BCAA Dosage Calculator

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are amino acids that your body does not produce by itself. Therefore, we need to get them through food.

BCAAs are found in whole food protein sources (i.e. chicken), so those who consume an adequate amount of protein (0.7-1.2g/lb of bodyweight) will meet their BCAA requirements quite easily and will not require supplementation.

However, those who struggle to meet their protein goals could benefit from a BCAA supplement to help them consume an adequate amount.

The BCAAs are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

The following BCAA dosage calculator will help you determine how much of each BCAA you should consume based on your body weight.

How Do We Calculate BCAA Dosage?

BCAA dosage is recommended at 85 mg of total BCAAs per kilogram of body weight per day. This is 39 mg of leucine, 20 mg of isoleucine, and 26 mg of valine. This follows the ratio of 2:1:1 for leucine, isoleucine and valine, which occurs naturally in whole food sources of protein.

For example, a person who weighs 70 kg (154 lbs) would need to consume 5,950 mg (approximately 6 grams) of BCAAs each day, with 2.7 grams of leucine, 1.4 grams of isoleucine and 1.8 grams of valine.

It’s also safe to do a short-term (7-14 days) “loading” phase of up to 200 mg of BCAAs per kilogram of body weight, which would be 14 grams of BCAAs per day for 70 kg (154 lbs).  

This loading phase can “top up” the amount of amino acids circulating in the bloodstream, known as the “amino acid pool,” which reduces muscle soreness after resistance training, and improves recovery.  

A loading phase would be a great option for those who have been chronically undereating protein.

Regardless of whether you do a loading phase or not, consistent supplementation on an ongoing basis is required to get the most benefit from BCAAs.

What Do BCAAs Do?

BCAAs provide instant energy to the muscle because they are metabolized directly in muscle tissue, rather than being metabolized in the liver. They also play an important role in muscle repair and growth.

Benefits Of BCAA Supplements

The benefits of BCAAs are:

  1. BCAAs provide energy more quickly than protein that is digested in the liver – this makes them helpful as an intra-workout supplement to reduce fatigue and lessen the amount of muscle protein breakdown during exercise.
  1. BCAAs can help you reach the daily recommended values of amino acid intake – this can be helpful if you struggle to eat enough protein.
  1. BCAAs are less likely to cause digestive issues during your workout – adding BCAAs to water does not change the texture of the water they way protein powder does, and if you get a flavored BCAA product, the sweet taste can actually boost your performance even if there’s no sugar
  1. BCAAs can be more convenient than whey protein – it’s just one small scoop of powder that mixes easily with water and can be tasteless, or adds a delicious sweet flavor to your water.

Related Article: Do I Need BCAAs If I Take Whey Protein? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Do You Need To Supplement With BCAAs?

No, you do not need to supplement with BCAAs if your daily protein intake is adequate.  Hitting your daily protein targets will ensure that you get enough of all of the amino acids, including the BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine).  Food sources will also have these BCAAs in the optimal ratio of 2:1:1.

Research suggests that anyone eating 1.2 g/kg/day protein (or ~0.54g/lb/day) will have met their BCAA requirements. Therefore, most people can get more than enough BCAAs from whole food sources

This means that if you weigh 70kg (154 lbs), you would only need 84g of protein per day from whole foods sources to meet your BCAA requirements.

That said, if you aren’t meeting your protein requirements, then supplementing with BCAAs is necessary.

Related Articles: Explaining 27+ Pre-Workout Ingredients & What They Do and Amino Acids vs Whey Protein

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About The Author

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement.  Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete.  She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.