If you’ve ever tried shopping for branched chain amino acids, you’ll notice how two different brands give two different recommendations on BCAA dosages.
One might suggest two servings per day of 5 grams while another recommends three servings of a 10-gram serving.
What’s the real recommendation? How much BCAAs should you take per day?
The amount of BCAAs you take each day will depend on your activity level, fitness goals, and whether you’re a man or a woman.
Let’s breakdown the best BCAA dosage and when to take BCAAs.
BCAAs and Your Activity Level
Depending on how active you are will determine how many servings of BCAAs you should be taking each day.
Let’s assume you’re using a standard BCAA supplement with a serving of five grams.
- If you are a fairly active person – someone who exercises 2 to 3 days per week – then one serving before your workout and a second serving at some other point in the day will be enough.
- If you are a very active person, you’ll want to add a third serving to your day, preferably before bed as a low-calorie way to support protein synthesis.
- If you are extremely active – someone who exercises and has a physically-demanding job – then I’d suggest using four servings per day. Be sure to spread them out from morning until night, using one serving before and another serving during the most physically-active part of the day.
BCAAs and Your Fitness Goals
Fitness goals will also help to determine your daily BCAA dosage.
What do you want to use BCAAs for?
Someone who is focused on muscle mass will require more BCAAs than someone who wants to simply maintain an achieved fitness goal.
Continuing with the same 5-gram serving for the example above:
- If you want to build muscle mass, you’ll want to use two to four servings per day of BCAAs. This will depend on your workout program and how active you are. The more active you are, the tougher your workout, the more you’ll want to use.
- If you want to lose weight, using one or two servings of BCAAs will suffice. However, if you are performing fasted training, you may want to consider a third serving to protect your lean muscle tissue from breakdown.
- If you’re happy with your current weight and muscle mass, then one serving per day, usually before a workout, will be enough.
BCAAs for Men and Women
In general, women require less BCAAs than men to achieve their fitness goals.
On average, women will use between 5 to 10 grams of BCAAs per day (one to two servings) whereas men can consume between 10 to 20 grams of BCAAs per day (two to four servings).
Again, this is on average and not a universal rule.
For example, if you compare an athletic female sprinter to a weekend-warrior male with a desk job, the woman will clearly require much more BCAAs.
When you want to determine how much BCAAs you should be using, consider your activity level, goals, and gender.
Just as important, be sure to read the BCAA label as not all branched-chain amino acid supplements are created equal.
Do not to exceed 20 grams of BCAAs via supplements per day.
Foods with BCAAs are safe to consume along with your supplement.