Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) have become an extremely popular trend in the sports nutrition market.
USN recently released All9™ Amino, for example. This complete sugar-free amino stack is ideal for hydration, stamina and muscle recovery. The product contains a 2:1:1 ratio of naturally fermented Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and additional EAAs.
But what’s all the fuss about, you may ask? EAAs are marketed as a supplement that assists athletes and fitness enthusiasts to improve performance levels and enhance recovery rates, but just how essential are these amino acids? Aren’t BCAAs enough?
Understanding amino acids
Before we discuss the importance and benefits of EAAs, it’s important to understand more about these amino acids.
Our bodies use amino acids as “building blocks” to create protein, which is the primary constituent of muscle tissue. When we eat or drink protein, our body breaks this macronutrient down into its basic amino acids components during the digestion process.
The body will then utilise these amino acids for various important biological purposes, including rebuilding and repairing damaged muscle tissue.
Amino acids can be categorised into two groups, namely EAAs and Non-Essential Amino Acids. EAAs are considered essential because the body cannot produce them. As such, we need to obtain them from our diet, either from whole foods or from supplements.
On the other hand, the body can produce Non-Essential Amino Acids. It is, therefore, unnecessary to supplement with these amino acids.
The link between BCAAs & EAAs
It’s important to understand that BCAAs, of which there are three – leucine, isoleucine and valine – form part of the broader EAA group, which comprises nine amino acids in total.
According to scientific literature, EAAs have been proven to do deliver the following benefits:
Enhance muscle growth
Leucine has been scientifically proven to promote protein synthesis (muscle development). It has also been noted in scientific literature that leucine is more effective when combined with a complete range of EAAs.
Reduce next-day muscle soreness
Certain studies suggest that BCAAs can help to reduce the magnitude of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS as they reduce protein breakdown during training. This can limit the amount of microtrauma in muscles to reduce excessive muscle damage.
Reduce exercise fatigue
Consuming EAAs increases free form amino acids in the blood, which will reduce the effects of serotonin – a hormone that induces the sensation of mental fatigue.
EAAs can prevent muscle wastage by maintaining the body’s anabolic state by reducing catabolism (muscle tissue breakdown) and enhancing muscle protein synthesis (creating new muscle fibres).
Aids general health and wellbeing
Lysine assists in important bodily functions such as bone health, regulating hormones, antibodies and enzymes, and also provides antiviral effects. Histidine improves tissue repair and red blood cell production. EAAs are also involved in processes that enhance skin and nail health.
Based on their many benefits, EAAs are a great supplement to include in your plan to build muscle, enhance recovery and improve endurance, and for optimal health and wellbeing. It’s definitely an essential supplement, which you can use any time of day, every day!
References available here.