Often called the “building blocks of protein,” amino acids are organic compounds that makeup proteins. Humans need 20 amino acids for optimal functioning, but 11 of those are automatically produced by our body and do not need to be supplemented. The other nine amino acids aren’t produced by the body and must be obtained through the food we eat or by taking supplements. These nine are called the essential amino acids, or EAA, and they include histidine, isoleucine, lysine, leucine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Three of the nine EAA (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are called the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAA.
What’s the Difference Between BCAA & EAA?
The nine EAAs are very active in body performance. They have a whole host of functions, including playing a role in digestion, muscle development, tissue repair, maintaining energy, regulating mood and keeping hair, skin and nails healthy.
The trio of amino acids that make up the BCAA is especially important for fueling workouts and alleviating fatigue and soreness after you’re done, so it makes sense that BCAA supplements are often used by athletes to turbocharge their training and ease recovery. What are BCAA and EAA supplements? Simply put, they’re pills or powders which contain those three or nine essential amino acids, respectively, and sometimes other powerhouse ingredients like magnesium or caffeine.
Do I Need Both BCAA & EAA?
While some may wonder if EAA are better than BCAA, it’s actually not the case that one is better than the other. A lot of people ask if they can take EAA and BCAA together and the answer is a resounding yes. More and more people are now opting to supplement with both EAA and BCAA. Why? Taking an EAA at the same time as a BCAA supplement will dramatically increase your energy levels and mood while driving protein synthesis. There have been studies done showing that higher levels of BCAA in your blood will increase the effectiveness of the EAA supplement.
When Should I Take BCAA & EAA?
You can get benefits from taking EAA and BCAA any time, but you’ll get the best results if you take them during your workout, or right after. The best time to take your dose of EAA is right after your workout to help increase anabolic rates and help with soreness. Increasing anabolic rates can help the body build muscle mass.