How Much BCAA Per Day For Boosted Benefits

Compact tube with BCAA boost

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are powerful nutrients responsible for supporting muscle protein synthesis. How much BCAA per day can affect how consumers reap benefits such as reduced muscle damage and improved performance during endurance exercise. 

Quick Look:

  • BCAAs are characterized by their chemical structure and functions that specialize in supporting muscle protein synthesis. 
  • How much BCAA per day can determine the quality of benefits associated with supplementation with studies examining the total intake—anywhere from 12-20 grams—recommendation per day of the amino acids. 
  • There are many benefits of BCAAs, including reduced fatigue, improved athletic performance, and decreased exercise-induced muscle soreness. 
  • The best determined ratio for BCAA supplementation is 2:1:1, which has been widely examined and studied through dedicated research. 

What Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

Branched-chain amino acids are three essential amino acids (EAAs) that consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. 

These specific amino acids are named after their unique chemical structure and are vital for maintaining a healthy body composition and overall health. They maximize muscle protein synthesis, boost muscle growth, and support muscle cells, making them popular supplements in sports nutrition.  

The Nine Essential Amino Acids:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine 

The Branched-Chain Amino Acids:

  • Leucine
  • Valine
  • Isoleucine 

How Much BCAA Per Day To Take

Focused man multitasking with laptop and pen on chart

When taking BCAAs, there is a recommended intake for promoting greater benefits such as maximizing fat loss, muscle protein synthesis, and muscle growth. The recommendations for how much BCAA per day to take range as research continues to study these amino acids and their health benefits. 

For example, one study observed 12 grams of BCAAs per day in trained cyclists to examine the improvements in performance and immunological aspects. Through the observations in the study, it was revealed that BCAAs improved performance and immune function. The study also verified that consistent BCAA supplementation provided more significant benefits

Another study provided subjects with either 20 grams of BCAAs or none at all to determine the ability of the amino acids to promote power for strength training. It was proved effective in promoting functional power and recovery in athletes

The Benefits of BCAAs

There are many noteworthy benefits of BCAAs. These powerful EAAs are vital for stimulating muscle protein synthesis to encourage muscle recovery and growth. Check out how BCAA supplements can boost your progress in and out of the gym! 

Improves Athletic Performance & Reduces Fatigue 

One of the benefits of BCAAs is its positive impact on energy and muscle growth.

A study used subjects who were long-distance runners and had to perform an incremental treadmill test. The subjects took 20 grams of oral BCAA supplements and then were evaluated on the effects of the amino acids on muscular and central fatigue during the incremental exercise. Results determined that BCAAs effectively improved performance and reduced delayed onset central fatigue. 

Key takeaway: The study’s research determined that taking BCAAs an hour before incremental exercise was most productive in delaying central fatigue for long-distance runners. 

Promotes Muscle Protein Synthesis

The ability of BCAAs to instigate muscle protein synthesis is one of the most crucial attributes of these amino acids. 

BCAA supplementation is frequently used by fitness enthusiasts looking to maintain or gain muscle mass through weight training.  All three EAAs, with an emphasis on leucine, are vital for stimulating molecular signaling that instigates muscle protein synthesis

Research has determined that one BCAA cannot produce a proper muscle protein synthesis response without the other two BCAAs. 

Key takeaway: All three BCAAs are necessary for muscle protein synthesis. Leucine is especially productive in promoting muscle protein synthesis, though leucine ingestion alone has yet to be researched to determine effectiveness without isoleucine and valine. 

Reduces Exercise Induced Muscle Soreness and Damage

Another widely appealing benefit of BCAA supplementation is the reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness

One study examined the anticatabolic properties of BCAAs in post-operative patients, who were also asked to take varying amounts of the amino acids. It discovered that BCAAs had a prominent anticatabolic effect that reduced protein catabolism and improved synthesis in the liver and muscle. It also revealed that of the three BCAAs, leucine and isoleucine had anticatabolic effects, whereas valine was revealed to most likely have none. 

Key takeaway: Of the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), leucine and isoleucine are the most proactive in their anticatabolic qualities to protect the muscles. 

Potential Risks & Side Effects

Like with any supplement or medication, there are potential risks and side effects associated with consuming BCAA supplements. Some people should not take BCAA supplements, such as individuals with maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), a rare metabolic disorder. 

Please consult with your doctor before beginning BCAA supplementation. 

Risks & side effects of BCAA supplementation: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination 

The Different Ratios of BCAA Supplements

Tiny scoop, powder, and instructions on paper

An important question is the difference between BCAA 3:1:2 vs. 2:1:1 and which ratio best encourages greater fat burning and other associated benefits. Each ratio offers a varying amount of grams of BCAAs, which can alter the results achieved through consuming these amino acids. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these BCAA ratios! 


The 2:1:1 BCAA supplement ratio supplies two times more leucine than isoleucine and valine. 

Many believe this is the go-to ideal ratio for BCAA supplements as it has been consistently backed by research to provide the most benefits for preventing muscle breakdown and supporting skeletal muscle tissue. This is the most frequently used ratio of BCAAs for these dietary supplements. 


Another popular ratio for BCAA supplements is 3:1:2 or sometimes 3:1:1. The first boosts more leucine and valine than the 2:1:1 ratio. Some believe this provides more significant benefits due to increased leucine, which stimulates protein synthesis

Some studies have examined the benefits of the 3:1:2 ratio, though more studies support the 2:1:1 ratio. 

Other Ratios for BCAAs Include:

  • 4:1:1 
  • 8:1:1 
  • 10:1:1 

The Best BCAA Ratio for Your Goals

From our research, the best BCAA ratio for your goals is the 2:1:1 ratio. It can boast the benefits of BCAAs by encouraging muscle strength for resistance training, enhancing physical performance for sports, promoting muscle gains, and reducing fatigue. 

BCAAs can be a great addition to a post-workout protein shake for added benefits to your fitness routine and progress, such as less muscle soreness and improved muscle endurance to hit your goals. 

We actually tested out a bunch of the best BCAA powders on the market for safety, effectiveness(the right 2:1:1 ratio), certifications, taste and mixability so that you can make the right choice when the time is right!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you look for in a BCAA supplement?

When looking for the right BCAA supplements for you and your goals, it’s essential to look for a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. This is considered the best amount for promoting and speeding up the rate of muscle protein synthesis due to the believed physiological potency of leucine compared to isoleucine and valine. 

Is 5 grams of BCAA enough?

Fitness enthusiasts typically take 5-20 grams of BCAA supplement daily to support muscle protein synthesis and lean muscle mass. Supplements usually set dosages at 5 grams and can be taken throughout the day to support your unique fitness goals. More active individuals will require larger amounts of BCAAs to support muscle protein synthesis. 

What is the optimal amount of BCAA?

There is a recommended daily intake of BCAAs to support muscle protein synthesis and its functions in muscle growth and recovery. A BCAA supplement can be productive for individuals who do not eat a well-balanced nutritional diet containing complete proteins. 

The recommended requirement for healthy adults set by the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and United Nations University is 85 mg/kg−1 d−16 (leucine: 39 mg/kg−1 d−1; isoleucine: 20 mg/kg−1 d−1; valine: 26 mg/kg−1 d−1).

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

Learn More About Kaelyn

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach


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