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What Are Essential Amino Acids and How do EAAs Work?

Athlete’s bodies can cycle rapidly and frequently between Anabolic (muscle building) and Catabolic (muscle wasting) periods. Ensuring your body gets enough high quality protein and essential amino acids (EAAs) can give you the extra nutrients you need to achieve your Bodybuilding or Athletic Goals.

Whole Foods and Whey Protein Supplements are great sources of the Essential Amino Acids that your body needs, but you can’t eat grilled chicken during your workout, and you don’t want to chug a thick protein milk shake after a killer HIIT session! 

Essential Amino Acid Supplements are effective and EAAs can be refreshing, flavorful and convenient since they are similar to water in consistency and they are easy to drink anytime, like before or during your workouts when a Thick, Rich Shake would be, shall we say, Gross!  

  • What are Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)?
  • The EAAs and BCAAs
  • The Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
  • How do Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) Work?
  • How do you use EAAs?
  • Related Blog Articles

What are Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)?

The Building Blocks of Protein!

There are 20 total Amino Acids and they are considered to be the building blocks of protein. Nine of the Amino Acids are considered Essential Amino Acids or EAAs. Three of those EAAs are considered Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs.

All BCAAs are EAAs, but not all EAAs are BCAAs - Got it?

Why are Essential Amino Acids "Essential?"

Amino Acids are considered Essential Amino Acids when your body cannot make them on its own. Essential Aminos Acids must be consumed and, when you can’t get enough EAAs from your diet, a deficiency may exist meaning that an Essential Amino Acid Supplement or a Branched Chain Amino Acid Supplement could be right for you.

What are the EAAs and the BCAAs?

  • Histidine - EAA
  • Isoleucine - EAA / BCAA
  • Leucine - EAA / BCAA
  • Lysine - EAA
  • Methionine - EAA
  • Phenylalanine - EAA
  • Tryptophan - EAA
  • Valine - EAA / BCAA
  • Threonine - EAA

What are the Non-Essential and Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Tyrosine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Asparagine
  • Proline
  • Serine

What do EAAs do?

Essential Amino Acids Fuel the Muscle Protein Synthesis that allows your body to perform, recover and grow.
Research has shown that supplementing with Essential Amino Acids pre-workout can increase your body’s Anabolic response to exercise! Who feels like chugging a chocolate shake before morning cardio? Not me, but a Mango flavored EAA just might hit the spot!

When an Athlete exercises or strength trains his or her body breaks down protein resulting in a negative protein balance and a catabolic state – No Good!

Supplementing with Essential Amino Acids before, during or after training have been shown to produce an increase in Protein Synthesis that can counteract an exercise induced negative protein balance and create a positive protein balance.

Creating a positive protein balance following exercise can put your body in an anabolic state allowing it to recover better and grow more. 

How to Take EAAs

Both Strength and Endurance Athletes can benefit from taking a High-Quality EAA Supplement before, during or after training. Essential Amino Acids can also be taken throughout the day when a meal or a shake isn’t possible or preferred. You should pick an EAA product with added Electrolytes to help with hydration as well, making EAA Supplements the perfect any time choice for more Aminos and Greater Hydration Anytime!

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THE BETTER BCAA™

For What It Has… 

Modern BCAA+ packs 15 Grams of EAAs, BCAAs, and CEAAs in Every Delicious Serving! 

Our Famous 8:1:1 BCAA Ratio boasts a Massive Serving of Leucine to Increase Muscle Growth, to Aid Muscular Recovery, and to Reduce Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness.*

Modern's Signature Blendhelps keep you hydrated through your most grueling workout with 654 Milligrams of Electrolytes

AND, For What It Doesn’t Have…

Modern BCAA+ has No Calories, No CarbsNo Sugar, and No Artificial Colors.

What's in Your Shaker?

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References:

• Biolo, G., B. D. Williams, R. Y. Fleming, and R. R. Wolfe. Insulin action on muscle protein kinetics and amino acid transport during recovery after resistance exercise. Diabetes 48: 949-957, 1999.
• Borsheim, E., K. D. Tipton, S. E. Wolf, and R. R. Wolfe. Essential amino acids and muscle protein recovery from resistance exercise. Am.J.Physiol Endocrinol.Metab 283: E648-E657, 2002.
• Levenhagen, D. K., J. D. Gresham, M. G. Carlson, D. J. Maron, M. J. Borel, and P. J. Flakoll. Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis. Am.J.Physiol Endocrinol.Metab 280: E982-E993, 2001.
• Rasmussen, B. B., K. D. Tipton, S. L. Miller, S. E. Wolf, and R. R. Wolfe. An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. J.Appl.Physiol 88: 386-392, 2000.
• Roy, B. D. and M. A. Tarnopolsky. Influence of differing macronutrient intakes on muscle glycogen resynthesis after resistance exercise. J.Appl.Physiol 84: 890-896, 1998.
• Tipton, K. D., A. A. Ferrando, S. M. Phillips, D. Doyle, Jr., and R. R. Wolfe. Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. Am.J.Physiol 276: E628-E634, 1999.
• Tipton, K. D., B. B. Rasmussen, S. L. Miller, S. E. Wolf, S. K. Owens-Stovall, B. E. Petrini, and R. R. Wolfe. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am.J.Physiol Endocrinol.Metab 281: E197-E206, 2001.
• Tipton, K. D., E. Borsheim, S. E. Wolf, A. P. Sanford, and R. R. Wolfe. Acute response of net muscle protein balance reflects 24-h balance after exercise and amino acid ingestion.Am.J.Physiol Endocrinol.Metab 284: E76-E89, 2003.
• Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., ... & Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 20(3), 236.