What Are Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)
EAAs are the 9 amino acids that your body cannot produce itself. We must replenish them through dietary protein and supplements.
EAAs are essential to stimulating and producing vital proteins in the body. These proteins are used to create tissues, organs and muscles. They also play a critical role optimizing liver and the neurotransmitters in the brain. Thus our long term survival and health is dependent on protein, or really our need for EAAs.
In the absence of enough dietary protein our bodies turn to our muscle as a temporary source for EAAs. This is why people that have more muscle mass have better survival rates when going through cancer, intense medical treatments and even heart attacks when their ability to consume dietary proteins is limited their bodies can survive off the muscle. Learn more about the importance of muscle here.
Although there is a minimal amount of daily protein and EAAs recommended by the USDA this may not satisfy the optimal amount that you need in order to retain and build muscle and keep your body in an anabolic state. Learn more about how muscle is formed here.
The EAA Ratio Within The Body
The Importance of Maintaining Balance Within the System
Our body’s are highly intelligent and adaptive. There are thousands of chemical reactions and processes going on simultaneously. Maintaining a balance within all systems is important to keep things running smoothly.
Since amino acids play such a critical role throughout the body, not only in the synthesis of new proteins but also in optimizing liver and brain function, it is considered a high metabolic priority for the amino acid pool to stay stable with the necessary NEAAs and EAAs, even in the absence of dietary protein.
When there is a dip in the concentration or ratio of the amino acid pool, the body breaks down muscle protein to supply EAAs and the Liver contributes the NEAAs needed.
On the other hand, when there is a spike in the concentration or the ratio, there are regulatory mechanisms that are signaled to degrade the excess amino acids and bring things back down to the proper balanced ratio.
This explains why the use of supplements that target a specific amino acid or group of amino acids, like BCAA, are not as effective previously thought. Click here to learn more about the BCAA myth.
The important take away is that EAAs do not function independently of one another, all are required, in specific concentrations in order to carry out their principle purpose which is protein synthesis 1. Any supplement that disrupts the overall balance of EAAs in an unanticipated way may actually have adverse effects 2.
A balance EAA supplement, that is based off the muscle skeletal muscle ratio, will provide the least disruption of the overall balance of the plasma amino acids while targeting specific metabolic reactions like protein synthesis 3.
EAA Profile in Human Skeletal Muscle
Benefits Of Supplementing With the Right EAA Supplement
Patented EAA Ratio
Through studies, the exact combination and ratio of EAAs needed to stimulate muscle growth in the human body was discovered. This discovery led to the granting of a patent in 2016. Twinlab partnered to get this science out into the hands of the public in a form of a brand new supplement called REAAL, which is rumored to be available in the spring of 2018.
EAA supplements that utilize this patented EAA ratio can optimize muscle growth and restoration as well as optimize brain and liver function.
Retain, Stimulate and Produce Muscle Protein
- More than 3x effective when compared to intact dietary protein such as whey, and more than 32x effective than BCAAs alone3
- Prevents us from losing muscle and going into a catabolic state in between meals by supplying the EAAs needed for protein synthesis throughout the body and keeping the amino acid pool stable.
- Not only stimulates protein synthesis but allows body to complete the process by providing all the EAAs at the right concentration and right time.
% Increase in Protein Synthesis
- Intact Whey Protein
- Intact Whey Protein
- Helps maintain muscle while restricting calories allowing you to lose fat not muscle
- Increased protein turnover and muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) so you’re burning more calories throughout the day naturally 4.
- Helps you avoid plateaus when restricting calories by inducing natural thermogenesis and raising your BMR
- You don’t take in extra calories and macros that need to be digested with free form EAA supplements unlike other protein sources.
Optimize Brain Function
- Amino acids are important to brain function as they serve directly as important neurotransmitters or as precursors. They end up affecting our mood, appetite, energy, sex drive and other behaviors 5.
- Amino acids are carried into the brain by special molecules. A change in the balance of amino acids in the blood can affect which amino acids are transported into the brain as there is a limited number of these transporters available.You may have experienced this after eating too much on thanksgiving. More Tryptophan is carried into the brain which spikes serotonin and puts you into a relaxed state.
- By taking a balanced EAA supplement during the day the amino acid pool is always stable which ensures the right ratio of amino acids get transported into the brain there are no unanticipated responses in body function 6.
Optimize Liver Function
- Helps the liver produce essential proteins like albumin and fibrinogen 7
- Prevents and help aid in treating fatty liver disease8
- A free form EAA supplement doesn’t add unnecessary NEAAs to the amino acid pool, which would otherwise have to metabolized by the liver, so it minimizes the burden on the liver.
No Adverse Side Effects
EAA supplements are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA and have no known side effects other than the benefits that you have just read about.
EAA VS. BCAA & Protein Powders
When it comes to stimulating protein synthesis, clinical trials on humans have found EAAs to be more than 3x more effective than dietary whey protein and more than 32x more effective than BCAAs alone9.
- Protein has to first get digested and broken down into amino acids so it takes longer to get absorbed into the blood stream.
- Depending on the meal, digestion times can vary so you’re body doesn’t get the same concentration of amino acids all at once as it would with taking a quality EAA supplement.
- Some people with digestion issues may have a hard time breaking down dietary protein resulting in bloating and gas.
- BCAAs spike certain amino acids throwing off the balance of the amino acid pool in the blood and triggering degradation enzymes. This process further throws off the balance and availability of amino acids needed to actually stimulate protein synthesis10.
- Spiking only certain animo acids in the blood, throws off which amino acids gets transported into the brain. This can influence things like your mood and cravings. Learn more about the BCAA Myth CLICK HERE
Not all EAA Supplements are Created Equal.
Many years of research has gone into amino acids and figuring out the exact ratio needed in order to optimize muscle protein synthesis. There is a currently a patent on the work that has been done and only certain brands have have the rights to the exact formulation.
When you take into account all the variables that go into play when formulating something like this, it’s an exact science. It’s like Goldie Lox, it has to be just right in oder to unlock muscle protein synthesis specifically.
There is one formulation that has been patented specifically in relation to muscle protein synthesis and unlocking the the muscle code.
BCAA trials were done on rats in the 1980s. There have been over 24 human clinical trails done with EAAs.
You don’t need any fillers, artificial colors or additives. All you need is the quality, patented EAA formulation in order to get results.
The formulation can be derived from duck feathers or fermented sources.
A Balanced EAA Supplement is Your Solution
Adding a quality EAA supplement is the solution for you if you’re worried about not getting enough quality protein in your diet and/or if you want to get the most out of your workouts.
Find out how muscles use EAAs to form, the BCAA Myth and how to use EAAs to achieve your goals.
1.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 24.
2.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 96.
3.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 95.
4.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 126.
5.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 6.
1.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 65.
2.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 69.
3.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 68.
4.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 141.
5.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 97.