EAAs vs. BCAAs


They don’t call proteins the building blocks of life for nothing!

They are found everywhere within the body.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which your body can synthesize, and others it can’t.

Of the 20 amino acids your body depends on, it can synthesize 11 on its own.

But the other 9 amino acids aren’t the kind you can just produce in-house.

These are called essential amino acids (EAA), and if you want them, you have to get them from your diet.

3 of these 9 essential amino acids are particularly important in building and preserving lean muscle tissue. These 3 are leucine, isoleucine, and valine … also known as the Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).

But if EAAs and BCAAs are both amino acids … what is the difference?

That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about.

What Are EAAs?

Like I mentioned earlier, EAAs are all of the amino acids that your body needs. The problem is, your body can’t produce them on its own (making them essential).

When to Use Amino Acids
These amino acids are: Histidine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Leucine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine.

You can get these amino acids from complete protein sources. These are proteins like meat, eggs, seafood, poultry, dairy, whey protein, and more.

EAAs perform a lot of different tasks. They aid in everything from tissue repair, to energy, mood, digestion ... and heck, they even help keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy.

Sometimes though, the amino acids that get the most attention are the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). They are especially popular amongst gym-goers ... and for good reason.

But ... what exactly are BCAAs?

What Are BCAAs?

BCAAs are the amino acids that are most closely tied to muscle growth and repair: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They have a slightly different chemical structure, allowing them to bypass the liver.

Because of this, they can be put to use in the muscle right away.

Again, these amino acids are a specific subset of the EAAs. Every amino acid in BCAAs can also be found in EAAs.

Of course, the topic of BCAA vs EAA is about more than just chemistry and function … it’s a question of which you should supplement.

EAAs vs. BCAAs: Which Is Better For Working Out?

BCAAs can help you recover quickly from intense workouts. However, they are also catabolic, meaning they pull amino acids from other parts of your body to help get the job done.

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?

So, if you’re stocking up on BCAAs but neglecting the other EAAs, you might be shorting yourself on what your body needs.

Does that mean that you should just concentrate on EAAs and get your BCAAs along with the rest of the aminos? Possibly.

However, research suggests that supplementing both EAAs and BCAAs together is the best approach. This gives your body the spectrum of EAAs it needs while also maintaining high levels of BCAAs to boost the anabolic effect. (1)

EAAs vs. BCAAs: When To Take?

Your body needs these essential amino acids around the clock, so there’s really no wrong time to take them.

As long as you’re consuming or supplementing the right amounts of amino acids ... they’ll be available for your body to put to use when it needs them.

With that being said, certain times are better than others for taking amino acids. It all depends on a range of factors, like your specific goals and lifestyle.

In general, it's best to fuel your body with the amino acids it needs for training. This can help support muscle tissue, promote anabolism, reduce soreness, and decrease recovery time.

So, have those aminos on hand for your workout. Then you can enjoy better progress in your training, more endurance, and quicker recovery speed!

Who Should Take EAAs?

EAAs are vital for various bodily functions, especially for individuals with specific fitness goals or dietary requirements. Here are some groups who may benefit from supplementing with EAAs…

Regular Gym-Goers: Individuals who engage in regular physical exercise, especially strength training or endurance activities, can benefit from supplementing with EAAs. These amino acids support muscle repair, help reduce soreness, and aid in recovery, leading to better performance during workouts.

Athletes and Active Individuals: Athletes participating in high-intensity sports or endurance activities have increased protein and amino acid demands due to their elevated energy expenditure and muscle breakdown. EAAs can support their recovery and performance, allowing them to train harder and perform better.

Those Trying to Build Muscle: For individuals aiming to increase muscle mass and strength, EAAs are crucial. They provide some of the necessary building blocks for muscle growth and repair, optimizing the effects of resistance training and promoting muscle hypertrophy.

Individuals with Specific Health Conditions: Certain health conditions, such as aging-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), metabolic disorders, or chronic illnesses, may benefit from EAA supplementation to preserve muscle mass, support metabolic function, and improve overall health.

Those on Restricted Diets: People following restricted diets, such as vegetarians, vegans, or individuals with food intolerances or allergies, may have limited access to complete protein sources containing all essential amino acids. Supplementing with EAAs can help them meet their daily requirements and maintain optimal health and muscle function.

By incorporating EAAs into their nutritional regimen, individuals in these groups can improve their fitness outcomes, enhance recovery, and maintain optimal health and performance.

We're Happy To Help

EAAs and BCAAs can both play a huge role in helping you reach your fitness goals. Here at 1st Phorm, we offer different top-quality amino acid formulas that can help support you and your goals!

After all, there’s a reason we call them ESSENTIAL amino acids — you need them. It’s as simple as that!

For further personalized support, nutritional advice, and access to tailored workout programs, download the 1st Phorm app today. Our app provides one-on-one support from fitness experts, comprehensive nutritional guidance, and customized workout programs designed to help you achieve your fitness goals effectively.

Join our community of like-minded individuals and take your fitness journey to the next level with the 1st Phorm app.

If you have questions about EAAs vs. BCAAs, or anything else, give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stphorm.com! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers that are here to help you - completely free of charge!

Customer Service - 1st Phorm


Wolfe RR. Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Aug 22;14:30. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9. PMID: 28852372; PMCID: PMC5568273.