BCAAs are undoubtedly one the oldest and most popular bodybuilding supplements to hit the fitness market, which is no surprise because BCAAs are part of the EAAs that build muscle.
But with studies telling a different story about BCAA and Vince Sant’s rocky history, we wonder if Sculpt Nation is just another BCAA bandit on the market.
Or are their BCAAs a gateway to anabolic heaven? Find out below.
About the Creator – Sculpt Nation
Sculpt Nation is a supplement brand owned by Vince Sant and a few other folks.
They have one mission: “Help people sculpt perfect bodies with their supplement line.”
Despite the criticism the brand and founder get, they’re both popular and successful with their supplement business (so far). And to be fair, they’ve got a few decent products, like their creatine and protein powder.
But many other products — and Vince himself — are under heavy fire for continuously disregarding basic fitness physics and nutritional science, which we saw with their mildly disappointing Turmeric Black supplement.
But will their BCAAs impress or disappoint us? Let’s look closer.
A Closer Look at Sculpt Nation’s BCAAs
For $37, Sculpt Nation’s BCAAs is offering us 30 servings with 4.5 g of BCCAs in each serving.
Like the classic Sculpt Nation we all know, they’ve made a handful of eye-catching promises. Here are a few:
- Promote accelerated lean protein synthesis
- Maintain or even build muscle while dieting
- Reduce soreness
- Perfect for pre and post-workout nutrition
- Excellent for dieting and bulking phases
- Fantastic fruit punch flavor – mixes easily, no clumps, incredible taste
Although not entirely accurate, these aren’t Sculpt Nation’s worst supplement promises, and some of them may even be true.
So let’s take an even closer look to understand BCAAs and how they may help you.
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What Are BCAAs?
BCAA is a branched-chain essential amino acid trio consisting of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three are grouped because they share a similar branched molecular structure compared to the other amino acids.
Like all other amino acids, your body uses BCAAs as building blocks to make protein. But BCAAs make up a significant 35-40% of the essential amino acids in the body and 14-18% of amino acids in muscle protein.
What They Do: The Idea Behind BCAA Supplementation For Athletes
Here’s how BCAAs may help with your fitness:
May Reduce Exercise Fatigue
The point at which everyone experiences fatigue or exhaustion is different based on several factors. These include exercise intensity, exercise duration, fitness level, environmental condition, nutrition, and more.
But another potential increase in fatigue is thought to occur when BCCA levels in the blood decrease due to exercise.
Low levels of BCAAs have been linked to increased levels of tryptophan in the brain. Now, tryptophan is naturally converted to serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain that’s thought to aid in the development of fatigue during exercise.
In one study, participants who were supplemented with BCAA rated their perceived exertion and mental fatigue as 7% and 15% lower (respectively), when compared to the placebo group.
However, the specific amount of BCAAs they took wasn’t mentioned in this paper.
Another study suggests that taking 7 g of BCAA an hour may improve psychomotor performance in sports activities with frequent changes in intensity, like soccer or other team sports.
Additionally, some researchers observed that participants experienced an increase in time to exhaustion after consuming 20 g of BCAAs an hour before training.
So BCAAs may help lower fatigue, but the improvement may not translate to an improvement in exercise performance.
May Reduce Muscle Damage
May Act As an Energy Source During Exercise
BCAA’s may be used as an energy source when your body’s glucose levels reduce.
Ingredients in Sculpt Nation’s BCAA Supplement
The BCAAs are three of nine essential amino acids that share a similar structure and are thought to have significant benefits to muscle-building compared to the other amino acids.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the amino acids that make up the BCAAs. As we mentioned above, BCAA supplementation has a couple of potential benefits.
However, a study has concluded that BCAA supplementation alone (without other EAAs isn’t enough to sustain an increased rate of MPS (muscle protein synthesis). Plus, all EAAs are required for maximum MPS.
Mineral Complex ((Aquamin™))
There’s a 200 mg mix of some minerals in Sculpt Nation’s BCAA supplement, but the details are hidden behind a proprietary blend.
The other ingredients include citric acid, natural fruit punch flavor, beetroot juice, and sucralose.
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Mineral complex (Aquamin™)||200mg||**|
How To Take Sculpt Nation’s BCAA
Here’s how to take Sculpt Nation’s BCAA supplement in three easy steps.
- Dump a serving in water.
- Give it a nice mix or shake.
- Drink it.
Pre or Post Workout: When Should You Take BCAA Supplements?
Some say you should take BCAAs before a workout to prevent muscle damage and soreness. Others suggest you take it after a workout to aid muscle protein synthesis and repair.
Others will tell you to take it both before and after a workout to get both benefits. Meanwhile, the rest say it’s more important to worry about consuming your daily BCAA requirement and leave the rest to the body.
However, it’s worth noting that BCAA levels in the blood peak around 30 minutes after consumption, which is probably why some say you should take them close to your workout.
Side Effects of Using BCAAs from Sculpt Nation
BCAAs are essential amino acids extracted from protein sources and are considered safe.
However, a rare condition known as maple syrup urine disease can make it difficult for the body to break down protein. So people with this condition may need to limit or stop their intake of BCAA supplements.
Where Can You Buy Sculpt Nation’s BCAA?
Looking for a bottle of Sculpt Nation’s BCAA? Then head on over to their website. You’ll have to; Sculpt Nation doesn’t seem to sell its products anywhere else.
3 SN BCAA Pros
It May Have Some Benefits for Vegans
Vegans may struggle to meet their daily amino acid requirements, like leucine. So a BCAA supplement like this one may help them. However, vegan protein may be a better alternative.
You shouldn’t have to make frowny faces every time you drink BCAAs. That said, Sculpt Nation’s BCAA gets a thumbs up in the taste category for coming in fruit punch flavor.
It mixes well with water and produces a smooth blend.
7 SN BCAA Cons
It Seems BCAAs Need the EAAs To Be Effective at Muscle-Building
BCAAs undoubtedly play an essential role in muscle building. But they cannot properly do so without the presence of the other EAAs.
BCAA Supplementation May Be Ineffective
Research showing that BCAAs improve exercise performance has been criticized for inaccurate or vague metrics.
Most Likely Unnecessary
The truth is: You won’t need BCAA supplements if you already consume enough protein daily. It’s that simple.
The people who benefit from BCAAs the most are deficient in these amino acids.
The two mixtures (BCAAs and Mineral complex) that make up this supplement use a proprietary blend.
What’s so special that they need to hide details about how they mix their BCAAs?
Also, if you’re going to throw in a “mineral complex,” it would be nice to let your potential customers know what’s actually inside and whether it’s safe.
Mysterious Mineral Complex
Every scoop of Sculpt Nation’s BCAAs comes with 200mg of a mysterious mineral complex. Proprietary blends are bad enough, but Sculpt Nation takes this to the next level by adding unknown ingredients.
We don’t think anyone is excited by consuming 200mg of “mineral complex.” Not to mention, it’s impossible to know if these hidden ingredient/s have any side effects.
Probably Inferior to Protein Powder
A scoop of the best protein powders contains as many (or more) BCAAs as Sculpt Nation’s BCAAs. Plus, you get all the other EAAs in protein powders.
Also, when you compare the costs with how many amino acids you’re getting, protein powders seem to be cheaper and more efficient at the job.
Since all the EAAs are required for muscle-building, you’ll be better off with complete protein instead of only three amino acids found in BCAAs.
Sculpt Nation didn’t miss out on the opportunity to oversell its product. Again.
According to Sculpt Nation, “BCAAs reach super-start supplement status.” Is Sculpt Nation trying to compare their BCAAs to super-start batteries? Who knows.
Here’s another one:
Sculpt Nation: “Warning! If you’re not keeping your body awash in this 100% essential element (their BCAAs), you’re at risk for fat gain and muscle loss…”
“Harness the Super-Powered Simple Solution (their BCAAs) to Crushing Catabolism and Forcing Your Body to Blow-Torch Fat and Build Powerful Lean Muscle All Day Long.”
What Other Reviews Are Saying
We haven’t seen any other reviews on Sculpt Nation’s BCAA, but here are a few other opinions about BCAA supplementation in general:
- Sean Nalewanji – “BCAA supplements aren’t necessary as long as you consume your daily requirements from food.”
- Mind Pump Show – “BCAA supplementation is a waste of money if your protein intake is high, you’re better off with protein powder.”
- PictureFit – “Unnecessary for anyone eating or drinking enough protein.”
The consensus seems pretty much the same.
Is Sculpt Nation’s BCAA Worth it?
The BCAAs are very useful to the body, but BCAA supplementation will be completely unnecessary if you consume enough protein from your meals.
But if you need to supplement with BCAA, then a protein powder is your best bet.
Worried about the extra carbs and fats? Then go for whey isolates. If you’re vegan, go for vegan protein powder.
Basically, skip the BCAAs from Sculpt Nation.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
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