Essential amino acids (EAAs) are a group of nine amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained through the diet. These include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

EAAs play a crucial role in protein synthesis, which is the process of building and repairing tissues in the body, including muscles, bones, and organs. When protein is consumed, it is broken down into individual amino acids, including EAAs, which are then used to create new proteins in the body.

EAAs are particularly important for building and maintaining muscle tissue. Leucine, in particular, has been shown to be especially important for muscle protein synthesis, and is often used in supplements for athletes and bodybuilders.

In addition to their role in protein synthesis, EAAs also play a role in other bodily processes. For example, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Methionine is important for the production of other important molecules in the body, such as glutathione, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.

EAAs contain the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) Leucine, isoleucine and valine. Although supplementing with EAAs over BCAAs give you get a better protein synthesis response, and the protein synthetic response lasts longer shown by a study in 2016.

Because the body cannot produce EAAs on its own, it is important to consume foods that are rich in these amino acids, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and soy products. For those following a plant-based diet, it is important to ensure that they are consuming a variety of plant-based protein sources to ensure they are getting all of the EAAs their body needs.

One way to consume EAAs is by supplementing them. The recommended dosages have been shown to be between 10g and 15g.

During exercise, the body undergoes a process called catabolism, in which muscle proteins are broken down to provide the body with energy. This can lead to muscle damage and soreness, which can impair performance and hinder recovery. Consuming EAAs before or during exercise can help reduce the amount of muscle protein breakdown that occurs, preserving muscle mass and reducing muscle damage.

Additionally, consuming EAAs can help support muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of building new muscle tissue. This is important for individuals looking to build or maintain muscle mass, as well as for athletes who want to improve their performance.

Studies have shown that consuming EAAs during exercise can also improve recovery by reducing muscle soreness and improving muscle function. This is thought to be due to the ability of EAAs to support muscle repair and reduce inflammation in the body.

View our EAA database.