Finding Vegan BCAA and Avoiding ‘Hairy’ Sources
Going vegan and losing weight is easy. But gaining muscle mass on a plant-based diet is a different story.
There are many plants, like legumes, which are good protein sources of BCAA. But it’s hard to reach the recommended daily intake by consuming plant protein sources.
A cup of baked beans, for example, amounts to a gram of BCAA. For those who need to consume 5-10 grams of BCAA per day, this equates to eating 5-10 cups of beans.
Luckily, modern science and nutrition have given us the gift of supplementation.
Supplements have evened the playing field for vegan bodybuilders and their non-vegan counterparts. Now, both are able to meet their required level of BCAA simply by taking a pill, adding a formula to their shake or whatever form of BCAA supplement they choose.
What is BCAA?
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids. If you look around the internet, you might find some articles claiming BCAA is the building block of muscles. That’s because around 35% of the body’s muscle protein is BCAA. This chain of acids has leucine, isoleucine and valine, the three of the nine essential amino acids that help build, grow and repair muscle tissue.
Unfortunately, the body cannot generate its own BCAA. That’s why we have to consume food containing these amino acids or turn to supplements.
Through taking BCAA supplements, those who want to build muscles experience the benefits of BCAA, such as:
BCAA supplements help reduce tiredness and increase energy for workouts. They inhibit the production of serotonin, which increases the body’s perception of fatigue. With more energy and reduced tiredness, individuals can work out harder and longer.
Reduced muscle soreness
Sore muscles affect everyday movement and workout performance in the following days. With reduced muscle soreness, individuals are able to recover faster after a good workout and push themselves to exercise in the subsequent days.
Increased fat loss
BCAA supplements can also help in losing body fat. BCAA lowers serotonin, thus reducing your cravings. And since BCAA boosts workouts, users enjoy improved metabolism from frequent aerobic exercises.
There are still more benefits to taking BCAA. Different studies reveal that BCAA has a link to good sleep, liver health, kidneys, to name a few. Not all BCAA supplements, however, are vegan.
In fact, many sources of BCAA are not too appealing – even borderline disgusting.
The Hairy Truth
The non-vegan variety of BCAA supplements are sourced from Keratin. For traditional BCAA supplement manufacturers, the richest and cheapest sources of Keratin are duck and bird feathers and pig and human hair.
The raw sources are processed well to separate the amino acids from the dead tissues, but of course, this practice simply doesn’t meet vegan requirements. With the charade of brands claiming that they offer vegan BCAA supplements, it’s important to be vigilant with our nutrition sources.
So how do you find truly vegan BCAA sources?
There’s a bit of research and double-checking involved, but it is possible to find completely animal-product-free BCAA sources.
Finding Quality Vegan BCAA Supplements
The two main things you have to determine are the essential amino acids ratio and the ingredients.
Check if the product has the optimal ratio of leucine, isoleucine and valine, which is 2:1:1.
Avoid products that contain gelatin as this usually has connective tissue from cows and pigs. Also, avoid products that have glyceryl monostearate. It’s likely to be made from animal fat unless the ingredients list clearly states it has the vegetable variant.
You also have to dig around to determine a product’s source of BCAA. For vegans, there are supplements derived from fermented corn.
Many brands add ingredients like coconut water or flavouring to make the supplement more mixable or palatable. But the rule of thumb is: the shorter the ingredient list, the better. This lessens the chances of animal-derived ingredients from sneaking into your body. Plus, the short ingredients list is healthier for your body.
The safest way to find truly vegan BCAA supplements is to look for products that say “vegan” or “plant-based” on the label. This eliminates all risks and ensures that you are buying from a company that understands and respects your vegan lifestyle.
Supporting Vegan Life
At StrongDuck, we support vegan bodybuilding and fitness community members. We have a StrongDuck Vegan Life range that caters for their needs.
To date, our range includes the Natural Lean Muscle Fuel, Natural Pre-workout Power, Natural Pea Isolate Protein, Natural Lean Complete and Red 1.
For vegans looking for truly plant-based BCAA supplements, we offer the Natural Lean Complete.
The Natural Lean Complete is filled with nature’s goodness and is an all-in-one fat loss, pre-workout and well-being supplement. We dedicated we can’t stop with BCAA and added ingredients with antioxidant properties such as acai berry extract and green tea extract, and the metabolism-boosting amino acid L-carnitine.
Start with adding a scoop into 250mL of cold water and use as part of a controlled diet for best results.
For more targeted supplements, you can explore our vegan range:
Natural Lean Muscle Fuel
Fortified with Creatine Monohydrate and derived from pea and soy isolates. Flavours available are dark cocoa powder and grape skin, creating a delicious gourmet milkshake.
Natural Pre-workout Power
Contains Creatine Monohydrate, Taurine, Alpha-Keto-Glutarate, Beta-Alanine and Caffeine. It provides a boost of power, concentration and strength and is best consumed 20 minutes before a workout.
Natural Pea Isolate Protein
Derived from Yellow Split Pease and has 36g of protein in every serving. Helps build muscles, balance blood sugar levels, repair cells, boost immunity and absolutely tastes great.
Contains L-Carnitine, Green Tea Extract, Bitter Orange and other high strength ingredients to help your body burn more calories. The ingredients work together to boost your metabolism and curb your appetite.
Not Just for Vegans
Of course, all this goodness is not just for vegans. If you need something dairy-free or want a supplement not derived from animal hair or feathers – we’ve got you covered.
At StrongDuck, we’re not in this to sell false hopes in exchange for money. Fitness and health is our passion and building a brand you can trust is what drives us.
To find products that truly work and a guide on how they work, browse our shop today.