For the past year or so, a number of studies have been going on to see what effect BCAAs have on muscle growth and fat loss. BCAAs — or Branch Chain Amino Acids — are amino acids that have been shown to improve the overall health of muscle tissue and, in the right amounts, have been claimed to increase fat loss and improve muscle growth.
Amino acids are essential building blocks of protein, which is the body’s building block for muscles, organs, skin, and hair. The body also uses amino acids to produce hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. All amino acids are naturally found in foods, but are not synthesized by the body.
Amino acids are essential to our survival, so we need to get them from our diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. While all amino acids are essential, certain ones are better than others when it comes to building and repairing our muscles. Those that are the most effective in the gym are called BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids. These include: leucine, valine, isoleucine and methionine.Now that protein and protein supplements have become a secular sanction for the modern world, they have begun to spread their health and fitness aura to normal people who just fetishize good nutrition. In this article, I compare these two touted supplements: Essential amino acids versus BCAAs (EAAs versus BCAAs).
Like some kind of universal elixir, you’ll find countless labels on all the counters saying: Packed with protein, saturated with EAA and good BCAAs.
Wouldn’t it be better if all the boxes said squirrel? This way it is easy and painless for you to pick it up and take it home.
That’s where the trouble starts. As simple as it sounds, increasing your protein levels can be a daunting task, especially when you have a lot of names in mind, the two most important of which are amino acids and BCAAs.
It’s amazing how little information is available online to help you choose a camp or just to learn the differences between BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) and EAAs (essential amino acids). And right now, as you read this, you are in the right place.
We’ll talk more about it in this post:
As the title clearly indicates, we will find out what factors differentiate BCAAs from amino acids, the benefits of both, what supplements you should be taking to achieve your nutrition and fitness goals, and finally we will compare BCAAs with amino acids.
But first of all, aren’t BCAAs amino acids? What? Yes, and the question is, why do we say it’s different from other amino acids? The answer lies in its structure, which distinguishes it from others, including properties.
Before we dive into a crucial battle, let’s understand what BCAAs and amino acids mean.
What are amino acids or EAA?
Anyone who has paid close enough attention in biology class knows that amino acids are a broader term that includes BCAAs. The building blocks of proteins are organic compounds consisting of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
To continue the course, our bodies need 20 different amino acids to remain in a stable and functional state. Therefore, these organic compounds are divided into three segments:
- Essential amino acids (EAA) : These are amino acids that are not produced by the body itself. So they have to come from outside, ideally from your diet. These are histidine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine and valine.
The last three PPAs form the basis of the BCAAs, but it is not necessary to go into them in detail: We will discuss this in detail in the next chapter.
- Irreplaceable amino acids: There are 11 amino acids that are classified as essential. As their name implies, these amino acids are produced by the body itself and therefore do not need to be supplied by an external source (1).
- Conditionally essential amino acids : The amino acids in this segment are generally essential amino acids that the body cannot produce itself under certain circumstances. Arginine, for example, is originally an essential amino acid, but in diseases such as cancer, the body stops producing it.
This means that arginine must now be supplemented from the diet or other sources in order to function properly (2).
Irreplaceable amino acids are commonly called conditional amino acids in situations of illness or stress.
What are BCAAs?
The BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids mentioned above are amino acids with a slightly different structure.
Composed of three EAAs, namely leucine, isoleucine and valine, BCAAs make up about 35% of the body’s muscle proteins.
Due to the non-linear or branched configuration of the carbon atoms, BCAAs help maintain muscle glycogen, which helps you last longer during your workouts.
Leucine, a key component of BCAAs, stimulates MPS, which in turn activates the mTOR pathway, promoting muscle growth and lowering blood sugar.
Two other amino acids have not been as thoroughly studied as leucine, but they promote glucose utilization and stimulate the central nervous system and tissue repair, respectively.
EAAs vs BCAAs – who wins?
At this point, the tone is finally raised. Although BCAAs are amino acids themselves, they belong to a completely different category. Since both are equally important to be absorbed in optimal amounts from the diet, the issue of supplementing the body with protein is quite controversial.
The difference between BCAAs and EAAs is that essential amino acids, or EAAs, are the electrical current that turns everything on, while BCAAs are the control switch that sets the course for achieving your fitness goals. BCAAs or EAAs alone cannot cause weight gain or loss.
However, the eternally vexed question of which is more important for your workout – EAAs or BCAAs – has its own solution, clouded by three key factors:
- The amount of each amino acid that you get through your diet, not counting supplements.
- Your fitness goals.
- The benefits you want from protein.
Benefits of BCAA
The synthesis of new muscle tissue may not happen as easily if you eat only one source of protein. That’s where BCAAs come in handy.
The hype around BCAA supplements as a source of protein that magically helps you build muscle has (ironically) passed as quickly as it was ignited (3).
One thing you can be sure of: They really help build lean muscle mass and improve endurance. Due to their fast and lightning fast absorption into the body when taken orally, BCAAs offer even more benefits and are doubly effective in the following areas:
- Improve the effectiveness of exercise : If you’re lying on the couch after only thirty minutes of working out, you really need a boost. On the contrary, BCAAs give you a boost. The intake of BCAA supplements reduces the effects of intense workouts and also increases endurance during training.
- Recovery from injuries and muscle pain: BCAAs are especially valued for their ability to promote rapid recovery of sore muscles. By lowering the levels of enzymes that cause muscle damage after exercise, BCAAs protect against further muscle damage and ensure rapid recovery.
- Keep the sugar level up: Research shows that leucine and isoleucine increase insulin secretion, which ultimately leads to lower blood sugar levels.
The first two amino acids in BCAAs increase the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps maintain blood sugar levels in the body.
- Improved appetite : In fact, with a high-protein diet, you can satisfy your appetite without gaining a bulky body. Because BCAAs can help maximize MPS, they are a great solution for suppressing appetite.
Getting enough protein to reach your fitness goals is just like getting it in during your workouts at the gym. In this case, BCAAs do not trigger a satiety response until you have eaten enough protein to build new muscle tissue.
Essential amino acids or EAA Benefits
The other six essential amino acids are also an essential requirement of the body. While the BCAAs offer a wide range of benefits, the other six PPAs offer an even more comprehensive set of rewards.
- L-Methionine : This amino acid supports and helps maintain healthy liver function (4) and is involved in the production of cysteine, a sulfur-containing molecule.
L-methionine is essential for the production of collagen, a substance that helps to improve the complexion of the skin, make the connective tissue strong and elastic and keep the blood vessels free of fatty substances.
It also helps to give your hair a natural shine and softness thanks to keratin, which is produced in the presence of methionine in the body.
Long live hair care!
- L-Phenylalanine: It helps produce amino acids and molecules such as tyrosine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, which contribute to mood, cognition and learning ability.
- Lysine: Lysine is essential for optimal growth and crucial for the production of carnitine; it also indirectly contributes to the maintenance of cholesterol levels. Lysine is also involved in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes that support and strengthen the immune system.
- L-tryptophan: It is an essential amino acid that contributes to the production of the hormone serotonin. In the brain, serotonin helps regulate mood, fight anxiety, improve sleep and maintain happiness levels.
Summary: This amino acid is your lucky pill! (pun intended)
- L-threonine: It promotes normal growth by maintaining the proper balance of proteins in the body and supports the immune system, cardiovascular system, nervous system and liver.
Threonine contributes to the formation of strong bones and strong tooth enamel, and supports the immune system by promoting the production of antibodies that accelerate the healing and repair process.
- L-Histidine: It contributes to tissue repair, blood cell formation, growth promotion and myelin sheath maintenance.
Histidine is metabolized in the body to histamine, which is an essential compound involved in local immune responses and reproductive health. It promotes the proper functioning of the intestine and improves digestion.
When should I take EAA supplements?
If you work out at the gym, amino acid supplements make a big difference. BCAAs, on the other hand? Not really. You get enough BCAAs from a healthy diet.
When comparing EAAs and BCAAs, EAAs are important and should be prioritized, while BCAAs in supplement form are optional, since one gets them through the diet anyway.
Supplementing with BCAAs is your choice. It can promote muscle growth and quick recovery from muscle soreness, but it can’t deliver even half of its maximum potential if it doesn’t contain the full amino acids.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, here’s the answer: EAA or just the term compound amino acids far surpasses them. Simply put, BCAAs and supplements derived from them are a great option for recovering muscles from muscle soreness while promoting growth.
The complete amino acid profile, especially the six EAAs, is very useful and important for maximizing your muscle building potential and maintaining an athletic physique.
BCAAs do not cause an impressive protein synthesis response compared to EAAs, which take much longer. Although leucine is an important amino acid for increasing muscle protein synthesis, only BCAAs support this response.
Robert Wolfe suggested in his study that BCAAs are an incomplete protein source that can have an adverse effect on muscle growth if the body lacks sufficient amino acids, especially EAAs. BCAAs synergize and synthesize amino acids from other parts of the body when EAAs are in short supply, lowering the protein concentration in the body.
BCAAs catabolize existing EAAs.
BCAA supplementation itself can take some time for results to become apparent, but taking BCAAs without BCAA supplementation is like attending a Destiny Child concert, except Rihanna doesn’t perform the song.
You don’t want that.
From a nutritional standpoint, BCAAs and EAAs are equally important. However, when working out, amino acids are more important than BCAAs to get the most out of those hard training hours.
The human body uses 30 different amino acids to build proteins, which are then used to create new cells, muscles, bones and other tissues. However, only a few of those amino acids are essential, meaning your body cannot produce them on its own and they must be consumed in your food. There are nine amino acids that can be considered the “building blocks” of proteins (called the essential amino acids or EAA’s) that must be taken in through food.. Read more about essential amino acid supplement reviews and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is better EAA or BCAA?
BCAA is better than EAA.
Can you take EAAs and BCAAs together?
Yes, you can take EAAs and BCAAs together.
Should I take BCAA and amino acids?
Some people take BCAA and amino acids to help with muscle recovery.
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