Optimum Nutrition as a brand offers numerous BCAA supplements but they are not all the same. The goal of this page is to compare, contrast and rank all of Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA and amino acid products in one orderly list.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA and amino acid rankings at a glance:
- PRO BCAA
- Instantized Amino 5000
- Essential Amino Energy
- Gold Standard BCAA Train + Sustain
- Mega-Size BCAA 1000
- Superior Amino 2222
Ranking Optimum Nutrition’s BCAAs
Below we’ll break down our ranked reviews in detail. This is our ranking of Optimum Nutrition products only and does not represent our official best branch chain amino acid powder ranking.
#1 Optimum Nutrition PRO BCAA
- 20 servings per tub
- 8,000 mg BCAA 2:1:1
- 5,000 mg l-glutamine
- 150 mg phytoblend
PRO BCAA is where Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA game is at its best.
While this supplement only has 20 servings per tub, each serving is loaded with an 8 gram BCAA dose. At 8 grams, you are getting the effective amount of BCAAs to actually make a difference.
Inside PRO BCAA, you’ll also find 5 grams of glutamine. This helps support recovery as well as glycogen replenishment.
Taste wise, PRO BCAA is very easy to drink and comes in a few options. As a whole, this is a properly made BCAA supplement.
Get Optimum Nutrition PRO BCAA
NOTE: As of 7/17/2019 PRO BCAA is not on the Optimum Nutrition website. We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.
#2 Instantized BCAA 5,000 Powder
- 40 servings per tub
- 5,000 mg BCAA per serving
BCAA 5000 is Optimum Nutrition’s original BCAA supplement that has proven the test of time as Glanbia (ON’s parent company) has grown and expanded into several nutritional brands.
By far BCAA 5,000 is the most affordable BCAA option from ON and Glanbia as a whole. We’ve found that you can get 40 servings of BCAA 5000 for about 24 dollars.
Granted, you’re only getting 5,000 mg per serving…
But, if you simply take 2 servings at a time, you’re getting 20 servings of 10 g BCAA for 24$ which isn’t too bad in comparison to the competition.
Again, lesser dosed than PRO BCAA but relatively affordable.
#3 Essential Amino Energy
- Multiple flavors
- 5 gram amino acid blend
- 160 mg caffeine
This is by far Optimum Nutrition’s most popular amino acid supplement. We easily make this call because Amino Energy is available in 14 flavors compared to other ON supplements maxing out at 4 flavors.
Essential Amino Energy contains 5 grams of a full spectrum amino acid blend, along with 160 mg of caffeine and green tea.
Together, you get an energy spike with free amino acids to help energize your muscles and promote amino acid metabolism instead of muscle breakdown during exercise.
As a whole, Essential Amino Energy is a fun supplement and you can read our amino energy review here. We recommend it as a cardio aid, or as an energy aid for those who don’t want to take a full blown pre workout supplement.
#4 Gold Standard BCAA Train + Recover
- Re-branded “train and recover”
- 5 grams BCAA
- 250 mg Bakers Yeast
- 200 mg Rhodiola rosea
Gold Standard BCAA Train+ Recover is pretty much the toned down version of PRO BCAA. Each serving comes with 5 grams of BCAAs plus some accessory ingredients that we don’t really care about.
This is another good option if you would like to top off your pre workout, or, want a BCAA that you can take one serving of before working out, and then another while getting your exercise on.
Taste wise, Gold Standard BCAA is on point, but it doesn’t contain the same strong dosage of BCAAs as PRO BCAA.
#5 Mega-Sized BCAA 1000 Caps
- Low-dose caps version
Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA 1000 caps are the pill alternative to BCAA 5000. Each serving of BCAA caps brings in 1,000 mg of BCAAs. So, you’re going to need to take quite a few servings to hit your effective dose.
However, the one huge benefit to pills is that they do not contain artificial dyes or sweeteners that practically all of the other ON BCAAs contain.
#6 Superior Amino 2222
- Low-dose full-spectrum amino acid caps
Superior Amino is Optimum Nutrition’s pill based full spectrum amino acid supplement.
When you take 2 caps of Superior Amino, you’re getting 2,222 milligrams of amino acids. This can be used to top off your pre workout, or to enrich a meal.
However, to get some actual benefit from this supplement when taken on its own, you’re going to need to down at least 5 servings, or 10 pills.
This is the standard downfall of pill-based amino acid supplements. Which is based on the required threshold of about 6 grams before they start making any real difference on muscle recovery/preservation/growth.
Final Verdict on Optimum Nutrition Amino Acids
It has a relevant BCAA effective dosage of 8 grams, plus other goodies. Compared to Optimums other supplements, it’s the best bet for recovery, fat metabolism support, and muscle growth.
Alternatively, the other variations can be used to top-off pre workout supplements or better-round meals.