Recently in the fitness and supplement industry, essential amino acids have been becoming very popular and people have been flocking to them to help build muscle and get healthier. But, do you know what EAAs are? Do you need to supplement? Do you know the dosages?

In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about essential amino acids and the best EAA supplements for the following categories: overall, muscle building, allergen friendly, capsules, stimulants, and budget.

What are EAAs?

What is an essential amino acid? To start off, what are amino acids? Amino acids are essentially the building blocks for protein within your body. They are mostly made up of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. There is a total of 20 amino acids, with 9 of those being essential amino acids.

Amino acids are categorized in 3 categories: essential, conditionally essential, and nonessential.

Essential amino acids are the amino acids that cannot be naturally produced by your body. Conditionally essential amino acids vary based on individual circumstances. Circumstances such as illness, infancy, trauma, and pregnancy. Conditions or circumstances where your body cannot produce enough that is required.

For example, when your body goes through a serious injury or even for cancer patients, your body simply cannot produce enough arginine that it needs for recovery. Although arginine is considered a nonessential amino acid, in this circumstance it is considered conditionally essential and needs to be supplemented.

The same can be said for glycine during pregnancy due to the increased requirement for support of the pregnant person and their fetus. In this circumstance, glycine would be considered a conditionally essential amino acid.

List of Essential Amino Acids


Although leucine is considered an essential amino acid, it is also considered a branch chain amino acid, or a BCAA. Leucine makes up one third of the amino acid profile in BCAAs. These branch chain amino acids are ideal for muscle repair/growth and promoting protein synthesis. This simply means it has a chain branching off of its molecular structure.

In addition to its benefits in building muscle and protein synthesis, leucine also plays a factor in regulating your blood sugar levels, promoting the production of growth hormones and stimulating the healing of wounds.


Isoleucine is another essential amino acid that is classified as a branch chain amino acid. This makes it another amino acid aiding in muscle growth, with isoleucine helping in muscle metabolism and being heavily concentrated in muscle tissue.

In addition to the benefits towards muscle building, isoleucine also plays a crucial role in supporting your immune system, regulating energy within your body, and promoting hemoglobin production.


The final amino acid in the BCAA classification is valine. This amino acid helps to stimulate muscle growth within your body and muscle regeneration. It also is a factor in the control of energy production within your body.


The 4th essential amino acid in this list is histidine. Histidine produces histamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is crucial in digestion, immune response, sleep wake cycles, and sexual function.

Histidine is also integral in maintaining your myelin sheath, which is a barrier that surrounds your nerve cells for protection.


The next essential amino acid is lysine. This amino acid plays an important role in calcium absorption, protein synthesis, and the production of enzymes and hormones within your body.

It also plays a major role in immune support function and the production of energy, collagen, and elastin.


Methionine plays a major role in your body with metabolism and detoxification. It is also necessary for the absorption of selenium and zinc within your body. These minerals are crucial to your health. It is also a necessary factor in the process of tissue growth.


Phenylalanine is an important amino acid that aids in the production of the neurotransmitters tyrosine, epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It also plays a vital role in the function and the structure of enzymes and proteins. It also helps produce other amino acids.


Threonine is a principal part of structural proteins, such as collagen and elastin, which are important components of your skin and connective tissue.

It also plays a role in the metabolism of fat in your body and the function of your immune system.


This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep, and mood.

best EAAs review picture of mountains

Should I Supplement EAAs?

If you should supplement EAAs, depends on your needs. If you are looking to build muscle, you might be better off supplementing BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine). Considering branch amino acids are considered essential amino acids, supplementing EAAs would cover that base and more.

On the other hand, if you are currently consuming a high protein diet, are in a calorie surplus, don’t train fasted, or consume a pre/post workout meal high in carbohydrates and protein, then supplementing EAAs or BCAAs might not provide much of an additional benefit to you. This is because if you consume protein, especially complete proteins, then you are already consuming your daily value needed for these amino acids. A protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids is considered a complete protein.

If you are currently cutting weight, train on an empty stomach, or even don’t have time for a meal after your workout, you could benefit from supplementing EAAs. This is because the EAAs can help with preserving your muscles when losing weight for no calories.

This can also be great for those who are following an intermittent fasting diet because it offers the same benefits of having a post-workout protein shake towards protein synthesis without the added calories.

What do EAAs Do?

Although each essential amino acid has their own specific benefits and reason for usage, overall supplementation of them should be a thought if you are deficient.

They can be helpful when you are fasting because the essential amino acids could help prevent the catabolization of your muscles. Additionally, an essential amino acid shake could possibly provide you with fat oxidation benefits you might receive from a lack of glucose for energy that is utilized during your workout.

For those who are currently cutting weight, consuming an essential amino acid shake instead of a whey protein shake after your workout has been shown to be just as effective in muscle growth and protein synthesis without the added calories.


Mood Regulation

One key benefit of essential amino acids is the regulation of your mood. This benefit is thanks to tryptophan being a key factor in the production of serotonin within your brain. Serotonin is an essential chemical that controls many daily factors, such as mood, behaviors, and sleep. Depression has been shown to be caused by a low serotonin level in your brain.

Supplementing tryptophan can in turn help reduce the effects of depression and increase your mood. (1,2,3,4)

Athletic Performance and Muscle Recovery

Other benefits of essential amino acids are towards muscle recovery and athletic performance. Branch chain amino acids have been shown to help in the recovery of muscle.

The ideal amount of branch chain amino acids that should be consumed daily is 0.039 per pound of bodyweight. For example, a 150 lb individual would consume 5.85g of BCAAs per day.

BCAAs should be consumed with a ratio of 2:1:1 of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, respectively. Studies have shown that this ratio is optimal in improving performance, decreasing muscle soreness, and increasing muscle recovery, in comparison to a placebo group.

There have been 8 studies to show that BCAAs are beneficial in promoting muscle recovery and reducing soreness after an exhaustive exercise.

9 studies have also shown that supplementing BCAAs can help in reducing the damage and soreness in muscles after resistance exercise for active men.

Injury and Surgery Healing

Another benefit of supplementing essential amino acids is the assistance it provides in recovering from surgeries and injuries.

One study conducted with 243 people suffering from a pelvic fracture or other long bone fractures experienced lower death rates and/or medical complications after 2 weeks of supplementing essential amino acids, in comparison to the control group.

Another group of 20 studies showed that cancer patients that were supplementing BCAAs prior to a surgery, had reduced complications post-op from infections and fluid accumulation in the abdominal area.

Some studies have also shown that supplementing essential amino acids could help adults recovering from knee replacement surgery in preserving muscle volume.

best EAAs review image of man working out

How to Choose the Best Option

When choosing which is the best essential amino acid for yourself, there are some factors to keep in mind. First, you have to think about why you are supplementing with this product. Are you trying to build muscle? General Health?

If you are looking to supplement for its aid in protein synthesis, then you can look at products with additional ingredients, such as l-citrulline, l-glutamine, or even creatine.

Some also contain stimulants to be used as either a pre/intra workout or as a replacement to your cup of coffee in the morning. These stimulants are usually derived from extracts of green tea or green coffee bean. When choosing the best EAA product, keep in mind your personal goals and needs to make the most informed decision. To ensure safety, you should consult with your healthcare provider prior to supplementation, if you have a pre existing condition.

How to Take EAAs

  • Recommended by the world health organization for every 2.2 of BW
    • Histidine – 10mg
    • Isoleucine – 20mg
    • Leucine – 39mg
    • Lysine – 30mg
    • Methionine -10.4mg
    • Phenylalanine and Tyrosine – 25mg
    • Threonine – 15mg
    • Tryptophan – 4mg
    • Valine – 26mg

The 5 Best EAAs

Best Overall – Gorilla Mode EAA

Our choice for the best essential amino acid supplement is Gorilla Mode EAAs. Gorilla Mode is a company formed by the internet personality, Derek from This EAA supplement contained the highest dosages on the market without breaking the bank. It also comes in 3 flavors: Jungle Juice, Lemon Lime, Mango Peach.

Key Features:
  • Highest Dosages
  • Scientifically Backed
  • L-Lysine = 1,000mg
  • L-Threonine = 1,000mg
  • L-Phenylalanine = 650mg
  • L-Histidine = 600mg
  • L-Tryptophan = 450mg
  • L-Methionine = 300mg
  • L-Leucine = 4,000mg
  • L-Isoleucine = 2,000mg
  • L-Valine = 2,000mg
  • Effective Dosages for EAAs
  • Backed By Science
  • More Expensive than Alternatives
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Best for Muscle Building – Transparent Labs Intra Workout EAA

The best EAAs for muscle building is Transparent Labs Intra Workout. This EAA supplement was the winner for this category because of their inclusion of muscle building ingredients and ingredients to help you during your workout. In addition to EAAs, they also included Citrulline Malate, Taurine, Betaine, L-Tyrosine, Coconut Water Powder, and elevATP.

All of these ingredients can help you during your workout and help build muscle when recovering afterwards. Such as coconut water powder, which provides electrolytes, or L-Tyrosine, which can help you focus during your workout.

Unfortunately, Transparent Labs only offers 2 flavors: Blue Raspberry and Strawberry Lemonade.

Key Features:
  • Muscle Building Ingredients
  • No Artificial Sweeteners, Coloring, or Preservatives
  • L-Lysine HCL = 1.065g
  • L-Threonine = 500mg
  • L-Phenylalanine = 50mg
  • L-Histidine = 50mg
  • L-Tryptophan = 30mg
  • L-Methionine = 5mg
  • L-Leucine = 2,500mg
  • L-Isoleucine = 1,250mg
  • L-Valine = 1,250mg
  • Muscle Building Ingredients
  • Reputable Brand
  • Not Many Flavors
  • Under-Dosed on Some Amino Acids
Buy on Transparent Labs

Best Allergen Friendly – Naked Nutrition EAAs

The clear winner for the best EAAs that are allergen friendly are the Naked Nutrition EAAs. The company is built around the goal of creating pure supplements without any additives and they made no exception here. This EAA supplement is certified gluten free, certified vegan, GMO free, soy free, no additives, made in the USA, and contains no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

Key Features:
  • Certified Gluten Free and Certified Vegan
  • Allergen Friendly
  • Lysine = 1,200mg
  • Threonine = 1,200mg
  • Methionine = 900mg
  • Phenylalanine = 450mg
  • Histidine = 450mg
  • Tryptophan = 250mg
  • Leucine = 2,400mg
  • Isoleucine = 1,200mg
  • Valine = 1,200mg
  • Allergen Friendly
  • Effective Dosages
  • No Flavor Options
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Best for Capsules – Solgar Essential Amino Acid Complex

The best EAAs for a capsulated version are Solgar essential amino complex capsules. The reason that these were the winner for this category is because they are a long standing reputable company and are allergen friendly. Although the dosages are low for the individual amino acids, capsules will always have a smaller amount in comparison to the powdered version. If you are planning on supplementing EAAs, then we recommend you use the powdered version, unless you want the convenience of taking a capsule.

Despite the serving size saying one capsule, the suggested use it 2 capsules between meals and that will be reflected in its following EAA and BCAA profile.

Key Features:
  • Long Standing Reputable Company
  • Allergen Friendly
  • L-Lysine = 150mg
  • L-Methionine = 150mg
  • L-Phenylalanine = 150mg
  • L-Threonine = 150mg
  • L-Histidine = 150mg
  • L-Leucine = 150mg
  • L-Isoleucine = 150mg
  • L-Valine = 150mg
  • Reputable Brand
  • Convenient Capsules
  • Allergen Friendly
  • Expensive
  • Low Dosages
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Best for Stimulant – Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

The best EAA supplement that contains a stimulant is the Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy. This product comes from a reputable company that been around for a long time and has become very popular recently. It contains around 160mg of stimulants, so it can also be used as a pre/intra workout option.

One key thing to note is that it contains a proprietary blend of amino acids, so you will never truly know how much of each amino acid you are receiving in this product.

Key Features:
  • Long Standing Brand
  • 160mg of Stimulants
EAAs and BCAAs:
  • Proprietary Blend of 5g
  • Affordable Option
  • Effective Stimulant Dosage
  • 10 Flavors
  • Contains a Proprietary Blend
  • Artificial Ingredients and Food Dye
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Best for Budget – Nutricost EAA Powder

If you are on a budget, but still want to supplement your EAAs, then your best option would be the Nutricost EAA powder. They offer the lowest price per serving in comparison to other options on the market, while still preserving a high level of quality.

In addition to keeping the price down, they also have a strong EAA profile in each serving.

Key Features:
  • Low Cost Per Serving
  • Effective Dosages
  • L-Lysine HCl = 800mg
  • L-Threonine = 690mg
  • L-Phenylalanine = 350mg
  • L-Histidine = 100mg
  • L-Tryptophan = 50mg
  • L-Methionine = 10mg
  • L-Leucine = 3,000mg
  • L-Isoleucine = 1,500mg
  • L-Valine = 1,500mg
  • Effective Dosages
  • Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and Vegetarian
  • Contains Artificial Sweeteners
  • Only One Flavor
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Capsules or Powder?

Essential amino acid supplements can be found in the forms of powder, capsules, or even liquid. We suggest to consume in a powdered form, unless you would like the convenience of the tablets, but it comes down to preference. Some people might prefer to have a few capsules in the morning rather than have a sweet EAA powder mixed with water.

Can I Take EAAs on an Empty Stomach?

Yes, you can supplement EAAs or BCAAs on an empty stomach without any side effects. They do not contain any calories and are quickly absorbed by the body when they are taken on an empty stomach. If you are supplementing EAAs, it might help to supplement in the morning before breakfast in order to achieve the quickest level of absorption.

Do EAAs Help Burn Fat?

Although they primarily are not supplemented for weight or fat loss, essential amino acids may be able to aid in this function. Essential amino acids help to increase energy within your body and therefore, in addition to exercise and a diet, they might be able to help.

Which is Best for Muscle Growth?

If your main goal is to build muscle, then you will stand the most benefits from supplementing a BCAA supplement rather than an EAA supplement. Although BCAAs are considered EAAs, a higher concentration of these specific amino acids help more with the goal of building muscle. You could also choose an EAA supplement with a high concentration of BCAAs in them.


Whether you supplement branch chain amino acids or essential amino acids comes down to your personal needs. BCAA supplementation is mostly for the benefits of building and maintaining muscle mass, while EAA supplementation is more for individuals that are not receiving them from their daily diet. Although EAA supplementation could really be used for both purposes.

What is the Optimal EAA Ratio?

Although BCAAs most optimal ratio is a 2:1:1, with leucine, isoleucine, and valine, there is no optimal ratio for EAAs. In the “How to Take EAAs” section, you can find the optimal dosages you should supplement based on your bodyweight.

Are There 8 or 9 EAAs?

Some sources claim that histidine is not an essential amino acid and is rather considered a conditionally essential amino acid.

Certain individuals, such as infants and patients of uremia, are not able to produce enough histidine in their body.

Despite a small majority of individuals, it is generally accepted that histidine is considered an essential amino acid.

What Foods are EAAs Found In? 

  • Animal proteins, like meat eggs poultry
  • Plant foods, like edamame and tofu
  • Complete protein sources (contain all 9 EAAs)
    • Meat
    • Seafood
    • Poultry
    • Eggs
    • Dairy products
    • Soy and pea protein for plant based


In this article we went over everything from what essential amino acids are, what they do, how much you need, and the best EAAs for your specific needs.

Based on your personal needs, supplementing essential amino acids may not even be necessary and that should be a thought before you spend your money on a supplement that might not truly be worth the perceived benefits.


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