Sunday, 19 May 2024


Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder Review – Does It Really Work?

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Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder contains 8 g of branched-chain aminos (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine), 5 g of glutamine, and 160 mg of PhytoBlend. It’s also the only BCAA supplement to contain 230 mg of vitamin C. But can it really promote muscle growth, increase endurance, and reduce recovery times?

In this review we take a closer look at the ingredients behind Alpha Amino, including the 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs. Is this really the optimal dose, or would a 10:1:1 ratio be more effective?

We’ll also compare O.N. Pro BCAA to two other top-rated BCAA supplements; MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2, and BPI Sports Best BCAA. Comparisons include price, ingredients, dosages, cost per serving, and customer feedback. You can also find some affordable supplement stack suggestions for CrossFit, bodybuilding, and powerlifting.

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Ingredients

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder

Vitamin C (230 mg, 383%)

Very few BCAA supplements contain Vitamin C. So why has Optimum Nutrition chosen it for their Pro BCAA Powder, and what are the health benefits?

Vitamin C is an aide in the metabolism of some amino acids, like tyrosine and phenylalanine. Additionally, it is essential for collagen production. Collagen is a structural protein found in connective tissues, including the skin, bones and muscles. It assists in repairing and healing wounds, including micro-wounds that result from training, while helping to keep bones strong.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is also a powerful antioxidant, which fights free radicals that damage cells in the body. While you perform exercise, many catabolic processes take place, which form oxidative components. Antioxidants, like vitamin C are important to help protect cells from the potentially damaging effect of these chemical processes.

This supplement provides almost 400% of what your daily value (DV). Since Vitamin C can readily be eliminated from the body, there is generally not a problem with consuming larger doses.

Sodium (100 mg, 4%) and Potassium (50mg, 1%)

Sodium and potassium are both electrolytes that are vital for normal functioning of the human body. They regulate our muscle and nerve function, assisting in the connection between nerves, and between the brain and muscle, in order for our muscles to contract when we need them to and with the desired strength.

Electrolyte levels can be altered when our fluid levels change. This is often the case when we perform exercise over long periods of time and we lose fluid through sweat. Along with the sweat, we lose valuable electrolytes that can make us feel weak and lethargic if they are not replenished. Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA powder contains electrolytes that can help prevent cramps and extend our performance time.

2:1:1 BCAA Blend (8g)

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized by the body, whereas essential amino acids (EAAs) must be consumed through foo or supplements. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) are a special type of essential amino acids that plays a role in our metabolism, and in the building-up, conservation, and repair of muscle tissue.

Optimum Nutrition and several other manufacturers suggest that the 2:1:1 BCAA ratio is ideal for building muscle, preventing muscle degradation during extended exercise periods, and assisting in recovery.

Glutamine (5g)

Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the human body. It is produced in the muscles, and has many functions, such as providing fuel to difference cells in the body. Other roles include supporting a healthy gut and immune system, especially during times of stress.

With relation to exercise, Glutamine helps to support recovery after intense exercise, and helps to promote energy storage in the muscles.

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder provides 5g of glutamine, which may assist in post-exercise recovery.


The PhytoBlend provides a range of substances with antioxidant properties. Grape Seed Extract has high levels of proanthocyanidin, an antioxidant that helps to fight off free radicals that can cause cell damage and tissue injury. This is important to be able to effectively recover from exercise.

The PhytoBlend also contains Red Wine Grape Extract, which contains an antioxidant that may help fight off cardiovascular disease.

Citrus Bioflavonoids are also antioxidants that have a special effect on helping athletes to recover from injuries.

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder

O.N. Pro BCAA – Product Summary

  • 13 gram amino blend
  • 8 g BCAAs and 5 g glutamine per serving
  • Electrolytes for muscle function support and a blend of synergistic ingredients with recovery supporting antioxidant benefits

Who is it designed for?

BCAA supplements like Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Drink Mix is recommended for people who regularly participate in endurance weight-lifting or anaerobic exercise that builds strength while depleting energy stores.

This includes weightlifting, running, cycling, and rowing.

When is the best time to take it?

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA can be taken before or during exercise to help improve performance, or after exercise to promote muscle repair and recovery.

It should be taken with cold water, or with another beverage.

Pro BCAA vs. O.N. Essential Amino Energy

O.N. Essential Amino Energy is made by the same company as Pro BCAA, but the formulation is different. Amino Energy includes an amino blend with a wide range of amino acids, including, but not limited to, BCAAs.

Alongside L-arginine, beta-alanine, taurine, and L-tyrosine, you’re also getting 1 gram of glutamine. In addition to the aminos, each serving of Amino Energy contains 2 grams of BCAAs, in a 2:1:1 ratio.

Rather than providing antioxidants and electrolytes, this formulation provides an energy blend, which includes caffeine from green tea, green tea extract, and green coffee extract.

Each formulation has its benefits. Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA is formulated specifically for those who participate in muscle-intense exercise over long periods of time, and who may be at risk for increased cell oxidation. The Amino Energy blend will meet the needs of a wider range of athletes who are also busy with other activities throughout the day, and who need an extra energy boost prior to, or during their workout.

What flavors and sizes are available?

Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Drink Mix is available in the following flavors:

  • Fruit Punch
  • Peach Mango

  • Raspberry Lemonade
  • Unflavored

It is only available in one size: a 13.07oz, 20-serving container.

Save money with Amazon

If you’re looking to save money on your monthly supplement order, you might want to consider the Amazon Subscribe & Save program.

Subscribe & Save allows you to unlock savings of up to 15% on a wide range of sports nutrition products, including Optimum Nutrition Pro BCAA Powder.

You can save 5% with a subscription to 1 product, or save the full 15% by subscribing to 5 products, provided they’re all delivered to the same address. The delivery schedule can be set from monthly, up to once every 6 months.

Although 5 products might sound a lot, if you already supplement with a protein powder, multivitamin, creatine, BCAA, and glutamine, the savings can soon add up.

Who are Optimum Nutrition?

With over 30 years in the sports nutrition industry, Optimum Nutrition currently produces some of the bestselling sports nutrition products in the world. These have been designed to improve your strength and recovery, health and wellness, and help increase your protein intake, such as their Gold Standard 100% Whey.

To find out more about their protein powders, bars, ready to drinks, BCAAs, glutamine, pre-workout supplements, creatine, multivitamins, and weight loss products, we recommend our Optimum Nutrition buying guide. This includes a summary of the health benefits you can expect from each product, which sizes and flavors are available, and dosages for the top ingredients.

We’ve also added in-depth reviews and comparisons with other top rated nutrition companies, to guarantee you only buy the best supplement for your fitness goals.

BCAA Buying Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

The high dose of BCAAs found in each serving of Pro BCAA is seriously impressive. With a 2:1:1 ratio, this provides you with 4 g leucine, 2 g isoleucine, and 2 g valine - even more than the bestselling Scivation Xtend.

You’re also getting a much higher dose of glutamine than we’re used to seeing from a BCAA powder. With 5 g per serving, it’s twice as much as Xtend, and the only Optimum Nutrition BCAA powder to contain this ingredient.

However, having such high doses has pushed the price up to make it one of the most expensive BCAA supplements on the market, alongside All Day You May, from 5% Nutrition.

When you balance out the quantity of each ingredient against the cost per serving, we still feel Scivation Xtend comes out on top. Although you’re getting 1 g less BCAAs and 2.5 g less glutamine, you’re saving around $0.50 per serving (at time of writing this review).

But prices tend to fluctuate, so we would always recommend comparing the two before making a final decision. If you’re looking for a high dose of BCAAs, you’ll struggle to find better than O.N. Pro BCAA powder.

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