BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are a popular supplement these days and you’ll see funky-coloured drinks in the gym bags of athletes and bodybuilders all over the world.
However, what are these for, what do they do, and what can you do with them?
Today, we’re going to discuss these questions and review one such supplement, Performance Lab SPORT BCAA, and see why it makes it onto our pick of the best BCAA supplements on sale right now.
Product website: www.performancelab.com
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Performance Lab SPORT BCAA – The Basics
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acid. These are a sub-group of essential amino acids. These are the amino acids that your body cannot produce by itself and, thus, must be taken in through diet. They’re found in foods such as eggs.
The supplementation of these essential, branched-chain amino acids is popular primarily because of the role of BCAAs in the body.
Supplementation could help to support your fitness goals, particularly when combatting exercise-induced fatigue and the recovery of muscular tissue.
RELATED: The three best BCAA supplements
The claims surrounding BCAAs aren’t considered to be “proven” yet, but there is no doubting their popularity among athletes at all levels of their game.
The Performance Lab SPORT BCAA supplement comes in capsule form. This means you’re not going to need to deal with fiddly powders or carry a bag of powder with you during the day and provides increased convenience.
These supplements aren’t magic pills – they don’t make up for poor diet – and they can be found in foods.
However, if you think a BCAA supplement is appropriate for your fitness goals, you should read on for our discussion of Performance Lab’s BCAA supplement – currently our favourite on the market.
Let’s begin this important section by looking at the actual ingredients label of Performance Lab SPORT BCAA as shown on the bottle.
There are three BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. These are, naturally, the ingredients you’re going to find in a BCAA supplement – but the ratio matters.
In the body, we find these compounds in a 2:1:1 ratio, with leucine the biggest component (and often considered the most useful BCAA).
This 2:1:1 ratio is also reproduced in the Performance Lab BCAA supplement, with 3g per serving of total BCAAs.
These ingredients are found in the following amounts:
• Leucine: 1500mg
• Isoleucine: 750mg
• Valine: 750mg
These BCAAs are not just produced in a nature-mimicking ratio but are made from sunflowers. Performance Lab claim this makes for the most natural and bioavailable form of BCAA.
Naturally, if you’re looking to supplement BCAAs more heavily, you can use more than one serving. You can find the specific table of ingredients for the SPORT BCAA supplement above.
As you can see, this is a product that uses a Plantcaps® system. This is a type of capsule system that uses plant-based compounds, rather than gelatine. This makes them entirely vegan-friendly and thus suitable for any type of dietary need/commitment.
We don’t think there’s anything missing, but there is a clear focus on the basics. The ingredient list of this product is almost entirely “just BCAAs”.
There are two ways to look at this: as a lack of complimentary ingredients, or as a supplement that does what it says.
The reality is that this is a BCAA supplement and, sadly, there are no real synergists to BCAAs. There are no common compounds that, when combined with BCAAs, make them significantly more effective.
Given the total lack of proprietary blends and hidden ingredients in Performance Lab’s products, we think this is a good thing. If you wanted a capsule that had a bunch of other products, you’d go for a pre-workout supplement, for example.
This is a BCAA supplement – it contains BCAAs. It doesn’t need to do anything else!
A quick word about when to take Performance Lab SPORT BCAA: These compounds are appropriate for any time surrounding a workout. They’re commonly included in a pre-workout supplement to support amino acid balance during workouts, can be taken during a workout for this same purpose, and after a workout to support amino acid availability (supposedly beneficial for recovery).
We do recommend taking this product with a lot of water. The intake of amino acids is always better when combined with effective hydration.
You can also take this compound with a workout hydration drink, whether that includes pre workout supplements or anything else. The intention is to make it an effective habit and ensure that proper hydration is paired with BCAA supplementation.
On top of improving the effectiveness/absorption of these compounds, it is useful to reduce the risk of side-effects, especially digestive discomfort. This means better results and a better experience throughout.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA Reviews
The Performance Lab range is only sold via the official website, so you won’t find it sold on Amazon, for instance.
That makes it difficult to find customer reviews, which is a bit of a shame.
That said, reviews of the SPORT BCAA on independent review websites and health / fitness websites are mostly very positive.
What About Side Effects?
There are few health concerns associated with BCAA supplementation. Unless you have an existing medical concern or your overall diet has concerns, you’re not likely to run into any side-effects from BCAA supplements.
There are some possible negative side-effects from huge doses (e.g. 10g + in a single serving), including acute fatigue or poor co-ordination. However, you really shouldn’t be taking 10g of pure BCAA all at once – that’s just excessive.
As mentioned above, you can also raise some concerns if you’re taking capsules on an empty stomach without proper hydration. Digestive discomfort is very much about how you respond to a product but ensuring proper hydration is key to reducing discomfort risks.
However, as with any course of supplementation, we recommend talking to your appointed medical professional first. Your doctor knows your medical needs and we do not – if you are concerned about your health and any possible complications, be safe and ask a professional.
Anything Else to Consider?
One of the things that we love about this product is the “clean label” approach that Performance Lab takes with all their products.
This is about providing customers with a reliable, trustworthy product. This means a vegan-friendly, GMO/soy-free product without proprietary blends or hidden ingredients. These provide the peace of mind that you’re getting what it says on the label.
Performance Lab, as a range from Opti-Nutra, also benefits from an FDA-certified good manufacturing practices (GMP) lab. This means that the production process is controlled and performed in-line with FDA regulations and you’re not getting any shady backroom supplements.
Is This the Best Supplement for Me?
As with any supplement, it’s only possible to say if this supplement is the best for your goals. We can’t tell you what you should be taking because we don’t know you and your goals.
However, this is a type of supplement that is suitable for anyone. Its popularity is linked to the belief that amino acid availability is a significant factor in helping to support your goals.
The quality of the product and the manufacturer both provide a significant benefit to your peace of mind.
The high-quality, principled approach to producing supplements makes for a great choice, while the nature-identical ingredients and clean label approach produce a great overall product.
RELATED: The three best BCAA supplements
Review Conclusion – Final Thoughts
Overall, we’re big fans of a BCAA product that is thoughtfully formulated and produced. This is exactly what the Performance Lab SPORT BCAA provides, and it’s why it takes our favourite BCAA supplement title.
The things we’ve discussed that make Performance Lab’s BCAA a great supplement also show what to look for on the market. If it’s not doing these things, then it’s not a great BCAA supplement. Quality like this sets the standard for what you should expect and demand of a supplement.
If you’re looking for a BCAA supplement, this is a great choice, and may support your athletic and fitness goals.
For more information and to buy now: www.performancelab.com