BCAAs vs EAAs; What are they, how they work, and which are better?

by Erik Tremblay

What are BCAAs and EAAs?

Branched-Chained-Amino-Acids (BCAAs) and Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are different forms of the building blocks of protein- amino acids. Amino acids are strung together by the body into polypeptide chains which serve as the basis of all proteins in the body- from muscle tissue, to skin, to enzymes that catalyze vital reactions. The amount of free amino acids you have influence the rate of protein synthesis in your body- how fast you make the proteins and how much you make. Revved up protein synthesis is how your cells grow, including muscle tissue.

EAAs: Essential amino acids are considered essential because your body cannot synthesize them and they must be obtained from your diet (compared to non-essential amino acids your body can make on it's own). BCAAs are actually considered essential amino acids, but other EAAs are not BCAAs. These are used in supplementation for the fact that many do not receive enough essential amino acids from their diet so their protein synthesis suffers.

BCAAs: 3 amino acids(Leucine, Isoleucine,Valine) with the unique property of having a branched non-polar side chain, making these amino acids hydrophobic and playing a major role in how these amino acids are used. BCAAs, and specifically leucine, have shown the ability to increase protein synthesis levels by stimulating the mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) pathway.

How They Work and Which are Better?

Both forms of amino acids are needed by the body to carry out it's regular function, however increasing levels of both plays a major role in increasing overall protein synthesis and cell growth. It is believed that BCAA concentration in the cells tell it whether it should increase protein synthesis or not. BCAAs have the ability to trigger the phosphorylation of mTOR which communicates to the cell to rev up synthesis-and this is dependent on the concentration of BCAAs in your cell. BCAA supplementation of 7g has been show to increase protein synthesis 22%. However, just because your body has been told to increase protein synthesis is not sufficient enough, your body needs the material to build the proteins- and thats where EAAs come in. While BCAAs are used in building proteins as well, your body requires more EAAs to keep up with the increased protein synthesis. Since your body cannot make it's own EAAs, supplementation with EAAs helps provide the material to build the proteins BCAAs have told the cells to make. Adding atleast 3g of EAAs to your 7g of BCAAs have been shown to increase protein synthesis levels by 72% overall, 50% more than BCAA supplementation alone! This makes both of them just as important as each other and a potent muscle builder when taken on conjunction.

Dosing and Supplementation

BCAAs should be dosed at 7g with EAAs dosed with atleast 3g to see 72% increases in muscle protein synthesis. Check out our BLACK ICE V2 which contains 7g of Instantized Vegan BCAAs with a 3g EAA blend and 31.5g of other muscle building compounds! (BLACK ICE V2)

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