“Disclaimer: I received an NOW Sports BCAA Big 6 to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Besides protein powders from time to time, electrolyte supplements, and prescribed iron supplements for anemia, I’ve never been one for supplements. In fact, most vitamins required for good health are readily available in a well-balanced diet. However, as an endurance athlete who treats my body with reckless abandon quite often, I’ve wondered whether there were worthwhile supplements for my level of activity. It turns out, branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are important for muscle recovery, especially before/after high impact workouts and they are not produced naturally by the body. As such, I was glad to try NOW Sports BCAA Big 6 as part of my current nutrition and workout routine.
From the NOW Foods website:
“BCAA Big 6 is an advanced caffeine-free sports supplement formulated to support exercise endurance and recovery from intense workouts.* BCAA Big 6 features branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs) to support muscle retention and recovery, and betaine to help maintain fluid balance during exercise.* BCAA Big 6 also has taurine, which can further support endurance.* BCAA Big 6 includes L-citrulline and L-glutamine to complement this formula.”
While diet and nutrition science peer reviewed research is a bit inconsistent in many areas, I did find from several sources, including the Journal of Nutrition, that BCAA leucine is an important macronutrient that aids in several metabolic processes (Layman, 2003). Dr. Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist, who specializes in research on sex differences in endurance sports and nutrition (and a recent guest on the BibRave Podcast), recommends BCAAs before and after hard workouts, especially during the training period just before menstruation.
As a BibRave Pro I’ve had the opportunity to try both the watermelon and grape flavors. Both are tasty, although the watermelon was a bit strong tasting to get used to at first. I found that both flavors mix best with ice and cold water (the ice helps mix the powder completely so you don’t end up with a chalky taste, although a shaker bottle would do just as well). I also tried it once in my soda stream water. This caused a bit of a science experiment volcano but was really yummy after everything settled down. I’ve been trying to drink at least one serving per day, specifically before, during, and/or after hard runs and bike workouts. I’ve noticed drinking it before a long run has been associated with less hunger cravings/stomach issues during the run. Overall, my muscle recovery seems fast but, honestly, I’ve always had pretty fast recovery considering how much I pound my legs.
Other interesting factoids from NOW(R) Sports:
- They’re third-party certified via Informed-Sport for added product purity assurance. The Informed-Sport program certifies that their products have been tested for more than 200 banned substances by their world-class sports anti-doping lab.
- They’re one of the few brands of natural sports products that does not use any artificial ingredients, including artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.
- It’s vegan and caffeine free
NOW Sports BCAA Big 6 retails $49.99 for a 600g canister. Want to try BCAA Big 6, too?! You’re in luck! Use code 20NOWBCAA on Amazon.com until Nov 15 for 20% off both varieties.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are
not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.