So, if you’re anything like me, when you evolved from a regular human to a gym rat, all of the bro-science gurus instructed you to carry around your gallon of water with 4-5 scoops of BCAA’s inside to help your muscles develop. Aside from them telling you that BCAA’s meant Branch Chain Amino Acids, has anyone ever honestly told you WHY you should take them, what they are actually for AND why you also need a secondary amino acid group called EAA’s? No? Well let me break this down
The human body needs 20 amino acids in order for it properly build sustainable muscle however it only produces 11, which means the rest must be obtained from external sources (food and supplements). To get all science-y for a second; the aminos your body does not produce are histidine, methionine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Of these nine, 3 of them are branched chains (this refers to their molecular structure) leucine, isoleucine and valine. Athletes tend to take the BCAA’s more than the EAA’s due to their unique structure, which allows them to bypass the digestive process making them quickly available for rebuilding and growing muscle.
The six remaining amino acids are considered Essential Amino Acids. Your body can not produce these, however they must be in the system to initiate muscle repair. Until your body is told (with the consumption of EAA’s) it will remain in a catabolic (the breakdown of muscle tissue) state. By consuming BCAA’s and EAA’s post workout, your body will receive the “time to rebuild” signal much faster.
Each amino acid has a unique function for rebuilding the cells, tissue, and functioning of our bodies, so consuming a complete Amino Acid profile will yield the most beneficial bodily functions. BCAA’s stimulate 22% of muscle growth, they are great to START the recovery process, but you’ll need the full essential amino acid profile to help your muscles completely recover.
Should you take BCAA’s/EAA’s, and are they right for you?
Thats dependent entirely on where you purchase your food from, your stress levels, your sleep cycles, and your current supplement regiment. Amino acids aren’t just for the athlete, they aide in times of illness, injury, growth, or stress – including those caused by sports or competition
ACE | NASM |BDU Master Trainer and Fitness Coach