You’ve probably heard of amino acids before, but have you heard of EAAs? Do you know what they are, why they are important, or what they do? We are here to go over those questions with you to ensure you have a better understanding of EAAs.
What Does EAAs Stand For?
EAAs stands for essential amino acids. What are essential amino acids you ask? Let’s talk about them!
What are Amino Acids?
Before we can talk about what EAAs are, you need to know what amino acids are as a whole! Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are responsible for numerous vital functions and processes within the body, including but not limited to:
- Building and repairing body tissue (muscles, tissues, organs, bones, cartilage, and skin)
- Regulating hormone production.
- Producing enzymes that can aid in digestion, creating energy, muscle contractions, metabolism, and much more.
- Improving immune function.
There are 20 different amino acids. Our bodies NEED all 20 in order to function properly. Of those 20, our bodies can only produce 11 of them naturally. These are called non-essential amino acids. While, yes, we do need them – since our bodies can make them on their own it’s not essential for us to get them through the foods. On the other hand, the remaining 9 amino acids are called essential amino acids (EAAs). I’m sure you’ve guessed it already based on the name, but we can’t produce those in our bodies; therefore, it’s essential that we consume foods (or supplements) that provide our bodies with those amino acids. How ironic is it that the 9 we absolutely need are the ones our bodies can’t make themselves?
The 9 essential amino acids are:
- Leucine: one of the branched-amino-acids (BCAAs) that is critical for growth hormone production and protein synthesis. It also helps with muscle development, tissue repair, and regulating blood sugar.
- Threonine: supports the immune system and fat metabolism, while also contributing to the production of collagen.
- Lysine: plays a key role in supporting muscle growth and recovery from damage. It contributes to the production of collagen as well.
- Isoleucine: another one of the BCAAs that helps the body regulate energy, which improves endurance and energy levels during workouts and throughout the day. It also helps speed up muscle repair, prevents muscle breakdown, and regulates blood sugar.
- Valine: the third and final BCAA that is heavily involved in energy production and stimulating muscle growth.
- Phenylalanine: helps promote a healthy nervous system and aids in the production of other amino acids, hormones, and neurotransmitters (brain messengers).
- Methionine: primarily helps with detoxification of the liver and protects cells from free radical damage, while also breaking down fatty deposits in the liver.
- Tryptophan: also helps promote a healthy nervous system and is a precursor for serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep
- Histidine: aids in fighting off cell-damaging free radicals and is crucial to overall immune function.
As you can see, essential amino acids play key roles in the creation of energy, your metabolism, and muscle growth and recovery.
What Foods Contain the Essential Amino Acids:
We already know that you must obtain all 9 essential amino acids through the foods you consume; therefore, nutrition is key. There’s a variety of foods you can consume to get the amino acids your body needs, but here are a few sources we suggest:
- Poultry (such as chicken, turkey, or duck)
- Fish and other seafood
- Red meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, venison, etc.)
- Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, milk)
- Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, corn, oats)
- Some fruits (apples, pomegranates, bananas, avocados)
- Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, etc.)
- Vegetables (such as beets, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, peppers
- Soy products
- Legumes (beans and lentils)
- Supplementation (protein powders, meat snacks, protein bars, EAAs, etc.)
If you are eating a balanced, nutritious diet that incorporates a variety of the items listed above, you are most likely getting what your body needs; however, in today’s world it’s easy to fall short of our nutrient needs between all the food delivery services, increased production of processed foods, and busy lifestyles. Supplementing will ensure you’re receiving the correct amount of the amino acids so you never have to worry about missing out.
Luckily for y’all, we’ve created a full spectrum product that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids – Essentials. Available in over 7 delicious flavors as well, meeting your amino acid needs has never been easier or tastier!
When Should You Take EAAs Supplements?
Ultimately, our EAAs can be taken any time of the day! You can take during your workout to help prevent muscle fatigue and breakdown, while also promoting muscle recovery so you can train harder and increase muscle growth. You can consume them when you’re experiencing food cravings or have a sweet tooth as they can naturally suppress your appetite. Or you can mix them with water in the morning and sip on them throughout the day. There really is no right or wrong time to take them, your body will utilize the amino acids when needed!
To Sum it Up:
EAAs are the essential amino acids needed by the body to optimize your overall health and keep you functioning at your best. The best way to guarantee you’re getting the appropriate amounts is by making sure your nutritional plan includes a diverse array of the protein-rich foods and, if needed, supplements containing these 9 essential amino acids.