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BCAA vs EAA | BodyBuilding

What is the difference between BCAAs and EAAs? If you're an athlete or active person, you've probably already asked yourself this question. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and play a crucial role in our bodies. But what distinguishes BCAAs from EAAs? And which one should you choose to improve your workouts and recovery? In this article we will explore these questions and more.


  • BCAAs, composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine, are particularly beneficial for muscle recovery and growth;
  • EAAs provide a more complete amino acid profile and are therefore potentially more effective in maximizing protein synthesis and muscle growth;
  • The choice between BCAA and EAA depends on individual goals, especially whether a person is seeking to maximize muscle growth or maintain muscle mass during periods of calorie restriction.

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the BCAAor Branched chain amino acidsIt is a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. It is called “branched chain” because of its unique molecular structure, which is different from other amino acids. BCAAs are especially important for athletes and active people because they play a crucial role in muscle recovery and growth.

Benefits of BCAAs

BCAAs are widely known for their ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can aid in post-workout recovery and muscle growth. Additionally, BCAAs can also help prevent muscle breakdown, which is especially beneficial for bodybuilders looking to maintain muscle mass during a period of calorie restriction.

What are EAAs?

Let's move on now EAAor Essential amino acids. As their name suggests, these amino acids are “essential” because our body cannot produce them itself. So we have to get it through diet or supplements. There are nine EAAs in total: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. You'll notice that BCAAs are actually a subclass of EAAs.

Benefits of EAAs

EAAs play a crucial role in many body functions. They are essential for protein synthesis, which means they are necessary for the growth and repair of tissues, including muscle. But that's not all, essential amino acids are also necessary for the production of enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters, making them essential for optimal health.

Differences between BCAAs and EAAs

Now that we've defined what BCAAs and EAAs are, let's move on to their differences. The three branched-chain amino acids, as mentioned, are a subset of the essential amino acids. They share a similar chemical structure, which has long led to the belief that they play similar roles in protein synthesis. However, recent research has questioned this assumption.

It is now clear that some amino acids are more important than others in stimulating protein synthesis. Among the BCAAs, leucine appears to be the most important amino acid for stimulating protein synthesis(1). The other two BCAAs, isoleucine and valine, although important for muscle building, do not appear to play the same signaling role that leucine does.

EAA or BCAA: which one to choose?

The question now is: Should we choose BCAAs or essential amino acids? The answer to this question depends largely on your individual goals and needs.

If your goal is Maximize protein synthesis and muscle growth, EAAs may be a better option. This is because it provides a more complete picture of essential amino acids, including leucine, which is critical for stimulating protein synthesis. In addition, essential amino acids contain all the “building materials” needed to build muscle.

However, this does not mean that BCAAs are worthless. They have their place in certain situations. For example, if you are on a low-protein diet or have trouble getting enough protein, BCAAs can be a helpful supplement. Maintain loss of muscle mass (anti-catabolic effect).

In terms of cost, EAA supplements tend to be a little more expensive From BCAA supplements. This is because EAA supplements contain a wide range of amino acids. However, the cost may vary depending on the brand, quality and quantity of the product you purchase.

How you consume BCAAs and EAAs depends on your goals and exercise routine. In general, it is recommended to take these supplements during workouts, either before or after, to maximize their effectiveness.

If you choose an EAA supplement, it is recommended to choose a product that contains between 700 and 3,000 milligrams of leucine. This amount of leucine is enough to stimulate protein synthesis and promote muscle growth.

Foods rich in BCAA and EAA

If you are looking to increase your BCAA and EAA intake, there are many protein-rich foods that can help you. Eggs, for example, are an excellent source of all essential amino acids. They are considered a “complete” protein source, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids in the appropriate proportions. An average egg contains about 6 grams of protein, including a good amount of BCAAs.

Meat and fish

Other complete protein sources, such as meat, poultry and fish, contain all essential amino acids. For example, a 100-gram serving of cooked chicken contains about 23 grams of protein and a good amount of BCAAs. Likewise, a 100-gram serving of cooked salmon provides about 22 grams of protein and the omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Dairy products

Dairy products are another excellent source of BCAAs and EAAs. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all sources of complete protein.

Plant proteins

If you are a vegetarian or follow a plant-based diet, it can be a bit difficult to get all the essential amino acids you need from isolated food sources. However, there are many plant-based protein sources that can be combined to get a good amount of BCAA and EAA. Legumes, such as lentils and chickpeas, are an excellent source of protein. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and chia seeds, contain a good amount of protein.

What to remember

Both BCAAs and EAAs are essential for our health and well-being. Whether you choose to consume them from food sources or from supplements, it is important to make sure you get enough every day.

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BCAA vs EAA | BodyBuilding

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