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Why you should be using EAA’s instead of BCAA’s

Why you should be using EAA’s instead of BCAA’s

Branched Chain Amino Acid’s or BCAA’s for short were considered a staple in most peoples supplement stacks. In recent times however Essential Amino Acid’s (EAA’s) have surged in popularity and today we will dive in to see why you should be using EAA’s over the once popular BCAA’s

A popular use of BCAA’s was for them to be used as an intra workout drink. Countless studies showed that the ingestions of BCAA’s (which comprised of the three aminos leucine, isoleucine and valine) initiated the muscle recovery process after exercise. Whilst training your muscles are being broken down, this process will continue post training until the body is given a signal to start the recovery process – enter BCAA’s!

To activate the bodies ‘switch’ from breaking down to repairing is a process called Muscle Protein Synthesis. Whilst BCAAs were activating muscle protein synthesis there was still many questions left unanswered, just what amino or amino's were responsible - was it one of the amino acids contained in BCAA’s?, All 3 of them? Or what could happen if we ingested all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs)?

A 2017 study looked to answer this question (study can viewed here) . Participants were given the following:

  • Water (placebo)
  • BCAAs
  • EAAs

The study showed that ingesting BCAAs stimulated muscle protein synthesis 22% more than that of the placebo group. This result however was 50% less than the previous reported muscle protein synthesis response to a dose of complete protein i.e. EAAs !

The report concluded that ingesting BCAAs alone does not maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis following exercise, to do so you must include all 9 essential amino acids which are found in EAAs: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.



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