What is EAA supplement

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what is EAA supplement

If you’re passionate about fitness or an athlete striving to enhance your performance and achieve optimal muscle gains, chances are you’ve heard about EAA supplements. These supplements have been praised for their ability to support muscle recovery, increase protein synthesis, and aid in overall athletic performance.

So, what exactly are EAAs, and how do they work? 

This article will take a deep dive into the world of EAA supplements, exploring their benefits.

What is an EAA supplement made of?

Essential Amino Acid (EAA) Supplements are made of nine essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and histidine. 

These amino acids are crucial for various bodily functions, including protein synthesis, immune function, brain function, and many other metabolic processes. 

What Makes an Amino Acid “Essential?”

The Essential Amino Acids are considered essential because your body cannot make them. Instead, you must provide them to your body through nutrition or supplementation.

You can obtain them from eating high-protein foods like meat, eggs, quinoa, buckwheat, tofu, soy, and dairy products such as cheese and milk. Supplements are available in powders, capsules, intravenous drips, and in many sports drinks.

Benefits of taking EAA supplements

📌A convenient and effective way to ensure optimal amino acid intake

While they are the popular talk of the fitness group, the fact is that everyone needs an optimum daily intake of EAAs to maintain good health. EAA supplements are specifically formulated to provide a concentrated dose of these essential amino acids in a convenient and easily digestible form. 

📌 Supporting muscle growth

The key role of the EAAs (essential amino acids) is to help in muscle growth. EAAs have been shown to encourage muscle protein synthesis by activating an essential compound in your muscles called mTOR which regulates protein biosynthesis, and cell growth. Moreover, EAAs also reduce muscle protein breakdown, ensuring that your hard-earned muscle mass is preserved. 

📌 Boosting exercise performance

Adding EAA to your supplement regimen can reduce muscle fatigue and improve your endurance. This allows you to push yourself harder during your workouts and increase overall performance. In one study, a 

6-week supplementation of essential amino acid (EAA) in untrained women showed a significant increase in aerobic muscle endurance. 

📌 Speedy workout recovery 

You can train at a high intensity, but if you are not recovering following your workouts, your results will suffer. Essential Amino Acids have been shown to promote muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. In this way, you can train harder, recover faster, and achieve better results from your workouts.

📌 Improved sleep quality

Thanks to tryptophan being one of the essential amino acids, those who incorporate EAA supplements into their routine have found that they get better sleep at night. In your body, amino acids are used to make proteins but also serve other functions. Tryptophan can be converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which is used to make melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone.

Who should supplement with EAAs?

Although our diet is varied enough to obtain EAAs from dietary sources, some individuals may require additional supplementation. 

✔️Those on a restricted diet or vegans

EAA supplements can be particularly beneficial for individuals following a restricted diet or with specific dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians or vegans. By providing a complete profile of essential amino acids, these supplements ensure that individuals can meet their nutritional needs without compromising their dietary preferences or restrictions. 

✔️Athletes and fitness enthusiasts

During intense physical activity, the body’s demand for EAAs increases to support muscle repair, recovery, and growth. By supplementing with EAAs, athletes can provide their muscles with the necessary building blocks to optimize their performance and support muscle protein synthesis.

✔️Those who have increased protein needs due to certain health conditions 

This includes individuals recovering from surgery or injury, those with chronic illnesses, or older adults who may have age-related muscle loss. By supplementing with EAAs, these individuals can help support their body’s healing and maintenance processes.

How to incorporate EAA supplements into your fitness routine

  • You can toss them in with your pre-workout supplement. This not only provides you with an energy boost but also primes your muscles with the essential amino acids they need for an intense workout session. 
  • Alternatively, you can sip on an EAA-infused beverage during your workout to ensure a steady supply of amino acids to your muscles. 
  • You can also consume them post-workout. This helps kickstart the recovery process by supplying your muscles with the necessary nutrients to repair and rebuild. Mixing your EAA supplements with a whey protein shake or a carbohydrate-rich beverage can enhance the absorption and utilization of amino acids, facilitating muscle recovery and growth. 

Are EAA Supplements safe to take?

EAAs in recommended dosages are generally well tolerated. However, people with liver problems, renal disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis should consult with a physician before taking EAAs. Pregnant or nursing women should also not take EAA supplements.

The bottom line

By providing the body with the necessary essential amino acids that it cannot produce on its own, EAA supplements can help optimize protein synthesis and support various bodily functions. Supplementation benefits those who are not able to meet their nutritional needs through their diet alone. It also offers specific benefits to athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone else who wants to get fit and healthy. As with any dietary supplement, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating EAA supplements into your routine. 

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Dr Tun Min is s GP working in NHS UK and writing articles about supplements and vitamins based on personal clinical experience and clinical research.

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