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Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are one of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry, often promoted as a supplement that can reduce muscle soreness1. While the research is mixed on whether or not you need BCAAs if you’re eating plenty of protein, what’s clear is that if you are going to use them, you should always look for a high-quality, well-formulated product. 

That’s where Nutricost comes in, a company known for clinical dosing, transparent labeling, third-party testing, and affordable pricing. The company doesn’t rely on flashy marketing and bold claims to sell its formulas; it simply makes honest products you can trust. 

In this Nutricost BCAA review, you’ll find out exactly what our tester thought after a week of testing, and why this supplement earned a spot in our guide to the best BCAA supplements.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

Thorough Testing by Nutrition Experts

Here at GGR, every review we publish is based on extensive hands-on testing and personal experience. Our testers include certified nutrition coaches, registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, gym owners, and more. In addition to product testing experience, many of us have years of experience using supplements in our own fitness journeys. 

Our team has tested 19 different BCAA supplements, along with hundreds of different protein powders, pre-workouts, and other supplements. Whenever we review a new formula, we rate it using our dietary supplement testing methodology, which looks at specific aspects of a given product, like:

  • Price per serving
  • Formulation
  • Taste and solubility
  • Side effects

Nutricost BCAA Powder

Nutricost BCAA Powder

GGR Score: 4.41 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Under $1 per serving
  • Research-backed doses of BCAAS to help with lean muscle mass
  • 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 serving options
  • Nine flavor options, including unflavored

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Less than $1 per serving
  • Clinically-recommended dose of BCAAs
  • Nine flavors, including unflavored
  • Multiple serving options
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Customers say some flavors are bitter

Bottom Line

Nutricost BCAA powder is the most affordable BCAA supplement that also provides research-backed doses of BCAAs to help with building and preserving lean muscle mass.

A Quick Look at Nutricost BCAA Powder

Nutricost, a USA-based supplement company, is known for creating affordable, high-quality products that won’t break the bank. While many companies use eye-catching labels, flavors, and often exaggerated claims to market their products, Nutricost prioritizes quality and accessibility over all else, making the products as affordable as possible. 

All of Nutricost’s supplements are produced in NSF-certified, GMP-compliant, FDA-registered facilities to ensure clean manufacturing processes. The company claims that all products are third-party tested, although it’s not disclosed who’s doing the testing. Still, we always love seeing great manufacturing processes and label transparency with the clinical dosing of most ingredients. 

This review focuses on Nutricost’s BCAA powder. BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. Nutricost’s formula provides the optimum blend of the three BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) in each scoop. While most current research2 shows that BCAAs aren’t very effective if you’re already consuming plenty of protein, which is naturally rich in amino acids, those who struggle to hit their protein goals may still benefit from additional supplementation.

Nutricost BCAA Powder on a counter.

RELATED: What Are BCAAs?

Before You Buy

  • Prices fluctuate on Amazon, but the average cost per serving of the unflavored variety is about $0.27, the most affordable BCAA supplement we’ve tested so far.
  • There are 9 other flavors available in addition to the unflavored version.
  • Nutricost uses the recommended 2:1:1 ratio, and each scoop contains 3 grams of leucine, 1.5 grams of isoleucine, and 1.5 grams of valine.

Is Nutricost BCAA Powder Worth It?

While many debate whether BCAAs are worth your money, let’s focus on this specific product, considering the cost, formulation, and flavors. For many, this is a great choice for BCAAs, though personal tastes and preferences come into play. 

Great for:

  • Those looking to add BCAAs to an existing beverage or supplement
  • People who don’t mind using an unflavored product
  • Anyone who wants a third-party tested, GMP-certified BCAA powder

Not recommended for:

  • Anyone looking for a flavored BCAA (the flavored editions cost more than many other brands)
  • People following a high-protein diet
  • Those looking for electrolytes, creatine, or other additives in their BCAAs

Nutricost BCAA Powder Specs

Price per serving$0.27-$0.60 depending on the flavor
Serving size1 scoop (6 g for unflavored, 11 g for flavored)
BCAAs per serving6 g
L-Leucine dosage3 g
L-Isoleucine dosage1.5 g
L-Valine dosage1.5 g
Other key ingredients Flavored varieties contain: natural flavors, malic acid, citric acid, sucralose, beetroot powder, silicon dioxide.
Calories per serving5
SweetenersSucralose (none in the unflavored version)
Third-party tested?Yes

Experience Using Nutricost BCAA Powder

GGR’s Senior Director of Content, Kate Meier, a certified personal trainer and weightlifting coach, tested Nutricost’s BCAA powder for this review. Kate tested the unflavored edition, drinking it before and during three different workouts over the course of a week. 

An image of mixing Nutricost BCAA powder

Kate tried it with plain water once but opted to mix it with her pre-workout beverage the other times, saying that the unflavored version isn’t the most pleasant thing to drink by itself. 

Overall, she was impressed with both the solubility and flavor, especially when the BCAAs are mixed into something else, which we’d assume most users will do with an unflavored supplement. Kate regularly consumes plenty of dietary protein, so she didn’t notice any effects but still thought this was a great source of aminos for those looking to boost their intake.

RELATED: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Price Per Serving

For the price per serving, Nutricost Unflavored BCAAs earn a 5-out-of-5 star rating. The price may fluctuate, but at the time of writing, a 90-serving container of unflavored BCAAs costs $23.95 on Amazon, and $31.95 on Nutricost’s website.

If we go with the cheaper option, this brings the total price per serving down to $0.27, making this the most affordable BCAA we’ve tested so far. 

A scoop of Nutricost BCAA Powder rests in front of the container and a freshly mixed serving.

However, if you choose one of the flavored options, you’ll pay more. The same 90-serving tub in one of the eight available flavors costs $53.95 on Nutricost and $39.95 on Amazon, which makes the Amazon price $0.44 per serving. 

This is still pretty affordable, though cheaper options are available. Based on our testing methodology, the flavored BCAAs earn a 4 out of 5. 

Formulation

With BCAAs, we want to see the best ratio for BCAAs, which is 2:1:1 with two parts leucine and one part of both isoleucine and valine, the optimal ratio according to research3. This is the exact ratio that Nutricost uses, and with a full 6 grams in each scoop, we give the formulation a 5-out-of-5 rating. 

The unflavored edition contains no other additives, and the 6-gram scoop contains 6 grams of amino acids. However, the flavored editions contain 11 grams per scoop with 6 grams of amino acids along with natural flavors, malic acid, citric acid, sucralose, beetroot powder, and silicon dioxide.

Supplement Facts label on a canister of Nutricost BCAA Powder.

All varieties are gluten-free, non-GMO formulas made with vegetarian ingredients.

If you’re looking to avoid artificial sweeteners, you’ll want to choose the unflavored variety or look for a different brand that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners in its flavored BCAAs. 

Taste and Solubility 

Both taste and solubility earn 5-out-of-5 ratings from Kate, although we haven’t tested any of the flavored options. 

Kate said, “The unflavored option isn’t truly, completely unflavored; it has somewhat of a taste that’s hard to describe. It isn’t unpleasant, but it’s not something I looked forward to. If you get unflavored, it’s better to mix it in with a sports drink or pre-workout, because it’s a little earthy. However, when you mix it in with something else, you can’t pick up on that taste at all, so for that reason, I’d still give it a 5/5 because it mixes so well with other drinks.” 

Solubility of Nutricost BCAA Powder.

She also noted that the instantized amino acids mix very well in plain water, even when using a spoon and glass instead of a shaker cup, with no noticeable granularity.

Nutricost BCAA powder also comes in Watermelon, Grape, Green Apple, Pineapple, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, Mixed Berry, and Orange Mango.

Side Effects

Kate didn’t experience any side effects and gave this product a 5-out-of-5 rating. 

The unflavored edition doesn’t contain any additional ingredients besides the amino acids, so it’s hard to imagine anyone having issues with this product. However, those sensitive to sucralose may wish to avoid the flavored versions. 

RELATED: Are BCAA Worth It?

Third-Party Testing 

Nutricost third-party tests all products through independent, ISO-accredited laboratories, but it’s not disclosed which specific company is doing the testing.

We usually like to see third-party testing from an accredited organization like NSF, Informed Choice/Sport, or Banned Substance Control Group. However, we like that Nutricost does any testing at all, as well as the transparent labels and GMP-compliant manufacturing.

We gave Nutricost BCAAs a 3-out-of-5 score for third-party testing.

Nutricost BCAA Powder vs Naked BCAAs 

Naked Nutrition BCAAs

Naked Nutrition BCAAs

GGR Score: 4.45 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Free from any artificial additives 
  • Formulated with pharmaceutical-grade BCAAs
  • Quickly dissolves and absorbed 
  • Vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO
  • Incredible price point at $0.35 a serving
  • Key ingredients are just pure BCAAs with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Only ingredients are pure BCAAs
  • Vegan
  • Serving size is just one teaspoon
  • 100 servings per container
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Smells bad
  • Taste is bitter

Bottom Line

Naked Nutrition BCAAs are the highest-grade amino acids and free from any additives but the taste leaves much to be desired.

If you want unflavored, pure BCAAs but aren’t sold on Nutricost, Naked BCAAs are another great choice. 

Similar to Nutricost, Naked uses the proven 2:1:1 ratio but contains only 5 grams of BCAAs rather than 6. Naked also added sunflower lecithin to its unflavored BCAAs, which is meant to help with mixability. 

RELATED: BCAA Benefits

While both products are very similar, we’d still suggest Nutricost, as it contains a slightly higher amount of BCAAs per serving for a lower price point.

To read more, be sure to check out our complete Naked BCAAs review.

Nutricost BCAA PowderNaked BCAAs
Price per serving$0.27-$60, depending on the flavor$0.35
Serving size1 scoop (6 g for unflavored, 11 g for flavored)1 scoop (5 g)
BCAAs per serving6 g5 g
L-Leucine dosage3 g2.5 g
L-Isoleucine dosage1.5 g1.25 g
L-Valine dosage1.5 g1.25 g
Other key ingredients Flavored varieties contain: natural flavors, malic acid, citric acid, sucralose, beetroot powder, silicon dioxide.Sunflower lecithin
Calories per serving520
SweetenersSucralose (none in the unflavored version)None
Third-party tested?YesYes

Customer Experience 

The customer experience earns a 5-out-of-5 rating from Kate. 

Customer service can be reached via phone or email, and you have a full 60-day money-back guarantee to try the product and return it if you’re not happy. However, you’ll need to cover your own return shipping unless you paid an extra $2.97 at checkout to secure free returns if needed.

Ordering Nutricost BCAA Powder

Ordering Nutricost BCAA Powder is simple. Nutricost offers free shipping on orders over $50, and you can pay a small fee of $2.97 at checkout (prices may vary) to receive free priority returns if you’re unhappy with your purchase. 

Most Nutricost products are also sold on Amazon and are usually available at a lower price with free Prime shipping. 

Customer Reviews

Nutricost BCAAs has positive customer ratings across the board, with an average rating of 4 out of 5 based on 500 reviews on the company website and a 4.3 out of 5 rating on Amazon with 2,830 reviews. 

Most reviewers love the flavors. Some mention that the unflavored variety still has a bit of an aftertaste, which Kate also found, and is best mixed with other ingredients. 

Final Verdict of Our Nutricost BCAA Review

If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality BCAA supplement, it’s hard to beat Nutricost BCAA Powder, especially the unflavored edition. 

Those already consuming plenty of protein are unlikely to notice any effects, but if you struggle with protein and enjoy using BCAAs, this is the most affordable source we’ve tested so far. 

  • Each serving contains 6 grams of BCAAs in the optimal 2:1:1 ratio.
  • The unflavored version is very affordable, though the flavored options cost a little more.
  • Nutricost uses transparent labeling, GMP-compliant manufacturing, and third-party testing on its products.

Full Rating

Nutricost BCAA Powder

Nutricost BCAA powder is the most affordable BCAA supplement that also provides research-backed doses of BCAAs to help with building and preserving lean muscle mass.

Product Brand: BCAA Powder

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 23.95

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.41

Nutricost BCAA Powder Rating

Price per serving – 5
Formulation – 5
Taste – 5
Solubility – 4
Side effects – 4
Third-party testing – 3
Customer service – 5
Customer reviews – 4.3
Buy Now

Nutricost BCAA Powder: FAQs

Are BCAA powders good for you?

If you consume adequate protein each day, BCAAs may not be effective, as you’re already getting plenty from other protein sources. However, if you struggle with protein intake, BCAA supplements may improve muscle growth and recovery after intense exercise.

What is the best brand of BCAA powder?

The best BCAA powder will depend on your goals and preferences. We suggest looking for good manufacturing processes and third-party testing, as well as checking the product details to make sure the BCAAs are in the recommended 2:1:1 ratio. 

Here are our picks for the best BCAAs in 2024:

-Best BCAA Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine 
-Best BCAA Supplement With Carbs: XWERKS Motion
-Best BCAA Supplement for Endurance: Transparent Labs Intra Workout
-Best Budget BCAAs: Nutricost BCAA Powder
-Best BCAA Supplement for Recovery: 1st Phorm BCAAs
-Best-Tasting BCAAs: Alani Nu BCAA
-Best BCAA Pills: Pure Encapsulations BCAA Capsules
-Best Pre-Workout BCAAs: Evlution Nutrition BCAA Lean Energy 
-Best Vegan BCAA Supplement: Naked BCAAs
-Best BCAA Supplement for Muscle-Building: Huge EAAs
-Best Unflavored BCAA Supplement: Kaged Muscle BCAA

Is BCAA better than creatine?

BCAAs and creatine serve two different purposes. BCAAs support recovery, and creatine can help with recovery as well, but it primarily supports energy production and strength gains. Both can be useful depending on your goals and training style, so it’s hard to say one is better than the other. 

Is there anything better than BCAA?

BCAAs provide three of the essential amino acids, but there are nine essential amino acids, and twenty altogether. While BCAAs may provide some benefit, research shows that all nine essential amino acids are required to build new muscle4, not just the three BCAAs.

A comprehensive essential amino acid (EAA) supplement would likely provide better results than BCAAs alone. The easiest option may be to simply use something like whey protein post-workout, which naturally contains all of the amino acids, including plenty of BCAAs.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Doma, K., Singh, U., Boullosa, D., & Connor, J. D. (2021). The effect of branched-chain amino acid on muscle damage markers and performance following strenuous exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 46(11), 1303–1313. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2021-0110
  2. Plotkin, D. L., Delcastillo, K., Van Every, D. W., Tipton, K. D., Aragon, A. A., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2021). Isolated Leucine and Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation for Enhancing Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 31(3), 292-301. Retrieved Jun 4, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0356
  3. Arroyo-Cerezo, A., Cerrillo, I., Ortega, Á., & Fernández-Pachón, M. S. (2021). Intake of branched chain amino acids favors post-exercise muscle recovery and may improve muscle function: optimal dosage regimens and consumption conditions. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 61(11), 1478–1489. https://doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.21.11843-2
  4. Wolfe R. R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9

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