Amino acids are one of the most studied performance enhancers in the last 40 years. Of the many aminos acid supplements available, branched-chain aminos (BCAAs) are the most popular amongst athletes. Some performance athletes swear by their benefits for muscle gain, recovery, and athletic performance. 

But BCAAs may not be as great for muscle building and performance as you think.

New research has shown BCAAs may actually slow the rate of muscle gain and may even have negative effects on overall health.

So, what do you choose? If BCAAs aren’t fantastic for performance, how do you know which amino acid supplement to consider?

Well, the truth is, choosing the right amino acid supplement can be tricky. If you choose the wrong one, it can have detrimental effects on your well-being. On the other hand, choosing the right amino acid supplement can support your overall health and accelerate your fitness goals in powerful ways. 

Here’s an amino acid supplement to consider: Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids (EAAs) have all of the benefits of BCAAs and then some. The scientific literature backs them up as one of the best supplements you can take to enhance your athletic performance, recovery, and overall health.

So Wait, What Are Amino Acids Again?

Amino acids are the main building blocks of protein. They act as the catalyst for nearly every chemical process in the body. They support processes like protein synthesis, muscle gain, brain function, hormone regulation, metabolism, and more. There are 20 amino acids in total, and all of them are necessary to make the magic happen for your health and performance.

Okay, so what are EAAs and how do they help my performance?

Of the 20 total amino acids you can have, nine are classified as essential. Essential amino acids are the ones that the body can’t make by itself. They must be eaten or consumed through diet. EAAs are easily found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, and eggs, and of course, amino acid supplements. 

Each EAA plays a different role in supporting the body. Here are the top nine EAAs and what they do to support your health and performance: 

  • Lysine plays a role in growth hormone secretion, which supports muscle repair and recovery. It’s also an important part of structural proteins like collagen and elastin, which help build strong connective tissue.
  • Methionine helps the body process and eliminate fat, promotes heart health, and supports the liver to eliminate toxins in the body.
  • Phenylalanine has pain-killing and anti-depressant effects and is important for processing norepinephrine and dopamine. It also helps the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are important for a healthy nervous system.
  • Threonine promotes a healthy metabolism and immune system. Like Lysine, it’s also an important component of structural proteins and connective tissue.
  • Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, which manages sleep, appetite, and mood. It also has pain-suppressing qualities and can increase pain tolerance during hard workouts or competitions.
  • Leucine is essential for protein synthesis, blood sugar regulation, and producing growth hormones.
  • Isoleucine helps prevent muscles from breaking down during exercise, which may support faster recovery.
  • Valine helps stimulate muscle regeneration and is involved in energy production. It’s also important for immune function, hemoglobin production, and energy regulation.
  • Histidine is a precursor to histamine, which can help the body respond to free radicals produced during exercise. It’s also a precursor to carnosine, which turns lactic acid back into usable fuel and reduces soreness.

So, Here’s the Problem With BCAAs

The popular benefits that many people associate with BCAAs, like muscle growth and performance enhancement are often overstated, misunderstood, and sometimes flat out wrong.

A recent meta-analysis of research conducted between 1985 and 2017 revealed zero human studies in which BCAAs alone were responsible for more efficient protein synthesis or improved athletic performance.

In fact, the meta-analysis discussed two studies that found that BCAAs actually decreased muscle protein synthesis and instead increased the catabolic rate of lean tissue. This means that muscle was being broken down faster than it was repaired.

The catabolic state was so aggressive with BCAAs because the body was trying to find the other EAAs to complete protein synthesis. But it couldn’t. Without having all of the EAAs, the body was left with no choice but to break down muscle in order to find the last six aminos that were missing.

In other words, BCAAs don’t work on their own. All of the EAAs are necessary to complete protein synthesis and muscle growth.

The study concluded that the idea that BCAA supplements alone stimulate muscle growth or produce an anabolic response is entirely untrue. And that’s just the beginning. In addition to being ineffective for building muscle or faster recovery, BCAAs can also have a negative  impact on one’s overall health:

EAAs Are Better Than BCAAs and Here’s Why

The verdict is in: EAAs beat out BCAAs as the best amino acid supplement, and their benefits go far beyond building muscle.

Even though BCAAs are still essential for human health and actually serve as a good source of fuel for workouts, they simply don’t build muscle without the help of EAAs. 

Here’s how EAAs can support your performance in ways that BCAAs cannot: 

As you can see, providing your body with the full spectrum of EAAs—rather than just a few of the BCAAs—has a myriad of benefits that extend far beyond muscle-building. Think of it this way: BCAAs start the race, but the other six EAAs finish the race.

Conclusion

EAAs are a true nutritional powerhouse that can help you optimize your training, recovery, sleep, mood, and so much more.

However, finding a quality EAA supplement can prove to be challenging. Many EAA supplements have added sugar, stimulants, artificial ingredients, or extra calories.

But there’s one EAA supplement that has all of the benefits and none of the junk: Kion Aminos. 

Kion Aminos is one of the cleanest, most effective amino acid supplements available, with a whopping 99% absorption rate, that makes them ready to be used by the body in just 30 minutes. 

But don’t just take our word for it. See how Kion Aminos have helped our customers. 

Here’s what customer Kerry H. said, “I’ve been taking Kion Aminos for a year now and I have noticed a complete change in my energy throughout the day. They taste delicious and allow me to push through the day with a clear head. They even help after my workout when I am fasting by reducing my appetite...”

And Vince M. says, “Since taking Kion Aminos I notice more energy during my workouts and less soreness after my workouts. I enjoy them so much I have recommended them to others in my gym.”

See why others are raving about Kion Aminos here.

 

What other questions do you have about EAAs? What’s the most interesting benefit you’ve experienced from them? Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below!

Comments

  • Thank you Ben, as always the articles that you present are educational.

    Ruby on

  • As an old college biology major who was drafted by the NFL, and currently maintains an active lifestyle, I have always sought out how and why the body works as well or, as poorly as it does. When information and data began being published about EAA’S and BCAA’s I wanted to learn more. Thank you for your informative write up. This kind of material is a “must know” subject matter. What can be done to make it more prevalent?

    Bob Hunt on

  • Very informative article. Eaa’s for me. Thanks

    Mark Kirkpatrick on

  • Thanks

    Jack DeGidio on

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