I have been using ALN BCAA's for about 2 weeks
I have the grape flavor. I use BCAAs when in a calorie restriction before fasted cardio. the idea behind that is to prevent muscle loss due to the restriction. there is probably more science behind how that works but that doesnt matter to me - i know it works. first, i have 3 other products I was using before I received ALN BCAAs
1. ON powder
2. Primaforce powder
3. ON caps
1. ON Powder
The ON powder comes in a little jug shaped like most BA supplements. it has very poor mixability. even after prolonged mixing, you will have a significant amount of matter on the top of your drink. even when mixed with some whey, it will not dissolve well at all. you will probably need to refill your cup and mix it around 1-2 more times to get it all down. oh, and it tastes like dirt.
2. Primaforce Powder
This is the same as the ON powder above in nearly all respects except that it tastes like filth rather than dirt.
3. ON Caps
Since these are caps, they have added convenience. I still utilize these for cardio done after lifting since i dont carry a shaker with me to the gym. taste and mixability do not apply. the functionality of these merely serves convenience
4. ALN BCAA grape
The packaging is more or less the same. The grape flavor is apparent as soon as you open it. i had conservative expectations using it for the first time since i have history of bcaa use. I couldnt help but be initially biased against a bcaa powder. however, the difference could not be more clear. compared to #1,2 above, ALN mixes dramatically better. the taste is pretty powerful -- which is a good thing. the worst part of the other BCAA powders I have used is how the awful the taste can be. the grape flavor exceeds my expectations (high praise) relative to any other BCAA powder I have used. i will typically take 10-12g in 10oz of water and mix for 10-20 seconds. there is very little matter left on the top of the mixture and it goes down without any kind of face afterwards.
summarized, ALN BCAA grape flavor far exceeds my expectations and easily blows the primaforce & ON powders away. i'm naturally biased in favor of what i prefer, but hopefully this has been objective enough.
ty daniel and chris. keep up the great work.
Good review. I have never used a BCAA supplement in the past. Is it something worth taking or just hype?
I plan to post a review for BCAA+ some time next week as well, have been testing it for about a little over one week now.
I'm thinking about getting a tub of the BCAA+ because I've heard only good things about it...not sure how to implement it into my supplement schedule.
I just tried the BCAA's yesterday. I mixed a scoop with my water bottle. That's more water than called for, but I like drinks a little weak. The taste was good and even better was no after taste. I was alsom impressed with how well it mixed. Some BCAA's I have tried almost never seem to mix.
I pretty much agree with F=MA's post. Mixability is great, although there can be a little gritty if it's consumed immediately after shaking. I leave it in my fridge overnight for next day's workout and it's great after that. I'm not a huge fan of the grape flavor, but it seems to taste better during training then it does when I first sampled it.
My only issue is the price and the fact that I'm not sold on BCAAs being more effective than whey. Other than that, though, it is a pretty good product.
Thanks for your thoughts F=MA and everyone else here.
For the BCAA's I typically sip on them throughout the day. This has two purposes; it can help to prevent any muscle breakdown if my general nutrition is inadequate and also helps me to meet my daily water intake objectives. Another good time to use BCAA's would be intra-workout - this is the most common application for BCAA supplements.
What do you currently use for protein shakes and what is your protocol with them? Also, do you use any pre-workout supplement(s) right now?
30 servings for $20 is on par with most high quality protein supplements and is also quite reasonable when compared to other flavored BCAA products.
I'm glad you chimed in here Tom. One thing I wanted to ask you is if there's any real benefit to using BCAAs over a normal protein supplement. I'm debating ordering some more BCAA+ for fasted cardio use, but I'm not sure if it's worth the money over just using whey. Thoughts?
hey! what the he!!??? using $$ in place of SS in swear words was my signature move!
Last edited by chevelle2291; 12-13-2010 at 10:05 AM.
I don't understand why At Large launched this product. I thought it was fairly common knowledge that BCAA's are useless except under very specific dietary circumstances which would not be anyone on this forum and certainly not used in addition to products like Nitrean and Opticen which have you covered. I recall Chris Mason being of this opinion.
And the added glutamine - has anyone ever benefited from 2g of glutamine? I thought glutamine was universally accepted as useless as well.
I do see it being economically beneficial to At Large, but doesn't go along with the "we make products that really work" mission of the company. Especially with a green drink, "recovery supplement", and possible bad ass but expensive test booster in development stages.
I admit the last time I really researched this to its limit was probably 2004 or so. Has the information changed since then?
Here is a study that was performed on Xtend (similar formula to BCAA+):
Xtend = 3.5g L-Leucine, 2.5g L-Glutamine, 1.8g L-Valine & L-Isoleucine (Suggested Retail $34.95 for 30 servings)
BCAA+ = 3g L-Leucine, 2g L-Glutamine, 1.5g L-Valine & L-Isoleucine (Suggested Retail $22.95 for 30 servings)
The study indicates that free-form BCAA's (14g) out perform BCAA's from whey protein sources (28g whey protein). The down side would be cost, as two servings of a BCAA supplement would be more expensive than the whey protein.
I just finished another serving while training tonight. I mixed it in my Kleen Kanteen with 20oz of water and a bunch of ice cubes. I sipped on it throughout my workout and am enjoying the taste more each time. This is going to be a staple of my training.
I can't read that study it's too blurry. I am going to research it later but I have an appointment tonight at 7pm. Is this the study you based the product launch on or is there more research? It seems weird that consuming isolated amino's you already get plenty of would have an effect that is significant. I am always interested in new products, though. Thanks for the direct response.
The results of the study piqued my interest as I had not previously paid very much attention to intra-workout nutrition (have used products but not consistently and was not sure how effective they were).
That is an interesting study. I'm not sure they are talking about intra-workout nutrition. "While performing an eight-week resistance-training program." is general terminology. It does make more sense to me if it was consumed during the workout as providing the most essential aminos at that time as opposed to the body having to deal with processing the rest of it seems like it could make a significant difference. Is that truly the only study we can go by right now? They have been selling this stuff forever.
I've yet to google/pubmed it because I still have a large research project I can't figure out (see: diet and nutrition forum distilled water).
That research poster you posted Tom seems legit,
but one thing that concerns me...
The authors dont discuss how extraneous factors were controlled. Were diets controlled? Cardio workouts controlled? Use of anabolics and/or other supplements controlled? We want to assume these thing were controlled, but the fact is, there is no mention of it. These are all variables that might have confounding the results the researchers experienced.
Besides, the funding source is a freaking supplement company that manufactures BCAAs. I'm sure the study is truly unbiased
Last edited by Cmanuel; 12-14-2010 at 07:13 PM.
It does say the subjects followed a standardized diet. Definitely not a legit source, but seems well done at face value.
I would like to find additional studies on BCAA's but have not had much time to perform research. For a while T-Nation was pushing Leucine so there may be some information available there as they usually include citations with their articles/advertisements.
Assuming that BCAA's are the primary recovery/muscle building factor in protein powder it would make sense that 14g of BCAA's would out-perform 28g of whey protein (likely around 5g total BCAA content). In fact there are some 'designer' post workout supplements that actually dose their BCAA's quite lower and still have generally good reviews - Dark Matter, Massport, etc.
When I have some down time tomorrow I will look around for more studies/information. Hopefully from there we can come up with a general consensus on BCAA's. My prediction is that they will likely prove to be slightly more effective than protein powder but also cost more; and since they can be stacked with protein the BCAA's could provide for the most effective strength/size supplement stack when used as an intra-workout in conjunction with post-workout protein.
**CManuel - Scivation did fund the study but they do sell Whey Protein as well as BCAA's; although I can see your perspective since their sales of Xtend most likely exceed the sales from their whey protein by a substantial amount.
Geez, go to PubMed.com and type BCAA in the search and you will find a ton of studies...
Same product, I've used Creatine500 and Results a few times in the past 2 years. Both worked great in the beginning but not so good lately. I was thinking my body is just getting immuned to the dosage?
I use Nitrean, every night before bed with some natural peanut butter. Depending on when I lift my pre-workout varies. Most of the time it's Nitrean, banana, and greek yogurt.
I was going to, just hadn't gotten to it yet. I was hoping you guys had them all lined up and I could save time and effort. Almost all of them are irrelevant, but I'm finding nothing at all negative...just not really applicable to someone with a high protein intake and sound weight training nutrition.
This is the only good one I've spotted so far. Only problem is the subjectivity of the perceived muscle soreness.
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Dec;49(4):424-31.
Branched-chain amino acid supplementation attenuates muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation during an intensive training program.
Matsumoto K, Koba T, Hamada K, Sakurai M, Higuchi T, Miyata H.
Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Saga, Japan.
AIM: The aim of this paper was to assess the effects of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation on muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation during an intensive training program.
METHODS: Twelve long-distance runners (20 + or - 1 year-old) participated in a double-blinded crossover designed study conducted during two intensive training periods (three-day). The subjects were provided either a drink containing BCAA (0.8% BCAA in a 3.5% carbohydrate solution; 2,500 mL/day) or an isocaloric placebo drink during each training period. All subjects completed the same training program (total running distance: males: 86 km, females: 64 km), and ate the same meals during the training period. Whole body muscle soreness and fatigue sensation were measured in the morning before and during the training period by Visual Analogue Scale method. Plasma creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and granulocyte elastase (GEL) levels were measured as indicators of muscle damage and inflammation before and after the training period.
RESULTS: Muscle soreness and fatigue sensation during the training period in the BCAA trial were lower than those in the placebo trial (-32% and -24%, respectively; P<0.05). The plasma CK, LDH, and GEL levels after the training program in the BCAA trial were lower than those in the placebo trial (-21%, -6%, and -15%, respectively; P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that BCAA supplementation during an intensive training program effectively reduces the muscle soreness and fatigue sensation, and that the perceived changes could be attributed to the attenuation of muscle damage and inflammation.
PMID: 20087302 [PubMed - in process]
Last edited by anonymous1; 12-15-2010 at 08:09 PM.
This one seems well done, albiet on mice. This backs up my knowledge of ineffectiveness compared to simply consuming a high protein diet. ALL of the of the pro-BCAA studies I've found so far compare a carbohydrate/saline solution VS BCAA's while on a normal diet with no mention of protein intake. The study above at least had a isocaloric placebo.
Growth Horm IGF Res. 2009 Dec;19(6):478-85. Epub 2009 Apr 22.
Isocaloric high-protein diet as well as branched-chain amino acids supplemented diet partially alleviates adverse consequences of maternal undernutrition on fetal growth.
Mogami H, Yura S, Itoh H, Kawamura M, Fujii T, Suzuki A, Aoe S, Ogawa Y, Sagawa N, Konishi I, Fujii S.
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Kyoto University, Graduate School of Medicine, 54, Shogoin Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.
Maternal undernutrition causes fetal growth restriction. Protein is a vital dietary nutrient for fetal growth, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are noted to have anabolic actions. In this study, we investigated the effects of maternal high-protein diet or BCAA-supplemented diet upon fetal growth under the condition of maternal calorie restriction. Pregnant mice were calorie-restricted (undernutrition: UN), using either a standard diet (S-UN group), high-protein diet (HP-UN group), or BCAA-supplemented diet (BCAA-UN group) to 70% of the control; dams fed ad libitum with a standard diet (S-NN group) from 10.5days post coitum (dpc) to 18.5dpc. The fetal weights of UN groups were significantly decreased compared to that of S-NN. However, the fetal weights of HP-UN and BCAA-UN were significantly higher by 5% and 4%, respectively, than those of S-UN, concomitant with augmentation of the gene and protein expressions of IGF-I and IGF-II in fetal liver. A high-protein diet as well as BCAA-supplemented diet partially improved fetal growth restriction caused by maternal calorie-restriction, suggesting a pivotal role of them in the amelioration of fetal growth restriction.
PMID: 19395294 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Here's a good study. Doesn't prove anything but gives you an idea of how quickly the BCAA's are absorbed and when the peak concentration will be.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Jan;105(2):215-23. Epub 2008 Oct 21.
Effect of strength training session on plasma amino acid concentration following oral ingestion of leucine, BCAAs or glutamine in men.
Mero A, Leikas A, Knuutinen J, Hulmi JJ, Kovanen V.
Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland. email@example.com
We examined the acute effects of a 1-h strength training session (STS) on plasma amino acid concentration following orally ingestion of leucine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or glutamine in nine physically active men who participated in double-blinded and randomised experiments. The subjects took placebo, leucine, BCAAs, or glutamine capsules (50 mg/kg) in either rest (REST) or STS condition. Blood samples were taken before and at 30, 60, 90, and 120 min after the beginning of the treatment and they were assayed for plasma amino acids with HPLC. Following both leucine and BCAA ingestion the peak concentration of leucine was similar at rest (524 +/- 46 and 530 +/- 29 nmol/ml, respectively) and similar after STS (398 +/- 43 and 387 +/- 46 nmol/ml, respectively) but the rest and STS concentrations differed from each other (P < 0.01-0.001). The modelled polynomial data for the leucine treatment showed that the peak concentration of leucine occurred at 67 min at rest and at 90 min in STS (difference between REST and STS: P = 0.012). For the BCAA treatment the polynomial data showed that the peak concentration of leucine occurred at 72 min at rest and at 78 min in STS (P = 0.067). The peak concentration of glutamine was similar in both rest and STS condition and occurred at 60 min at rest and at 57 min in STS. In conclusion, 1-h of STS slows the increase in the peak concentration of plasma leucine similarly after oral ingestion of leucine or BCAAs but after oral ingestion of glutamine it has no slowing effect on glutamine concentration.
PMID: 19015870 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]