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I’ve been following the LeanGains intermittent fasting protocol every day for the last 6 months or so.
In other words, I restrict my eating window to 8 hours and then fast for the other 16.
Many friends and family ask me why, to which I refer them to the many benefits of intermittent fasting, including:
- Increased fat loss
- Less inflammation
- Improved insulin sensitivity
But I’d be lying if I was to say that intermittent fasting was perfect…
Some people find it difficult to stick to, as they get too hungry and then just stuff their faces with food.
Others are concerned about muscle loss (and rightly so).
The good news is that some of the “cons” of intermittent fasting can be minimized with supplements.
So in this article, we reveal why BCAAs can be an important supplement to take while fasting, as well as the 3 best BCAAs for intermittent fasting.
Why BCAAs are Great For Intermittent Fasting
You’re making a great decision by using BCAAs whilst fasting.
Before we cover the best BCAAs, here are a few reasons why BCAAs are great for intermittent fasting – proof you’re about to make a smart purchase!
BCAAs may reduce hunger
When you go for long periods without food, your blood sugar and leptin levels decrease which results in more hunger.
This is one of the biggest challenges people face when following an intermittent fasting regime.
Now, those with iron will power can do their best to ignore this hunger, but for many people, it’s just too much.
So this usually ends up with people binging on junk food to quickly restore their blood sugar levels.
One of the BCAAs, Leucine, has been shown to stimulate leptin secretion.
This is key to keeping hunger levels down as research has shown that low leptin levels cause hunger and a desire to eat.
So by supplementing with BCAAs, you’re less likely to fall off track of your intermittent fasting schedule.
BCAAs help reduce fatigue
Fatigue is another common barrier to overcome while fasting, especially if you do fasted exercise.
Peripheral fatigue occurs in the muscles when there’s a limited supply of muscle glycogen.
If you exercise while fasting, then your glycogen stores will be low and you’ll feel peripheral fatigue more quickly than if you had replenished those stores.
Research has shown that BCAAs can help reduce this effect and increase time to exhaustion, specifically when glycogen stores are low.
Central fatigue is fatigue that occurs when physical and mental stress is placed on the central nervous system.
BCAAs can help reduce central fatigue as they compete with tryptophan, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which contributes to central fatigue.
This is especially useful when intermittent fasting as fasting can put stress on the body, which can result in fatigue.
BCAAs can help reduce muscle soreness
A review of 8 studies concluded that BCAA supplementation after exercise reduces muscle soreness by a large amount, when compared to a placebo.
Why is this relevant?
Well, less fatigue and less muscle soreness will result in more productive training sessions.
All the benefits of BCAAs are going to make intermittent fasting a lot more enjoyable and, so, you’ll more likely stick with it.
It’s much easier to work out in a fasted state if you’re able to perform at your best, and not feel as worn out by the fatigue that comes with fasting.
(Related reading: Best Supplements For Sore Muscles)
Best Budget BCAAs for Intermittent Fasting: MP Essentials BCAA Powder
MP Essentials BCAAs is an affordable, trusted and decent quality BCAA supplement.
Great for those on a small budget.
Why I like it
For the small price, this is an excellent supplement, making it a top value buy.
I also like that these BCAAs are higher in Leucine than Valine and Isoleucine, as Leucine is the BCAA which helps reduce hunger, making it a great choice for intermittent fasting.
MP Essentials BCAA powder has hundreds of great reviews too, which shows that lots of people are seeing excellent results from using it.
Each tub contains only 30 servings so it’ll last you just a month if you take it every day.
Also, a few people claim that the Fruit Punch flavor has a strange taste.
Best Mid-Range BCAAs for Intermittent Fasting: ON Gold Standard BCAA
A high quality BCAA powder made by the king of the supplement world – Optimum Nutrition.
Ideal for those who don’t mind paying a little bit more for a lot more quality.
Why I like it
I love that this supplement comes with Electrolytes, Rhodiola and Wellmune.
Electrolytes and Rhodiola help reduce fatigue, which is great for intermittent fasting, while Wellmune helps keep your immune system in check.
The fact that each tub only provides 28 servings is a bit of a pain, but apart from that, there’s little room for improvement here!
Best Premium BCAAs for Intermittent Fasting: Genius BCAA Powder
The Rolls Royce of BCAAs.
You’ll do well to find a better quality BCAA powder than this.
Why I like it
So many great features to choose from – where do I begin?!
Like ON Gold Standard BCAA, this supplement contains a few extra ingredients which makes this an excellent choice for intermittent fasting.
For example, it contains Rhodiola and Taurine which will both help reduce fatigue and give you energy.
And unlike most other BCAAs, Genius BCAA Powder is naturally sweetened with Stevia and has no artificial flavors, colors or dyes to worry about.
It’s also suitable for Vegans too which is a nice bonus.
All in all, this is the perfect BCAA powder for intermittent fasting.
Premium quality supplements tend to have one major drawback…
A premium price tag.
Genius BCAA Powder isn’t that expensive, but it is a fair bit pricier than most other BCAA supplements out there.
By now, you hopefully know just how important BCAAs can be when intermittent fasting, as a good BCAA supplement will help:
- Lower fatigue
- Reduce hunger
- Reduce muscle soreness
Each of these benefits will make intermittent fasting so much easier to stick to.
This article has revealed the 3 best BCAAs for intermittent fasting at different price points, but if you’re still undecided, then check out my favorite, Genius BCAA Powder, on Amazon.
Hope this helped!