7 Best BCAAs for Intermittent Fasting

8 min read

The key to a successful Intermittent Fasting journey is to prevent muscle breakdown and reduce muscle soreness. This will help you achieve the goals you’re striving for. With so many different BCAAs available on the market, it’s hard to decide which one you should buy. I want to show you the best BCAA products for Intermittent Fasting that I’ve personally used over the years, as well as some that I’m planning to buy next. To summarize it, here is a quick comparison table:

NameBCAAs per scoopServingsFlavorsBreak Fast?SweetenersArtificial colors
Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules2 pills = 1g4002YesSucraloseYes
MusclePharm Essentials BCAA Powder8.6g604NoSucraloseNo
NutraKey BCAA Optima14.5g155NoSucraloseYes
Sascha Fitness BCAAs14g256YesSteviaNo
Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA Powder5g304NoSucralose, poydextroseYes
XTEND Original BC AA Powder7g3015NoSucraloseYes
Alani Nu BCAA8.1g303NoSucraloseYes

What are BCAA Supplements exactly?

BCAAs contain three of the nine amino acids, which are considered to be essential. Amino acids make up the thousands of different proteins in your body. They are considered to be important because your body is not able to produce them on its own. The only way to get them is through food and supplements. Foods that have them are protein-rich ones, for example, meat, eggs, or dairy products.

BCAAs can build blocks of protein, which pretty much help preserve muscle glycogen stores, which will then fuel your muscles and minimize your protein breakdown while working out.

BCAAs are usually produced in powder form but they are also available in pills. The big advantage of pills is, that you don’t experience any bad tastes.


What benefits does BCAA have on intermittent fasting?

If you like to workout in a fasted state, intermittent fasting and BCAAs are a perfect fit. According to this study, working out during a fasted state can make your body burn up to 20% more fat. But there are also other benefits associated with intermittent fasting.


It prevents muscle breakdown and reduces muscle soreness

BCAAs can be consumed before working out in a fasted state. This is actually recommended by the inventor of intermittent fasting, Martin Bekham. According to his workout protocols, he recommends taking BCAA 5-15 minutes pre-workout. I’ve listed the protocols of Bekham here.

Consuming no calories before, during, or after a workout might be possible, but not very effective. By working out on an empty stomach you might force your body to burn fat – but it will also burn lean mass, which includes muscle mass. That’s where BCAAs can help. If you plan to do an intense workout, you should take in 10g of BCAA 5.15 minutes pre-workout. By doing so, you will halt the muscle breakdown or slow it down.

There are multiple studies that support this. The latest was published in  2007.


Helps to reduce fatigue

Feeling tired and lazy is a common side effect of intermittent fasting. When we’re experiencing fatigue during fasting, it is usually caused by the low glycogen level that we have.

Also, at some point, you will get exhausted by exercising regularly. When this happens exactly is determined by multiple factors, like the intensity of your exercise, the duration, or the nutrition that you’re consuming.

BCAA can help with that. Your muscles will use BCAAs while exercising, which will decrease your blood levels. When that happens, your amino acid tryptophan (essential levels in your brain) will increase. There are two studies that back this up, one was done in 2008, and the other in 2011.


Fuels the immune system

According to this study, BCAAs are essential for our immune system. Researchers have found, that your gut can use the amino acids from BCAAs as a fuel source. This effect results in the immune system regenerating itself more efficiently. Through this, you’ll get a stronger immune system, which implies in case you’re wiped out, stressed, or recovering from a medical procedure, BCAAs can assist you with warding off sickness. Enhancing with BCAAs likewise causes you to dispose of some infections and illnesses.


Improves conditions of liver diseases

A study implies that when used properly, BCAA can have a positive effect in regard to liver diseases. There have been some promising therapeutics in the treatment of cancer diseases. In addition to that, BCAA in form of leucine, isoleucine, and valine had an inhibitory effect on the proliferation of liver cancer cells.

But you should be careful. In a test done with rats, irresponsible and excessive use of BCAA lead to serious side effects, like dangerous metabolic disorders and liver damage.

In conclusion, you can say that the use of BCAA in patients with liver diseases could be a good treatment – but further studies are needed to give a proper recommendation. Until then, the application of BCAAs for people with liver diseases should always be performed very carefully.


Will BCAA break a fast?

If you’ve read other posts related to supplements breaking your fast, for example, “Does Stevia break a fast?” you already know, that everything that is not calorie-free will break your fast. Since BCAAs contain calories, you’re technically breaking your fast.

But your morning coffee with milk will also break a fast – yet it is not considered to be bad. What you’ll basically end up doing is Dirty Fasting. (What is Dirty Fasting?) This means you won’t break your fast in a way that all the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting get reduced. If your ultimate goal is to burn fat and lose weight (maybe without losing muscle mass) through calorie restriction, BCAAs will outweigh any of the cons associated with breaking the fast.


Are BCAAs healthy?

As with every supplement, you might ask yourself how safe BCAAs are. Generally speaking, if you follow the manufactures instructions (which are fairly simple in most cases) you should be good. Always make sure that you don’t exceed the maximum allowed dosage of the supplement. If you do, you could experience some unpleasant side effects. In case you do experience some heavy side effects, you should immediately visit your doctor.

BCAAs are acids that your body can’t produce on its own. Since they are essential, your body needs to consume them either through your diet, your meals, or supplements. Consuming them through supplements is the best way to go if you’re intermittent fasting, considering you’re taking in some high-quality products, which were well proven over the years.

Top 10 Best BCAA Products

With so many BCAA products available on the web, I wanted to break down some of the best. While I couldn’t try all of them (yet), I researched different reviews to put the list together.


Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules (recommended)


  • 2 pills are 1g of BCAA
  • Mixes well
  • Easy to swallow
  • Amazon’s Choice


  • Only 2 different flavors
  • The Unflavored version tastes horrible (you need to get a flavored one or mix it well)





MusclePharm Essentials BCAA Powder


  • 8.6g per scoop
  • Mixes easily with water
  • Does not break a fast (zero calories)
  • Amazon’s Choice for women


  • Taste is OK – not horrible, but also not amazing.




Nutrakey BCAA

Nutrakey BCAA


  • 14.5g per scoop
  • Does not break a fast (zero calories)
  • 15 different flavors


  • Sweetened with sucralose



Sascha Fitness BCAA


  • 14g BCAA per serving
  • 6 different flavors


  • Breaks a fast
  • Only 25 servings, since scoops are pretty big




Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA Powder


  • 5g BCAAs per serving
  • Does not break a fast (zero calories)


  • Might be too sweet for some people




Alani Nu BCAA

Alani Nu BCAA


  • 8.1g per scoop
  • Does not break a fast (zero calories)


  • Only 30 servings per container
  • Only 3 different flavors
  • No unflavored variant
  • A little bit pricey, but probably higher quality


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