Essential Amino Acid Supplements: An Ultimate Guide

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Are you ready to take your fitness journey to the next level? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Amino acids are the foundation of protein and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy body. But did you know that essential amino acid supplements can help take your workouts to the next level?

With the help of essential amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, and more, you can boost your muscle growth, prevent muscle loss, and recover faster after workouts. But that’s not all – these supplements can also give you a natural energy boost, improve your sleep quality, and even promote healthier skin and teeth.

If you’re curious about the benefits of essential amino acid supplements and want to learn more, you’re in luck. This ultimate guide has got you covered. We’ll dive into what essential amino acids are, how they work, and the best supplements on the market.

And while all amino acids are important, we’ll focus specifically on the group of nine known as Essential Amino Acids (EAAs). These are the ones that fitness enthusiasts should pay extra attention to, as they play a critical role in the body’s processes during and after exercise.

So, are you ready to become an amino acid expert? Let’s dive in and discover all you need to know about Essential Amino Acid Supplements.

What is Amino Acid?

Amino Acid

Amino acids often referred to as building blocks of protein are organic compounds counting nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, crucial for many different processes in the body.

There are 2 different types of amino’s namely: 

  • Essential Amino Acid
  • Non-essential Acid

As the name indicates, essential amino acids are necessarily required by the body and must be acquired via diet on a regular basis, while non-essential amino acids are synthesized by the body on a regular basis and are not necessarily required to be taken through diet. However, this definitely does not mean that non-essential amino acids can be taken for granted. 


The most generic source of essential amino acids is animal protein like meat, egg, and poultry. For this reason, a vegetarian diet often lacks essential amino acids.

9 Classified Group of Essential Amino Acids

Group of Essential Amino Acids

The human body requires both; Essential and Non-essential amino acids to function properly. However, only nine are classified as essential amino acids as they perform a number of crucial and varied jobs in the human body:

1. Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is a forerunner to tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. It not only plays an extensive business in the formation and action of proteins and enzymes but also aids in the formation of other amino acids.

2. Valine

Valine is one of the three branched amino acids, which means that it has a chain that branches off to one side of its molecular formation. Valine helps to boost muscle development and regeneration and engages in the production of energy.

3. Threonine

Threonine is a major component of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are significant skin and connective tissue elements. It also plays an important part in immune function and fat metabolism.

4. Leucine

Like valine, leucine is one of the branched-chain amino acids that is remarkable for protein synthesis and rebuilding of muscles. Also, it helps to balance blood glucose levels, encourages bruise curing and assembles growth hormones.

5. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin responsible to regulate sleep, mood, and appetite. Tryptophan also possesses pain-concealing qualities and can increase pain resistance ability during intense workouts or competitions. 

6. Methionine

Methionine is an important amino acid crucial for boosting the body’s detoxification and metabolism. Also, it has a key role to play in the growth of tissues and the absorption of vital minerals like zinc and selenium.

7. Isoleucine

It is one of the 3 branched amino acids required for immune function, energy production, and muscle metabolism.

8. Lysine

Lysine is another very important amino acid required for protein synthesis, hormone and enzyme production, and calcium absorption. 

9. Histidine

Histidine is required to produce histamine which is critical to the normal functioning of the immune system, sexual function, sleep-wake cycle, and digestion.

The above information clearly indicates that for many decisive processes essential amino acid is crucial. Not only are they perceived for their role in muscle advancement and rectification, but the body counts on them for so much more. 

Benefits of Essential Amino Acids in the Bodybuilding / Fitness World

Benefits of Essential Amino Acids in the Bodybuilding

Now let’s talk about the benefits of Essential Amino Acids in the bodybuilding/ fitness world. It’s no secret that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use supplements to enhance their performance and achieve their fitness goals. One supplement that has gained popularity in recent years is Essential Amino Acids or EAAs.

1. Ability to Improve Muscle Protein Synthesis

One of the key benefits of EAAs in the bodybuilding/fitness world is their ability to improve muscle protein synthesis (MPS). MPS is the process by which the body repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue after exercise-induced damage. 

Research has shown that supplementing with EAAs can stimulate MPS more effectively than consuming just one or a few amino acids.

In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming a supplement containing EAAs improved muscle protein synthesis in healthy young men. The study concluded that “essential amino acids are necessary for the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in healthy young adults”. 1

2. Ability to Improve Muscle Recovery Post Workout

In addition to improving MPS, EAAs have also been shown to improve muscle recovery after exercise. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementing with EAAs reduced muscle soreness and improved muscle recovery in trained men after a bout of resistance exercise. 2

3. Ability to Improve Endurance Performance

EAAs have also been shown to improve endurance performance. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementing with EAAs improved endurance performance in trained cyclists. 3

4. Maintenance of Muscle

Various studies reveal that supplementing 6gm of EAAs possesses a compelling muscle- preserving effect.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that supplementing with EAAs helped to preserve muscle mass in healthy older adults. The study concluded that “supplemental EAA intake acutely stimulates muscle protein synthesis in healthy elderly adults and helps preserve muscle mass”. 4

Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that supplementing with EAAs during periods of immobilization helped to preserve muscle mass and function in healthy young adults. The study concluded that “supplementing with essential amino acids during a short period of muscle disuse preserves muscle mass and function”. 5

5. Appetite Regulation

EAA’s possess a special ability to regulate appetite by activating the brain cells that suppress hunger and improve satiety which is extremely crucial for a fitness seeker. 

One study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that supplementing with EAAs decreased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increased levels of the satiety hormone leptin in healthy young adults. The study concluded that “the present data suggest that EAA supplementation may be effective in regulating appetite through modifying the secretion of hunger and satiety hormones”. 6

Another study published in the journal Appetite found that supplementing with EAAs decreased food intake in overweight individuals. The study concluded that “EAA supplementation may be a novel approach to decreasing food intake and promoting weight loss in overweight adults”. 7

Top Essential Amino Acids Supplements: Benefits & Source

Essential Amino AcidBenefitsFood Sources
LeucineMuscle growth and repair, regulation of blood sugar levelsBeef, chicken, fish, lentils, nuts
IsoleucineMuscle metabolism, immune system supportEggs, chicken, fish, lentils, almonds
ValineMuscle growth and repair, energy productionChicken, fish, lentils, peanuts
LysineProtein synthesis, collagen production, immune system supportBeef, chicken, fish, cheese, beans
MethionineDetoxification, metabolism, antioxidant activityEggs, chicken, fish, beans, spinach
PhenylalanineMood regulation, cognitive function, pain reliefSoybeans, cheese, beef, chicken, fish
ThreonineProtein synthesis, immune system support, collagen productionChicken, fish, lentils, nuts, seeds
TryptophanSerotonin production, sleep regulation, mood enhancementTurkey, chicken, fish, cheese, eggs
HistidineGrowth and development, wound healing, digestive healthBeef, chicken, fish, cheese, beans

Factors to Consider When Choosing Amino Acid Supplements

Amino Acid Supplements

When it comes to choosing the right amino acid supplement for your body, there are several factors that you need to consider. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind.

1. Quality of the Supplements

First and foremost, you need to consider the quality of the supplement you are considering. Not all amino acid supplements are created equal, so it’s important to do your research and find a product that is of high quality. Look for supplements that are made by reputable companies and that have been tested for purity and potency.

2. Dosage 

Another important factor to consider is dosage. Make sure that you are taking the right amount of amino acids to meet your body’s needs. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.

3. Price 

Of course, price is also an important consideration when choosing an amino acid supplement. While you don’t want to skimp on quality, you also don’t want to break the bank. Look for supplements that offer a good balance of quality and affordability.

4. Brand Reputation

Next, you should also take into account the brand reputation. You want to choose a company that has a solid reputation for producing high-quality supplements that actually work. Look for reviews and testimonials from other users to help you make an informed decision.

Summing Up

Essential Amino Acid

Overlooking the importance of essential amino acids can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being. 

Fortunately, incorporating Essential Amino Acids as a sports supplement can help to optimise workout performance, training recovery, sleep patterns, and even mood. 

As a result, many fitness experts are turning to Branched Chain Amino Acid supplements to ensure that they are providing their bodies with the necessary nutrients for optimal performance. 

So if you’re looking to take your fitness game to the next level, consider adding essential amino acid supplements to your workout routine to see the benefits for yourself!


What happens if you take too many EAAs?

When excessive amounts of amino acids are taken, catabolism by enzymes in the liver and elsewhere is accelerated when intake exceeds requirements. In addition, changes in the free amino acid levels in the brain signal the nervous system centers regulating food consumption, and eating patterns are affected.

When should I take the ultimate EAA?

EAAs Are Effective Pre- and Post-Workout
Whether you’re walking, cycling, running stairs, or jumping rope, start by taking your EAA supplement 30 minutes before your workout session. The biggest benefit comes when you take your EAA supplement within an hour after your workout when your blood flow is strong and active

Should I take amino acids in the morning or at night?

Protein ingested immediately prior to sleep is effectively digested and absorbed, thereby increasing amino acid availability during overnight sleep. Greater amino acid availability during sleep stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates and improves whole-body protein net balance during overnight recovery.

What happens if you take amino acids every day?

Amino acids, specifically, are generally safe to use every day, as long as they’re not consumed in huge amounts. Because the nutritional needs of different people can vary widely, it’s tough to say exactly what the upper limit might be for amino acids in general.

Does EAA have side effects?

According to scientific research, there are no known serious side effects have been reported when using an EAA supplement in both normal and high amounts.

Who should not take amino acids?

Three of the most commonly mentioned risks of long-term amino acid supplementation are nausea, headache, and pain. Amino acid supplements can impact your blood sugar levels. This means that you should avoid them before and after surgery. Many experts advise against taking supplements that contain a single amino acid.

What amino acids should not be taken together?

L-lysine, for example, competes for cell receptors with L-arginine, so they’re best used separately. Other amino acids that shouldn’t be combined are tryptophan and phenylalanine or tyrosine, taurine, and glutamic acid or aspartic acid, carnitine and tyrosine, and cysteine and lysine.

References
  1. Paddon-Jones, D., Sheffield-Moore, M., Zhang, X. J., Volpi, E., Wolf, S. E., Aarsland, A., Ferrando, A. A., Wolfe, R. R. (2004). Amino acid ingestion improves muscle protein synthesis in the young and elderly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(2), 321–328.[]
  2. Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., Sato, J., Shimomura, N., Kobayashi, H., Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 10.[]
  3. Matsumoto, K., Koba, T., Hamada, K., Tsujimoto, H., Mitsuzono, R. (2009). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation increases the lactate threshold during an incremental exercise test in trained cyclists. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(1), 7.[]
  4. Katsanos, C. S., Kobayashi, H., Sheffield-Moore, M., Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(5), 1328-1338.[]
  5. Pasiakos, S. M., McClung, J. P., McClung, H. L., Margolis, L. M., Andersen, N. E., Cloutier, G. J., Pikosky, M. A., Rood, J. C., Fielding, R. A., & Young, A. J. (2011). Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplementation during moderate steady state exercise enhances postexercise muscle protein synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(3), 809-818.[]
  6. Leidy, H. J., Todd, C. B., Zino, A. Z., Price, J. C., & McGill, C. R. (2011). The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Nutrition and Metabolism, 8(1), 63.[]
  7. Kim, J. Y., Hickner, R. C., Cortright, R. L., Dohm, G. L., & Houmard, J. A. (2018). Essential amino acid supplementation reduces appetite for carbohydrate but not energy intake in overweight and obese women. Appetite, 121, 93-99.[]
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