Supplements are requirements for people working out and those who want to maintain a healthy muscle mass as they age. The problem is that there are so many options that many people have trouble knowing what to take. Amino acids are some of the most common supplements in the market. They are popular with sportsmen and women, gym-goers, and aging people who want to age gracefully as they retain muscle mass.
If you want to know what they really are, here is what you should know about EAAs and BCAAs:
What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are essential compounds formed when your body breaks down proteins. They are necessary for vital body functions, such as synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones.
They are considered as the vital blocks that build up proteins.
20 amino acids are helpful in supporting your body functions. Out of these, 9 are essential while the rest are non-essential.
Amino acids are categorized as either non-essential or essential.
Your body can make non-essential amino acids in the quantities that it requires. Unless you have an underlying problem that may hinder the production of these amino acids in your body, you are not likely to have a deficiency of non-essential amino acids.
Conditional non-essential amino acids include those that your body needs in large amounts under specific conditions. One example of a conditional non-essential amino acid is arginine.
Your body makes it in enough quantities to support normal body function. If you have a disease like cancer, however, the amounts that your body requires outweigh what your body makes. This makes it necessary for you to supplement this non-essential amino acid.
What are EAAs?
The other category of amino acids is the essential amino acids (EAAs). They are essential since the body does not produce them, and you have to supply them through food sources or supplements.
The nine known essential amino acids are lysine, valine, leucine, histidine, methionine, isoleucine, threonine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan.
They are the amino acids that you need to boost your muscle growth, especially if you are involved in sports and heavy physical activities. They are particularly useful in the elderly since they help to maintain muscle mass.
Taking foods rich in proteins boosts the levels of these nutrients in your body. If you are on a vegan diet, foods like hemp seeds, spirulina, chia seeds, quinoa, and buckwheat will give you some of EAAs that your body needs.
To give your body a full supply of EAAs, however, you may need supplements. This mostly applies to sportsmen and women, gym enthusiasts, and those who do manual work. Apart from supporting your muscle growth, they are also helpful in enhancing your immunity and blood flow.
EAAs supplements are good since they give you a full supply of all the nine amino acids that your body requires, including valine, leucine, and isoleucine that make up BCAAs.
The Role of Essential Amino Acids
It is useful in the production of enzymes and hormones. It is important in the formation of elastin and collagen, both of which are vital for your skin and hydration. They help the skin to stretch and come back to shape, and when it is pricked, they help it to recover. Lysine will help your body to absorb calcium and boost your immunity.
Valine is important in your body because it stimulates the growth of your muscles. It is also used in generating energy in your body cells.
This amino acid helps to produce growth hormones, regulate your blood sugar levels, and speed up muscle repair. It is also responsible for the quick healing of wounds in your body.
Histidine is useful in the production of histamine, the neurotransmitter that works to boost your immunity, aid in digestion, as well as improve your sexual functions. Your body also needs it to form the myelin sheath, the protective layer that wraps around your nerve endings.
This amino acid helps your body in hemoglobin production as well as enhancing muscle metabolism. It is also an immune booster and is responsible for regulating energy production and its use in your muscles.
For your body to absorb zinc and selenium for a healthy diet, you need sufficient amounts of methionine. It also helps to detoxify your body and regulates immunity.
It controls the serotonin levels in your body. Serotonin is what regulates your sleep, appetite, and mood in your brain.
Threonine is key in the formation of both collagen and elastin. Both of which allow elasticity of your skin. It is also a factor in your immune functions and metabolism.
Phenylalanine is one of the most important amino acids because it regulates. It controls the release of other amino acids by regulating the hormones that enhance their production.
What are BCAAs?
Branched amino acids (BCAAs) are a form of essential amino acids. Your body does not produce them, which makes them an essential amino acid.
The name, branched amino acids, comes from their molecular structure, in which they look like a tree with branches.
BCAAs are made up of 3 different amino acids, Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. Out of all of the amino acids, these 3 are the only ones with this distinct structure. You can often find BCAAs in common food sources too. Products like chicken, fish, and eggs all are great sources of BCAAs.
Common foods like those that contain BCAAs can account for 40% of your daily amount of BCAAs. For most people, they don’t eat enough to achieve the full daily amount and have to supplement the other 60%.
BCAA supplements were primarily made to make up for what you cant supply your body with during the day. A fun fact that most people don’t know is that BCAA supplements are plant-based. They are actually carefully obtained from controlled plants to ensure no contamination with anything else. Plants used for most BCAA supplements are also non-GMO.
BCAA supplements all generally follow the same ratio of BCAAS. Most contain a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, but you can find others that can have a 4:1:1 or 8:1:1 ratio.
Which is Better to Supplement?
Recently, there has been some debate on whether EAAs or BCAAs are better to supplement. Chances are if you are also reading this then you also want to know the answer.
EAAs and BCAAs can both be equally as important when building and maintaining strong and healthy muscles. They help you to retain catabolism, which is a state where your body synthesizes just enough protein to prevent muscle break down.
Most people have considered BCAAs a staple requirement for their heavy work out dietary needs. When you take them in the right ratio, they will give you targeted support for your muscles, immunity, and recovery after a workout. This is important for you if you are on a rigorous training plan.
While most people are turning to EAAs to get a full supply of essential amino acids, you may need to consider the ratios of the ingredients. This is important, especially if you want targeted support for your muscle growth and recovery.
Pure BCAAs have higher quantities of branched-chain amino acids. When you take them, they give you a quick boost, which may not be the case with EAAs. EAAs may have lower quantities of BCAAs than what you need to sustain your muscles and prolong your active lifestyle.
EAAs are better when you want whole health support, while BCAAs are good for when you need something that will get to the muscles and improve their performance and healthy growth. Studies show that essential amino acids work collaboratively. When you take all of them together, you have higher chances of them supporting each other to give you the health benefits you want from your supplements. This research advocates that you take EAAs so that you can get more comprehensive health benefits.
Should I Supplement Either?
EAAs will benefit you if you want to boost your general health as well as boost your muscle growth. They are ideal because they contain all the 9 essential amino acids. You should use them if there is a chance that your diet does not support your vigorous lifestyle, especially if you are not taking the required daily amounts of proteins.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, you should take between 1.4g and 2g of protein to support heavy demands if you are highly active. This means that if you weigh about 150 pounds, you need about 136g. Most people do not meet this requirement, thus necessitating their need for EAAs.
However, EAAs may not have enough quantities of branched amino acids that support growth. As such, you may still lose muscle mass even when you are taking your EAAs supplement. This makes EAAs good for general health-boosting but not the best for supplementing your sports diet, especially if you are following a strict training diet.
If you are keen on your diet, you can get enough amounts of essential amino acids. In this case, you may only need extra amounts to keep up with the increased demand due to your highly active lifestyle. In this case, consider taking BCAAs to get enough amounts of amino acids that support muscle growth and reduce muscle breakdown.
Amino acids are vital dietary compounds that your body needs to support daily functions. One category consist essential amino acids while the other consist non-essential amino acids. Your body produces non-essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for all its requirements. In total, there are 11 non-essential amino acids and 9 essential amino acids.
Moreover, there is a group of essential amino acids that you may need to supplement under some conditions. These are called conditional non-essential amino acids, and your body may need more of them if you are struggling with a disease like cancer.
Your body does not produce essential amino acids, which implies that you have to ingest them to keep your body functioning optimally. They are important to the body, and when you do not take enough of them, you compromise the healthy growth of your muscles as well as your general health.
Amino acids are found in protein-rich foods. You can get them from plants if you are on a vegan diet. However, your food may not have sufficient amounts of amino acids to satisfy your daily requirements. As such, you will need to use supplements, especially if you are on a workout plan.
EAAs consist of all the 9 essential amino acids. They are good for you when you want to enhance your general health because they support your muscle growth, enhance recovery post-training, as well as maintain your muscles. EAAs supplements are ideal for those who are not able to take a balanced diet that is appropriate for an active lifestyle.
If your diet is right for your highly demanding workouts, and you are only looking for supplements that will boost your muscle growth, quicken your recovery, and reduce your muscle collapse, BCAAs are the best supplements for you.