BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) or EAAs (Essential Amino Acids) are extremely popular among bodybuilders and athletes, but are beneficial for anyone who works out. They are best known for their efficacy in building muscles, reducing fatigue, and muscle soreness.
Amino acids are not a brand new topic on our page. If you have been following our blogs for a little while now, you might remember the blog on; The difference between whey protein powder and vegan protein powder.
In that blog, we touched on the topic of amino acids and how they are typically referred to as the “building blocks” of protein.
However, there is still so much to learn about Amino Acids, the difference between BCAAs and EAAs and the biggest question I am often asked, “When do I take them?”
WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS?
Amino acids are organic compounds that combine in our bodies to form proteins and help rebuild muscle tissue. When our muscles are used and broken down, the amino acids help the body in various ways.
These helpful functions include: repairing and growing muscle tissue, a source of energy, improving immunity, and regulating hormones and enzymes.
There are 20 total amino acids that our body needs, which are broken down into two main categories: 11 Non-Essential & 9 Essential
Non-Essentials are amino acids that our body naturally produces on its own.
Essentials, on the other hand, are essential because we cannot get these proteins without ingesting them through food or a supplement.
So which supplement is for you? BCAA or EAA? Well, let’s discuss the difference…..
BCAAs OR EAAs?
I’ll let you all in on a little secret…..Both supplements are the SAME thing….well almost.
BCAAs contain essential amino acids, but only 3 of the 9; Leucine, Iso-Leucine, and Valine. (The three most important)
BCAAs also get absorbed differently. Instead of your liver processing them, BCAAs are unique in that the muscle metabolizes them instead of the liver. Therefore, the amino acids go directly into the bloodstream and to your muscle for energy during exercise.
EAAs, on the other hand, contain all 9 essential amino acids needed to create a complete protein, which is why they are known to be more superior than BCAAs, providing consumers with better muscle building and muscle recovery results.
Ultimately, EAAs are a more inclusive supplement. BCAAs still provide many great benefits like the EAAs provide, due to the BCAAs containing the three most important aminos out of the nine, but EAAs will be the best route for anyone who tends to lack protein in their daily regimen.
*On a side note, here at BENU, our BCAAs contain hydrolyzed collagen. Although this does not make the BCAAs a complete protein, it sets them apart from most, because the collagen provides extra proteins, which help improve skin, hair, nails, and joints.
WHEN DO I TAKE THESE SUPPLEMENTS?
The best time to take BCAAs or EAAs is:
During or after a workout!
Studies have shown that muscle protein synthesis increases most when BCAAs and EAAs are consumed during the body’s most receptive phase. Which usually starts 30-60 minutes post-exercise and can stretch to 24-48 hours.
This is mainly because of the increased amino acid delivery and absorption in exercising skeletal muscle.
Consuming them during your workout is a good idea as well, due to your body undergoing intensive stress and energy output.
Overall, these supplements will help with protein synthesis post-workout, boost performance, and provide a faster recovery.
If protein is a high priority in your diet and you feel as though you typically reach your daily amount, BCAAs would be the best route for you. However, if protein is not as prevalent in your diet, then go with an EAA.