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Plant-based BCAA's–What you Need to Know

Plant-based BCAA’s–What you Need to Know

All protein is made of amino acids. Some are essential (ones you need to get from your diet) and some are non-essential (ones your body has the ability to make out of other amino acids).

BCAAs, short for branched chain amino acids, are three essential amino acids that help support protein synthesis.

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

Benefits of branched chain amino acids?

Protein is important for many reasons, one of which is that it’s the building blocks for muscle tissue. These three amino acids, specifically leucine, can help to support protein synthesis, during post-workout muscle recovery1, which is why many athletes will use BCAAs either during or post-workout.

Back it up – what’s protein synthesis?

Protein synthesis is the process of repairing and building muscle tissue. In the right conditions, with quality building blocks (amino acids and co-factors like vitamins and minerals) muscle tissue grows by repairing micro tears that happen during exercise.

How much BCAAs do I need?

If you have specific nutrition or fitness goals, it’s always best to work with your health care practitioner or a qualified sports dietitian to find a plan that’s right for you. Your body and your goals are so unique to you that developing a plan as special as you are is the best way to achieve your goals.

Currently, research suggests that 10g of essential amino acids, including about 2 grams of leucine is needed to help support muscle recovery. This is typically found in about 20-25g of high quality protein.

What foods have BCAAS?

Good news, if you’re eating a variety of whole foods, you’re already getting some BCAAs. How much total protein and how much of each amino acid you get will all depend on what foods and the quantity you eat. Many plant-based foods are a source of leucine including oats, lentils and beans.

If you’re looking for an easy way to add quality protein, including 3.4g leucine, to your diet try Vega Sport® Protein – Plant-Based Protein Powder. 

Plant-Based Nutrition for Athletes

How you fuel can be the difference between a new personal best and a mediocre-at-best training session. That’s the principle that Vega was founded on and is what drove us to create the Vega Sport® Nutrition System, a series of plant-based sport nutrition products designed to help you optimize every stage of your training.


Before you start your session, you’ll want to fuel your body. We offer up two options: one for people who like to fuel with food, and one for people who get fired up with a pre-workout drink.


Vega Sport® Premium Energizer offers up fast-acting caffeine and simple carbohydrates from coconut palm sugar and brown rice syrup. We use organic coffee fruit extract, sourced from the fruit of the coffee plant, as well as caffeine from green tea. Caffeine’s effect depends on the individual, but it’s been found to help you focus on your session.

Brown rice syrup is composed nearly entirely of glucose. Glucose is a fast-acting energy source, because glucose can be metabolized by every cell in the body: fructose can only be metabolized in significant amounts by the liver. When glucose – which is stored as glycogen – is depleted, muscles can become fatigued. Consuming carbs may help prevent hitting the wall due to lack of glycogen.

If you’re looking for something sugar-free, we’ve got you covered. Choose Vega Sport® Sugar-Free Energizer for all the caffeine and none of the carbs.


When sweat starts to drip off your face, you’re not just losing water, you’re also losing electrolytes. The amount of water and electrolytes you lose depends on the temperature, humidity and type of activity.

Rather than wait until you start to feel dizzy, or start cramping, hydrate consistently throughout your workout with Vega Sport® Hydrator. It’ll help you replenish your electrolytes and also provides vitamin C, without loading up on sugar. Electrolytes help regulate our balance, heart, nerve, and muscle function. An adequate supply of electrolytes is required to keep all systems running smoothly.

We designed Vega Sport<® Hydrator as a mid-workout hydration assist. That’s why every serving has higher levels of sodium (230mg) than potassium (115mg), magnesium (20mg), or calcium (50mg) – sweat contains substantial amounts of sodium, with lesser amounts of other electrolytes.


After training, your body needs carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores, and protein to support muscle repair. Carbohydrates help replenish muscle glycogen; you can choose simple options like toast with nut butter or a simple smoothie, or you can quickly mix up a serving of Vega Sport® Recovery. Recovery offers up 16g carbohydrates from whole grain brown rice sweetener, which is a simple carbohydrate that helps replenish muscle glycogen.

Tissue and cell regeneration is an ongoing process that continues on after our workouts are done. Our body converts the protein consumed in our diets into amino acids to be used to repair and rebuild muscles – as we all know, that’s important after training.

That’s why Vega Sport® Premium Protein includes 30g plant-based protein, including 5g BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. We’ve also curated plant-based ingredients specifically for post workout recovery – like tart cherry.

This peanut butter protein smoothie won’t only satisfy your taste buds, it will start you on your way to recovery. Why not drink more than 30 grams of plant-based protein, as well as BCAAs, in a delicious post-workout shake? For extra decadence, top with chopped vegan chocolate. For extra (extra) decadence, add chopped vegan chocolate in the blender and on top.

Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Peanut Butter Protein Shake

1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 red apple
½ frozen banana
1 serving Chocolate Vega Sport® Protein
1 cup almond milk
½ cup ice

Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth and enjoy!

Vega Sport

About the Author: Vega


Vega is a leading plant-based protein powder brand. Since 2004, Vega has brought real, plant-based food ingredients together in purposeful combinations to help consumers get the nutrition their body wants, without compromise. All their products are vegan certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.