then you might need a bit of Elevate’s Plant-Based Vegan BCAA Powder with B12 and Glutamine in your diet.
This supplement is very similar to the Tattle vegan BCAA supplement that I mentioned above. The only difference is that this workout powder contains added vitamin B12. This vitamin is 100% vegan and happens to be one of the most energizing vitamin supplements out there. /
A single serving of this vegan BCAA has 20,800% of your daily value of B12. Even though that’s a little bit overkill, it’s nothing to worry about since B12 is water-soluble. So, whatever your body doesn’t immediately use during your workout will come out the next time you pee.
In short, consuming that much B12 will give you just as much of an energy boost as if you took two shots of espresso. Of course, the only downside of this is if you’re somebody who likes to work out at night before they go to bed.
As far as the BCAA’s go, it’s a fairly straightforward supplement. Each serving contains 5 grams of the “big three” – l-leucine (2.5 grams), l-isoleucine (1.25 grams), and l-valine (1.25 grams).
Each serving also includes 2 grams of l-glutamine, which also helps with muscle recovery and growth.
The flavor of this BCAA is pretty tolerable. It’s still a bit sour, but it’s a lot better than the raw, unsweetened amino (in my opinion, at least).
- 5 grams of BCAA’s per serving
- Added l-glutamine
- Added vitamin B12 for an energy boost
- Decent taste
- The added B12 may be a bit “too energizing” for some
7) Clean BCAA with Coconut Water Electrolytes (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
Clean BCAA with Coconut Water Electrolytes is a great all-around vegan BCAA supplement. It’s made with minimal additives but contains everything that’s important.
It contains 4 grams of total BCAA’s (a bit less than some of the others I’ve tried), using a 2:1:1 ratio of l-leucine (2 grams), l-isoleucine (1 gram), and l-valine (1 gram).
Other than that, the only active ingredient is natural electrolytes from evaporated coconut water. Coconut water is a great source of natural electrolytes and has been consumed for thousands of years as a source of energy and hydration.
The only other additives are flavor additives, such as citric acid, beetroot powder, sea salt, and stevia extra (which is used to sweeten the powder).
It comes in Fruit Punch, which is currently the only flavor that the company offers. However, it’s one of the better fruit punch BCAA drinks that I’ve had.
- Great-tasting fruit punch flavor
- Contains electrolytes from coconut water
- 2:1:1 ratio of plant-based BCAA’s
- No artificial flavors or colors
- Only contains 4 grams of BCAA’s (compared to 5 or 6 grams in other supplements)
8) RSP Vegan AminoLean – All-in-One Natural Pre Workout, Amino Energy (link)
- Supplement Type: Powdered Drink Mix
If you’re looking for the best all-in-one total-body vegan amino acid supplement, then RSP Vegan AminoLean is definitely worth checking out. Not only does it contain l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine, but it also contains eight other amino acids that pack a punch for your health.
Some of the most notable added amino is l-arginine and l-citrulline, which work together to improve your blood flow. This is good for your heart and can increase your VO2 max while you’re working out.
That’s not where it stops, though.
This vegan BCAA is also paired with an all-natural weight management blend. This blend of herbs includes green tea and green coffee extract as well as l-carnitine, l-tartrate, and linoleic acid. These all boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.
But wait… There’s more!
No, seriously. There is.
RSP Vegan Amino also includes a blend of natural caffeine from tea, guarana, and matcha. This mixture not only energizes you but will help you focus and concentrate for a workout like no other.
- Contains BCAA’s plus other essential amino acids
- Contains an all-natural weight loss blend
- Contains an all-natural energy blend
- Great-tasting powder
- Doesn’t have as high of a BCAA content as some of the other pure-fitness BCAA’s I’ve mentioned
The Verdict – What’s The Best Vegan BCAA Supplement?
Realistically, most vegans should be able to get all of the BCAA’s they need by eating a healthy and balanced diet.
However, if you’re into fitness or playing sports, then taking a BCAA supplement can seriously boost your energy levels, help with recovery, and help you build stronger muscles.
Of all of the vegan BCAA supplements that I’ve taken, I’d have to say that RSP Vegan AminoLean is the best. Not only is the flavor good, but it’s packed full of other amino acids and natural supplements that really help my energy levels.
If you really want to take your weight training to the next level, then you might benefit from a vegan creatine supplement. This can help you break through your plateau by giving you increased muscular endurance and energy.