EAA or BCAA: which one to choose?

In a gym, one quickly notices people who have a well built and imposing body. To obtain such physiques, these people have, for the most part, resorted to faithful allies who are the food supplements. Among the long list of dietary supplements, we often hear about EAA or BCAA. The term EAA is an acronym that stands for Essential Amino Acids in English.

These amino acids are often found alongside BCAA's in a sports nutrition store. These two products are very generally a headache because of their common points. However, they have some differences that should be mentioned. Which of these products should we choose: EAA or BCAA?

What do I need to know about the EAA?

Essential amino acids, known as EAA, refer to the 9 essential amino acids contained in muscle proteins. Indeed, proteins are composed of a total of 20 amino acids, 9 of which cannot be synthesized by the body itself. These 9 amino acids are thus provided by food supplements and foods that are well supplied with proteins. These essential amino acids are :

  • Leucine;
  • Isoleucine;
  • Valine;
  • The amino acid methionine;
  • Lysine;
  • The amino acid phenylalanine;
  • Threonine;
  • Histidine;
  • The amino acid tryptophan.

Among these 9 known essential amino acids, there are also the BCAAs. In fact, BCAAs are also essential amino acids, but EAAs contain all 9 of the aminogram.

How is the EAA used?

EAAs are used much like BCAAs, just like any other type of protein. They can be consumed during workouts and important meals of the day. It usually depends on your goals and the times of day you take them.

These amino acids therefore have a much wider range of action than that attributed to BCAAs. This is in no way a way to demonstrate the superiority of EAA over BCAA.

When should I take EAA?

a shirtless and muscular man does push-ups at the gym
Before sports training

They can be taken before starting a training session in order to decrease the muscle frequency. They can also allow the optimization of protein synthesis. As soon as a training session ends, they can be taken to better prepare the body to recover properly.

Taking EAAs during the peri-training period helps to promote the post-exercise anabolic response. These essential amino acids can therefore be taken before and after sports sessions in order to better grow muscles. Their consumption is also a good way to regulate the recovery period of the body.

What dosage of EAA is appropriate?

On a daily basis, one should generally opt for a consumption of 10 g of EAA for important results. This dosage can be split into two equal parts, the first part of which can be taken before the session.

The second part should be taken after the training session for a satisfactory result. It is not necessary to take it every day, if you can provide your body with enough protein.


For a long time, the attention of athletes has been drawn to the ability of BCAAs to easily build muscle. However, by reading the composition of EAA, we realize that they go much further than what BCAAs offer.

In addition to the BCAAs, EAAs also have 5 essential amino acids in addition. We also notice that the isoleucine and valine levels of EAA are almost identical to some types of BCAAs.

What do you need to know about BCAAs?

BCAA's are a beautiful composition of 3 known essential amino acids such as :

  • Leucine;
  • Isoleucine;
  • Valine.

These 3 amino acids ensure a good muscular development and make it possible to keep the performances with the good fixed. These performances are possible by reducing the catabolism and by increasing the realization of the protidic synthesis.

BCAA's are well known in the sports world because of their great ability to build muscle mass. In addition, they are very effective in the area of fatigue reduction, and are a lifesaver in workouts.

These amino acids bring a great reserve in energy, and this very quickly, at the level of the muscular fibers after their absorption. There are several types of BCAA whose portions go from 2.1.1 to 10.1.1, in order to satisfy more the needs.

The number 2 or 10 expresses the leucine content, while the other numbers refer to isoleucine and valine.

Why do BCAAs combine these amino acids?

Studies carried out on amino acids have shown that these branched amino acids have a particular action. Indeed:

  • Leucine starts the protein synthesis and allows progress. Its absence prevents the other amino acids from being properly absorbed;
  • Isoleucine and valine are used as fuel for the muscles when the muscle glycogen reserves are exhausted;
  • A 22% increase in protein synthesis has been shown in studies with BCAAs. This increase is recorded after consuming 5.6g of BCAAs following a workout.

This combination of amino acids is very appreciated by the people who use it.

How are BCAAs used?

BCAAs are generally used before, during and after workouts. These powdered amino acids are actually the easiest to use because you can just mix them in a shaker. As soon as they are put in the shaker, they can be consumed when you want them.

BCAA's are also available in capsules or tablets and give the same privileges as the powder formula. You should still be aware that powdered BCAAs are the least economical category available.

However, BCAA's should be consumed two or three times a day, at dosages of 5g to produce an effect. Protein synthesis and recovery are best enhanced on rest days with a single 10g intake.

BCAAs provide more energy

Man running and sprinting on road with sunset background
More energy to work out

Energy intake is vital for athletes, as it allows them to provide more effort over the long term during training sessions. BCAAs therefore allow you to work better by reducing muscle fatigue. You will thus be able to push the trainings to the maximum.

BCAA's are consumed first by the muscles, before attacking the glycogen store at its disposal. This keeps the muscles' Adenosine Triphosphate levels high, creating a surplus of energy. Taking BCAA's prior to training creates a new source of quick energy that is used first by the body.

BCAAs make you burn fat

It has been scientifically proven that these amino acids promote body composition. This is made possible by the presence of leucine, which defines the musculature, increasing energy expenditure.

Leucine is an amino acid that promotes rapid fat burning, while valine and isoleucine allow for glucose tolerance. These two other amino acids positively affect the basal metabolic rate. Athletes on a diet or during a dry period opt for an increase in the dosage of BCAAs in order to maintain their muscle mass.

EAA or BCAA: in brief

Ultimately, casual athletes or people with a high protein diet may be satisfied with using BCAAs. The EAA, on the other hand, are a desirable solution for serious athletes looking for a complete food supplement.

Taking EAA is at the same time consuming BCAA's with all the other essential amino acids. With this complete aminogram, your protein synthesis is increased, you gain muscle and recover properly. To choose between EAA and BCAA, you must therefore take into account your goals and your status.

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