What are Essential Amino Aids, and why do we need them?

What are Essential Amino Aids, and why do we need them?

What are Essential Amino Acids?

Amino Acids in very basic terms are the core building blocks of protein. They create the foundation of many elements in our body, such as muscle, organs, bone, nails, hair, ligaments and tendons. Not only that, Amino Acids are critical to and manage many processes including our nervous, reproductive, immune and digestive systems, energy production and proper functioning of neurotransmitters.  Yes, Amino Acids are the force behind basically every process in the human body. 

The human body needs 20 different amino acids to function correctly, however only 9 of these are classified as essential - meaning that we need to get them through our diet as our body cannot produce them. 

The 9 essential amino acids critical to humans are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. From these 9, the body can produce all the other none essential aminos needed.  Find out what each essential amino acid does for the body here. 


Where do we get our essential amino acids?

All 9 of the essential amino acids we need can be obtained from our diet & supplementation. Foods such as a meat, poultry & dairy contain amino acids, as well as plant-based foods such as tofu - albeit in lower quantities and harder to obtain. 


Why should I supplement with Amino Acids?

While many say that you can get all the amino acids we require from our diet, this is not always the case.  

Many people, including active adults and those who eat a plant-based diet don’t get a high enough protein intake. This effects their ability to grow and sustain muscle, reduce muscle sourness and slow down recovery times. 

While you can get a good amount of essential amino acids through diet, there are many reasons why supplementing with EAA’s is a good idea. 

  • Amino Acid profiles vary depending on the dietary source, supplementation of EAA’s makes Sure you’re getting all of them in the optimal amounts.
  • Like water, our bodies can’t store protein and it needs to be replenished or topped up daily. The more you use, the more you need. 
  • Even if your protein consumption is high, only around 50% of amino acids are absorbed due to digestive processes, metabolism and the gut microbiome. 
  • Muscles become less sensitive to protein & aminos as you age, which means the older population will most likely need time as much protein & amino acids when compared to younger people.  On top of this, digestive issues & depleted enzymes related with older age can result in even lower extraction of amino acids. 
  •  Dietary protein contains high amounts of None essential Amino Acids - the ones our bodies can produce without supplementation or diet. This puts strain on the liver and kidneys, where as EAA supplementation requires less processing and puts less strain on your organs.


Improve exercise performance and recovery

Our essential Amino Acid formula contains Valine, leucine and isoleucine, which are the three essential branched-chain amino acids. These three aminos assist in reducing fatigue, reducing performance and stimulating recovery in the muscles after exercise. 

These BCAA’s have been a popular supplement for years for muscle protein synthesis, recovery and energy.  However, when you don’t consume other Essential Amino Acids to balance out the 3 BCAA’s, the effects on taking BCAA’s in isolation for protein synthesis are limited and can even lead to an amino acid imbalance and muscle breakdown. 

“While it is true that leucine is capable of stimulating MPS in the absence of other amino acids, it should be emphasized that protein synthesis will eventually become limited by the availability of other essential amino acids.” -  https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/2/180/html

Taking all EAA’s together including the three BCAA’s gives you the full range of benefits while also removing the potential side effects caused my a BCAA-induced amino acid imbalance. 


Why Leucine Enriched Essential Amino Acids?

We know that the amino acid leucine is the most affective out of them all for muscle building and athletic recovery.  Leucine supports these processes in a number of ways:

  • Increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis
  • Regulates the bodies production of anabolic endocrine hormones
  • It helps to stimulate the  release of insulin,  which in turn then enhances the uptake of other amino acids as well as suppressing muscle protein breakdown
  • the mTor pathway is modulated. This is  the cell survival pathway that monitors the availability of nutrients, cellular energy, and oxygen levels, triggering muscle hypertrophy.

In multiple studies, the research has shown that leucine enriched amino acids provide even greater gains in lean muscle mass, reduced post workout muscle sources and faster recovery than just taking a standard formula of EAA’s. 

In a 2011 randomized controlled trial, eight adults completed two separate bouts of cycling for 60 minutes for 13 days. 10 g of LEAAs (3.5 g leucine) were consumed during one bout, and 10 g of a standard EAA supplement (1.87 g leucine) during the other. The results showed that LEAAs increased MPS by 33% more than traditional EAAs (though both were effective).

Another randomized controlled trial from 2018 on post-stroke patients with sarcopenia (a condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function) showed that supplementation with as little as 3 g of LEAAs resulted in increased muscle mass, strength, and physical function.

In terms of athletic recovery, the research is also very promising. A 2019 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science examined the effects of LEAA supplementation (3.6 g, 3x/day) on post-exercise muscle damage in 10 young, healthy males. The results of the study showed that LEAAs significantly suppressed exercise-induced muscle tissue damage, suggesting that LEAAs can aid in muscle recovery.

In April 2020, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design study (whew, say that five times fast) was published in which 20 active young men on a controlled diet (1.2 g/kg/d of protein) were given either 4 g of LEAAs (1.6 g leucine) or a placebo three times a day for four days following an acute bout of lower-body resistance exercise. LEAAs were shown to preserve muscle force production and attenuate muscle soreness more than placebo, even when combined with an already high protein diet.

All that to say, the research is pretty clear: By using an essential amino acid formula that’s just a bit higher in leucine, you could see substantial gains when it comes to lean muscle mass, reduced soreness after exercise, and a speedier recovery, and avoid all the issues with BCAAs because you've still got all the other EAAs present.

Source: bengreenfieldlife.com


Other benefits of Essential Amino Acids.

  • May assist with mood regulation

 Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is needed to produce serotonin, one of the main neurotransmitters in the human body. Serotonin regulates things like mood and sleep. If your Serotonin levels are low, this can a depressed mood and sleep issues. 

Several studies have shown that taking tryptophan supplements may help reduce symptoms of depression and boost mood. A review that included 11 high quality studies found that taking 0.14–3 grams of tryptophan per day could help decrease anxiety and increase positive mood in healthy people (18 Trusted Source) (21 Trusted Source)


  • May be helpful for wound healing and surgery

Taking amino acid supplements may be helpful for people who are healing after surgery. A study in 243 people with pelvis or long bone fractures found that those who took conditionally essential amino acids for 2 weeks after surgery had lower rates of death and medical complications than those who received standard nutrition (25 Trusted Source).

A review of 20 studies looking at the effects of taking BCAAs in people with cancer undergoing surgery found that those who took BCAAs around the time of surgery had reduced postoperative complications from infections and fluid accumulation in the abdomen (26 trusted Source).

What’s more, according to results from one study, taking essential amino acid supplements may help reduce loss of muscle volume in older adults recovering from knee replacement surgery (27 Trusted Source).

As you can see, taking EAA's has great benefits for not only exercise & recovery, but also for daily health and wellness by assisting with mood and recovery from injury.


How to take Essential Amino Acids:

So, what are the optimal servings for Essential Amino Acids? That depends on what you’re looking for, here are the guidelines.

Recommended Dose: Take 5-15 grams in one serving. If  you consume a higher  serving, then expect better results. There seems to be no extra benefits to taking more than 15 grams at one time.

 Bare Ayr EAA’s offer 5g of pure leucine enriched EAA’S per scoop. 

Aerobic exercise & energy: If you're looking for a boost in energy, take 1-2 servings 30 minutes before a workout. For recovery, take 1-2 servings within one hour after exercise.

Muscle Building & Resistance exercise: Take 1-2 servings 30 minutes before a workout, and another serving within one hour after.

General wellbeing:  If you're looking for general wellness benefits, take one serving in between meals.

Combining with Macronutrients: Take a serving with a portion of carbs or protein to enhance mass gains & strength. 

Please note these tips are for optimal results. If you don't follow these instructions to the tee, you'll still get great benefits. If all else fails, take 1-2 servings per day when it works for you.  


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