15 OCT, 2019
Which is better for me, BCAA or EAA?
Since you’re reading this you've probably already supplemented with, or are aware of the benefits of BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) as part of your training, performance, and recovery.
However, what you might not know is that the most up to date scientific research shows that using just the 3 BCAA's is like fielding a football team with only 3 of your 11 players, even if those 3 players are really good.
BCAA’S ONLY GO SO FAR ALONE
BCAA's do a fantastic job at stimulating protein synthesis but the process is boosted when combined with the presence of the other essential amino acids (EAA’s) to complete the recovery process. Basically, BCAA’s work best in the presence of other EAA’s in that you need all 8 essential amino acids to repair muscle, not just the three branched-chain amino acids.
Science shows that EAA’s (essential amino acids) can more effectively sustain protein synthesis in a post-workout recovery than just BCAA supplementation alone. BCAA's are better than consuming nothing, but EAA's can boost recovery.
If you're curious about the science, check out these studies on amino acids.
AMINO ACID’S…? EAA’S…? BCAA’S?… WHAT!!?
A little confused with all this EAA and BCAA talk? Essentially, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. An essential amino acid (EAA) is an amino acid that cannot be synthesised by your body, and thus must be supplied in its diet. The 8 essential amino acids are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine and lysine. 3 out of 8 essential amino acids are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine.
What is the difference between a BCAA and an EAA?
We often get asked this question. It is actually a bit of a trick question because as you can see by the graphic the 3 BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) are also 3 of the 8 EAA’s. So all BCAA’s are EAA’s, but not all EAA’s are BCAA’s. Make sense?
DO I NEED TO TAKE EAA’s?
EAA’s (essential amino acids) are abundantly found in food because all proteins are made up of amino acids. It's important for all of us to get high-quality amino acids in our diet, through whole foods or supplements as this helps you maintain lean muscle mass, build more muscle if you are active and keep all of your organs and tissues healthy and functional.
Most protein-rich foods, such as lean poultry, lean red meats, dairy products, eggs, soy or other plant-based proteins have a high percentage of EAA’s and therefore are consumed through the protein we eat in a balanced diet.
You might consider additional sources of EAAs, if...
You exercise regularly, amino acid supplements encourage muscle strength and power gains, better body composition and greater resistance to fatigue.
You do any kind of fasting or are vegan, EAAs are an absolute consideration for optimising performance and preventing muscle loss.
You have a particularly busy stressful lifestyle, injury or sickness, then this can also take its toll and our bodies need some additional help through diet and supplementation.
NOT ALL SOURCES OF EAAs ARE EQUAL
EAAs are abundantly found in protein-rich foods however dietary protein still needs to be digested before they are accepted by the body.
Protein products like whey protein isolate absorb faster than dietary protein however free-form essential amino acids like those in Amino Recovery are the fastest way to absorb essential amino acids, making them a great way to deliver targeted benefits to our bodies.
HOW TO USE EAAs
Essential amino acids (EAAs / BCAAs) are one of the most well-researched performance enhancers there is. Depending on how you're consuming them, you ideally use them during a workout to ensure they're available when they are most needed to build and maintain muscle, and avoid fatigue.
EAA supplements are less common than BCAA because, in the past, essential amino acids have been hard to work with due to the inability to bind with water and bitter taste.