BCAAs and EAAs: Do You Know The Difference? - insidefitnessmag.com
Written by Tim Rigby

For those who are familiar with the supplement game, you have likely seen the dictation of "BCAAs" and "EAAs" and likely wondered to yourself what exactly the difference is, and whether one is better than the other for your goals.

We can't answer that last question definitively, but here's a quick break down on the definition of BCAAs and EAAs and hopefully it'll give you enough of a distinction to decide for yourself.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) are comprised of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. The reason for the inclusion of “branched” in their name is because if you examine them from a chemical structure point of view, they each have a forked outcropping that resembles a branch. BCAA's have been studied intensely and it’s no secret they’re critical for building muscle, but they also do much more than that – they can help boost energy levels, delay muscular fatigue, and indirectly assist fat loss. What makes them unique is that whereas the other amino acids get processed in your liver, BCAA's tend to be spared and go directly to your muscles. Science has also shown that the ideal consumption ratio for BCAA's is 2:1:1 of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine respectively.

Essential Amino Acids (EAA's)

As their name implies, Essential Amino Acids (EAA's) can't be made by the body and as such, we must get them from our food and/or supplements. For our purposes here, the nine essential amino acids are: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine and Tryptophan. While we got a good overview of Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine in the previous section on BCAA's, it's important to note that the other essential amino acids in this category also play key roles in helping support a wide range of functions related to the muscle building process including, but not limited to: hormone secretion, fat metabolism, nervous system function and appetite regulation – warranting their inclusion herein.


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