BCAA Vs. EAA: Amino Acids
What is the difference between BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids)? And which one should we use?
It is actually a trick question because the three BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) are also three of the nine EAA’s. So all BCAA’s are EAA’s, but not all EAA’s are BCAA’s. Get it?
The reason why essential amino acids are called ‘essential’ is because the body doesn’t produce these amino acids on their own but are accrued in the body via protein dense foods and supplementation.
In the last decade Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have gathered a massive amount of interest in the world of sports nutrition. Supplementing with BCAA’s was originally just a thearetical idea to boost muscle myofibrillar protein synthesis but has since been proven in studies to increase results & muscle myofibrillar protein synthesis by 22% when used.
But using only the three BCAA’s it is a lot like fielding a baseball team with only a shortstop, pitcher, and catcher. They may very well be the three most important positions, but you certainly can’t expect to win any game without the rest of the team.
The same 2007 study that showed 22% increase in muscle myofibrillar protein synthesis continued on to show that when BCAA’s were used in conjunction with the 6 other EAA’s, results were boosted by another 50%!!!!
To put more simply, amino acid/intra workout products with all 9 EAA’s are severly higher in building more muscle.
So why are people still buying amino acids/ intra workouts without additional EAAS?
a very simple answer is habit. As EAA’s were not readily available on shelves when BCAA’s were making waves, customers and employees in supplement stores are just in a habit of thinking BCAA’s are doing the job good enough already. Now thats not to say BCAA stand alone products have no justice. If your diet is high enough in protein & your BCAA product has additional ingredients focusing towards a particular fitness goal, who’s to say your not getting your daily amino acid intake.
A BCAA product like Scivation’s Xtend Ripped is a simple 7g 2:1:1 ratio of branched chain amino acids with fat burning ingredients like Capsimax, CLA & L-carnitine. This is perfectly adequate to use provided your diet is rich in protein & your aim is burn as much calories as possible.
In summary, we would recommend when choosing what amino acid product to use, choose one with added EAA’s just to be safe that you are getting enough essential amino acids in your daily intake.