With the growing health and wellness market, it’s not easy to discern which dietary supplements you should take. Essential amino acids (EAAs) are critical to overall health and well-being. An EAA supplement is one of the products on the market that is very beneficial for your health.
So, what exactly are the benefits of EAAs? Read on to find out more about the role of EAAs in the body and specific health benefits.
What Are Essential Amino Acids?
Before we dive into the benefits of taking EAA supplements, let’s first discuss what EAA aminos are.
EAAs are types of amino acids that we require from the foods we eat. The other types of amino acids are called nonessential amino acids because we don’t require them from dietary sources. The body can synthesize the nonessential amino acids that we need for biological processes.
EAAs are building blocks of protein that are strung together and configured to create dietary protein particles. When we eat protein from sources like chicken, yogurt, or nuts, the body breaks down whole protein particles into individual amino acids. EAAs are then absorbed through the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where they travel to different areas of the body. The body uses EAAs to produce muscle tissue, enzymes, and other protein-based compounds.
There are nine EAAs that the body requires: Lysine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, histidine, methionine, and threonine.
Benefits of Taking an EAA Supplement
1. Muscle Growth and Recovery
Getting EAAs in adequate amounts is vital for muscle growth and muscle recovery. The body needs optimal ratos of EAA to synthesize muscle tissue efficiently. Missing just one EAA will slow down the entire muscle-building process. The benefits that EAAs offer for muscle development make EAA supplementation an excellent product for athletes or anyone striving to build muscle.
When the body is able to produce muscle tissue more readily, you are more likely to sustain a healthy body weight and body composition. EAA supplementation ensures that your body has all of the resources that it needs for the anabolic processes of muscle protein synthesis. Having more muscle tissue increases your resting metabolic rate.
Taking EAA supplements is also a fast way to provide the materials the body needs for recovery after a challenging strength training workout. You may be wondering when to take amino acids since they are beneficial for muscle repair. EAA supplements are perfect to use in post-exercise recovery shakes and smoothies immediately following a workout.
2. Better Mood and Sleep
Amino acid supplementation may also support an improved mood and sleep. EAAs like phenylalanine and tryptophan are used in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and hormones like melatonin. Without adequate amounts of EAAs, the body is unable to produce the optimal balance of neurotransmitters and hormones needed to support healthy sleep cycles and mental function.
3. Hormonal Health
EAAs are necessary for the production of hormones and maintaining hormonal homeostasis. In particular, there is evidence showing that individuals with hormonal disorders may benefit from getting balanced ratios of EAAs.
The potential benefits of EAAs for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) look particularly promising. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is associated with high levels of androgens, excess facial hair, acne, weight gain, and infertility. Metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease are risk factors for developing PCOS.
One study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that the blood levels of EAAs among women with PCOS were imbalanced, with most levels being too low. Although more research is needed, EAA supplementation may play an important therapeutic role in promoting balanced plasma levels of EAAs and reversing PCOS.
Adding EAA supplements to a healthy diet rich in high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and veggies may help improve metabolic and hormonal health.
EAA supplements are easy to digest because they offer optimal ratios of individual EAAs. As a result, the body is not required to break down large protein particles to access the EAAs. Therefore, taking EAAs may be beneficial for individuals with digestive disorders and inflammation that requires easy-to-digest foods and beverages.
5. Metabolic Health
Essential amino acids play a role in energy production and help convert the foods we eat into usable energy. Because EAAs are useful for promoting efficient energy production, EAA supplements can also be used as pre-workout supplements.
As mentioned above, taking EAAs also promotes optimal metabolic health by facilitating muscle synthesis. Having more muscle tissue means that the body is able to utilize glucose and energy more quickly, increasing your resting metabolic rate. A higher metabolism means that the body is able to transform food into energy, supporting healthy body weight. Furthermore, EAAs may have anti-inflammatory effects on metabolic processes.
A healthier metabolism may even help reverse conditions like fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.
Getting balanced ratios of EAAs supports optimal immune function and helps support healing after surgery or injury. EAAs provide the raw materials that the body uses to repair damaged muscle mass, skin, collagen, and connective tissue. Supplementing with EAA may also be a good idea when repairing from surgeries, including tendon and ligament repair and skin grafts.
EAA supplementation is also useful for individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve procedures. Undergoing weight loss surgery requires a liquid or soft diet for several weeks following surgery. Plus, food intake is restricted for many months following the procedure, making it difficult to get enough protein and optimal ratios of EAA. Incorporating EAA supplements into your daily routine can help you heal while also supporting all physiological processes.
7. Liver Disease
Liver disease causes inflammation and damage to liver cells and liver tissue. The liver plays an important role in metabolic processes. As a result, advanced cases of liver disease are often characterized by unintentional weight loss and muscle wasting. EAAs may help counteract harmful processes in the liver, improve immune system health, and fight symptoms of liver disease by supporting muscle growth.
8. Kidney Disease
The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood for protein and other particles. For individuals with renal disease, eating lots of dietary protein can put added stress on the kidneys and worsen kidney function. Many doctors recommend that individuals with kidney disease should consume a low-protein diet. Plant-based proteins also tend to be healthier for patients with renal disease, which can make it even more difficult to obtain optimal ratios of EAAs.
EAA supplements may be a good option for individuals with chronic kidney disease. Taking EAA supplements allows patients to benefit from getting ideal ratios of EAA while minimizing stress on the kidneys.
9. Vegan Diets
With vegan diets rising in popularity, few people realize that they may be associated with inadequate amounts of EAAs. A vegan diet excludes meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Because these animal products are the only foods that offer optimal ratios of EAA, it can be more of a challenge to get the EAAs you need from plant sources.
When obtaining optimal ratios of EAA from plant proteins, it’s necessary to eat a variety of protein sources on a daily basis. For example, consuming beans, nuts, tofu, and whole grains throughout the day will help ensure that you’re getting the EAAs your body needs.
However, it’s not easy to always plan out your meals to ensure that you’re getting an adequate amount of protein and EAAs. Adding a high-quality EAA supplement to your diet can eliminate the hassle of planning your meals and protein sources.
Why Are EAA Supplements Better Than Other Protein Supplements?
Numerous other protein supplements and amino acid supplements are available, such as whey protein, casein protein, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). However, when comparing BCAA vs EAA, EAA supplementation provides more benefits than these BCAA supplements. The BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which are included under the umbrella of EAAs. Taking only BCAAs is equivalent to taking an imbalance of EAAs. Instead, it’s usually healthier to take a carefully balanced EAA supplement to ensure that your body has the materials it needs to carry out numerous biological processes. When deciding between EAA vs BCAA supplements, it’s always best to choose EAA supplements.
Although whey protein and casein offer optimal ratios of EAAs, the EAAs are embedded within protein molecules, making it difficult for the body to break down and utilize the individual amino acids. Plus, whey and casein cause gastrointestinal distress for many individuals, which may impact the body’s ability to digest and break down protein particles.
How Are EAA Supplements Different Than High-Protein Foods?
If you eat high-protein foods, shouldn’t you be getting all of the EAAs that you need? Not always. The body may require more EAAs than you think, depending on how many EAAs the body is using. Even if you eat complete proteins, stress, recovery from injury, and working out all may increase your body’s utilization of EAAs. This means that you would likely benefit from a supplement in addition to your normal intake of high-quality protein.
Furthermore, having conditions like liver disease or gastrointestinal disorders makes it challenging for the body to break down and absorb all of the EAAs that the body needs.
Things to Keep in Mind
Of course, it’s always important to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional before adding new supplements to your regimen.
It’s also important to choose high-quality supplements to protect your health. The best essential amino acid supplement is one that offers balanced ratios of essential amino acids to meet your body’s needs.
Why It’s Important to Take an EAA Supplement: Conclusion
EAAs are vital for nearly all physiological processes, from neurotransmitter and hormone production to muscle synthesis. There are numerous benefits of incorporating EAA supplements into your routine. EAA supplementation can expedite healing, support hormonal and metabolic function, mitigate muscle soreness, decrease recovery times, and support muscle protein synthesis. Always check with your doctor before adding new supplements to your routine.