Its time for a showdown. BCAA vs iBCAA.
Recently i’ve been using iBCAA from The Protein Works. They’re similar to BCAA. They cost a little bit more than BCAA. But what is the difference?
Read on and find out the difference between BCAA and iBCAA, in my The Protein Works iBCAA review.
Why Im Using an iBCAA Supplement
Recently, I have started to train first thing in the morning, early bird catches the gainz… I hope!
Training fasted is something I have played with in the past and it has never had too much effect on my gym performance. It probably isn’t for everyone, and most wouldn’t dream of it. However, I have to fit training around my life and other commitments. Rather than fitting your life around your training.
If this means getting up a little bit earlier then so be it.
I never feel like eating in the morning if I’m training really early, and generally never have time. Like most sites at the moment, The Protein Works are targeting the new years resolution gym-goers. We’ve all seen them, curling in the squat rack and other monstrosities, but hey, at least they are there!
Having a browse through the deals section of the site, I came across a good deal and felt like experimenting….enter iBCAA from The Protein Works.
Like most BCAA supplements on the market today, The Protein Works iBCAA is made up of three Amino Acids. Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine in a ratio of 2:1:1.
Amino Acids within the bloodstream are touted as essential for muscle growth and staying anabolic (brah!!), and BCAA supplements are advertised as an easy way for key nutrients to be digested.
- IBCAA (2:1:1 ratio – Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine)
- Natural Flavouring –
- Natural Colouring – Beetroot Red Anthocyanin (Berry Flavour)
- Sweetener (Sucralose®)
- Soy Lecithin (Instantising Agent)
- Citric Acid
The Protein Works iBCAA comes with a limited number of ingredients, and are sweetened using a mixture of natural flavourings, colouring and sucralose.
A key benefit with the product is the fact that the product is not sweetened with a less than ideal sweetener, such as aspartame. This allows the product to maintain a macro breakdown with 0g Carbohydrates.
Keeping up with all of the latest trends, the product is wheat, gluten and genetically modified ingredient free and is suitable for diabetics .. all bases covered there then!
THE SCIENCE of Branched Chain Amino Acids
This is where we get a little bit geeky, it’s all well and good spending your hard earned cash on supplements but does the science back up the sales pitch?
The research on BCAA supplementation has been growing in recent years. There are numerous studies which provide conflicting results.
One thing has been agreed upon however, BCAA supplementation promotes an anabolic environment, and we all know that an anabolic environment is more appealing than a catabolic one.
Research suggests that’s BCAA supplementation may be unnecessary in individuals, where sufficient protein is being ingested. Generally, protein is over eaten by gym goers in the belief that this will help to build muscle faster.
Based on this view, a BCAA would be beneficial right? Well, it appears that once sufficient protein has been taken in, the rest is not utilised by the body, so a BCAA supplement could be a waste of your pennies. Something that Cheap Protein Discount Codes is dead against!
If you do struggle to take in enough protein, however, then a BCAA supplement could be just what you need. This has been seen in studies involving vegetarians and other non-meat eaters where protein intake may be limited.
In terms of fasted training, the research suggests that BCAA supplements may have a muscle sparing effect. From this, I feel that if you are going to train fasted a BCAA supplement is a good way to ensure that muscle is not being used for fuel.
However the body will not look to use protein for fuel in the outset, so it is hard to say how much of a positive effect the BCAA supplement would really be having. That being said, I would consider it a good defence mechanism and a good way to put the guard up to ensure that muscle is not being wasted.
Until rock solid research provides evidence that BCAA supplements are a complete waste of money, they will continue to be branded as a perfect muscle building supplement, and I would probably advocate the use of one for any fasted training.
BCAA vs iBCAA
So, what is the difference between iBCAA and BCAA’s?
iBCAA’s, i believe, are fairly new to the market. I know Myprotein also offers iBCAA, as these have been reviewed on the site. More and more of the cheap supplement suppliers in the UK seem to be adding them to their supplement ranges to.
The i and in iBCAA stands for instantised.
The difference between iBCAA and BCAA is that iBCAA’s have undergone an additional level of manufacturing. iBCAA’s are almost instantly dissolved into water, and make digestion easier.
Regular BCAA supplements can sit in small white lumps on the top of water, making it harder to dissolve into your drink.
The product mixes very well in any shaker bottle, and has no lumps and a smooth consistency. Having had gut issues in the past, which have pretty much ticked most whey supps off of my list, I never experienced any bloating or lethargy after drinking the iBCAA supplement.
It could have been a possible placebo effect but when training in the morning, I felt better than usual and could push on further in a lot of my sessions. When time was tight I genuinely wanted to keep going and carry on with a longer session.
The price, let’s face it, it’s what we all look for first. The Protein Works iBCAA comes in at £15.39 for 50 servings, which is calculated at 31 pence per serving. This seems ok when you consider that each serving yields 5g protein.
As part of The Protein Works January sale, I grabbed two 50 serving bags for under £25.00. You’d be able to get them even cheaper by visiting our Protein Works discounts page.
This lasted me around about two months, but I only tended to take 10g in the mornings where I was training, I didn’t feel any need to take during the day just for the sake of taking it.
iBCAA comes with a 2:1:1 ratio, some other supplements come with a 4:1:1 and even 8:1:1 ratio. Personally, I would like to see a 4:1:1 ratio for my next BCAA supplement.
I went with the Orange Burst flavour and wasn’t amazed by it, I wasn’t expecting the strongest of flavours but I found that the flavour was very weak in my water bottle, and had a bitter after taste. I knew that BCAA supplements tend to be quite sour in taste but I would have liked for this to be a little sweeter and more palatable with a stronger flavour.
The Protein Works also offer iBCAA in Berry Blitz, Sour Apple Spike, Tropical and unflavoured options. The reviews from their website seem to favour the Sour Apple Spike flavour, but this reminds me of too many bad nights as a student trying to save money by having apple sourz shots!
I didn’t change any other aspect of my diet whilst I was taking the supplement and found that I generally recovered slightly faster than usual, and as I say, I did feel like I could carry on with my sessions a little longer than usual
I was never going to break any lifetime PB’s from the supplement alone. But like ronseal, it did exactly what it said on the tin / tub / pouchy thing.
I would rate The Protein Works iBCAA product with 4 stars out of 5, it’s a solid supplement and does exactly what it says it will. Changes could be made to make the supplement stronger but if it’s not broken don’t fix it.
You need to ask yourself whether you are really going to benefit from a BCAA supplement. If your protein intake is high enough it could be a case of you making some very expensive piss.
If not, and you think you could benefit, head over to our Protein Works voucher codes page and see if you can pick up some iBCAA from The Protein Works at a decent price!!
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Nosaka, K., Sacco, P. and Mawatari, K. (2006). Effects of Amino Acid Supplementation on Muscle Soreness and Damage. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16.
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