Optimum Nutrition is one of the biggest names in the supplement industry and you may already know about their famous protein powder, Gold Standard Whey, which is probably the most popular whey on the market.
But “ON” sells a huge variety of other supplements and we’ve tried three of their amino acid concoctions: Amino Energy, Pro BCAA, and Gold Standard BCAA. Today we’re checking out their branch chain amino acid capsules, which are called Mega-Size BCAA 1000 Caps.
Optimum Nutrition Mega-Size BCAA 1000 Ingredients
This is a really stripped back product. Each two-capsule serving pretty much only contains one gram of branch chain amino acids: 500mg of leucine and 250mg each of isoleucine and valine. That’s a 2:1:1 ratio, which is pretty common in these kinds of supplements.
The other ingredients are microcrystalline cellulose, an anti-caking agent made from wood pulp, and magnesium stearate. That’s what’s called a “flow agent” that helps to stop ingredients from sticking to the machinery in the factory where the product’s made. The capsules themselves are made of gelatin. We called ON and confirmed that the gelatin is made from “beef and/or pork,” so note that these capsules aren’t vegetarian, kosher, or halal.
Optimum Nutrition Mega-Size BCAA 1000 Benefits and Effectiveness
Again, it’s a very basic product. There’s practically nothing but the BCAAs themselves, which have been linked to endurance, muscle retention, and focus during and between workouts.
It’s unusual in that the product comes in pills instead of in a scoopable powder. This is a double-edged sword: while it makes it very portable — I’ve taken a few fistfuls on long plane trips and other situations where it’s easier to fast than track calories — it makes it pretty inefficient. A good serving of BCAAs is 7 to 10 grams, and a lot of people like to have one serving before, one during, and one after a workout. That’s a lot of pills to swallow, and more than anything it’s just awkward in practice.
That said, there are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, there’s no soy, there are no gums — there are very few controversial ingredients. (So long as you’re comfortable with gelatin.)
Optimum Nutrition Mega-Size BCAA 1000 Price
One tub provides 400 capsules for about $15.60. That’s 200 one-gram servings of BCAAs, so you’re paying 7.8 cents per gram of BCAA. That’s very, very cheap, cheaper than any powdered BCAA I’ve seen before. This is probably the biggest advantage of the product.
BCAA capsules are an interesting way to take the supplement. You cut out all the flavorings and colors that bother some consumers, but the flipside is that it’s an inefficient and awkward way to get a proper dose. But it’s portable, extremely cheap, and about as inoffensive as supplements get, so if that’s what’s most important to you then this is worth the cost.