EAAs 101

by Josh Davis

When it comes to training hard, making optimal gains in strength or lean muscle mass, or even losing fat, recovery will always be the key to improvement and how fast you accomplish whatever fitness goal you are working to obtain.

Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue and proteins. They improve body's ability to synthesize proteins and build muscle mass after quite remarkably! Our bodies use 20 different amino acids to create muscle proteins to help break down food, grow, repair body tissue, build muscle, and facilitate many other vital bodily functions. While our bodies need all 20 different amino acids to function properly, only 9 are considered “essential”, meaning they cannot be made by the body in relevant amounts, and therefore must be obtained from diet and/or supplementation. These are the amino acids we are going to cover today. Welcome to EAAs 101!

The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. As you can see, these 9 also consist of the 3 BCAAs (Branch Chained Amino Acids). BCAAs have been a staple for many years for muscle building and enhancing recovery, but what about the the remaining 6 amino acids? Each of these nine essential amino acids have specific roles in the body and together aid in building lean muscle tissue, burning body fat, preventing muscle breakdown, enhancing muscular recovery, delaying muscle fatigue, boosting muscular endurance, and reducing muscle soreness. 

To optimize muscle protein synthesis and maximize anabolic potential for improved muscle growth, EAA formulas such as Inspired Amino EAA + Hydration by Inspired Nutraceuticals is an anabolic powerhouse that's potently dosed with all nine Essential Amino Acids, contains clinical doses of both Betaine Anhydrous and Taurine, and is formulated with Aquamin, Pink Himalayan Salt, and electrolytes to help improve overall athletic performance, enhance muscle tissue growth, preserve lean muscle tissue, boost endurance, strength, and power, and even help with better sleep quality.

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Increase muscular endurance and decrease muscle fatigue so you can push longer and harder for better results. Preserve lean muscle tissue when dieting down and stripping away body fat. Enhance muscular recovery and decrease muscle soreness so you can train at peak intensity every session.

Now, let's dissect all of these building blocks and see how they can assist you in obtaining your goals, and keep you performing at your peak. 

Up first we have Leucine - the king of stimulating muscle protein synthesis and boosting muscle repair! It's called the king of MPS because it has a much more severe impact on protein synthesis than any other amino acid! Leucine activates a major complex in the anabolic (muscle-building) pathway called mTOR. Increased leucine levels signal to mTOR that there is sufficient dietary protein to synthesize new skeletal muscle protein, so mTOR "turns on." An important point to remember is an increase in mTOR activity (and all aspects of the pathway with which it belongs) results in an increase in protein-building and more growth which equals GAINZ!!

Isoleucine -  similar to it's big brother Leucine in almost every way. It promotes muscle recovery, aids in building lean muscle mass, boosting strength and endurance, regulates the blood-sugar levels, and stimulates HGH release. It is also able to significantly increase glucose uptake into a muscle cell and the usage of glucose during exercise for prolonged endurance and increased athletic performance. Isoleucine is intermediate for its ability to induce muscle protein synthesis, which is where big brother (Leucine) really shines!

Valine - Valine helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue by supplying the muscles with extra glucose for energy production during intense physical activity. Valine also helps remove potentially toxic excess nitrogen from the liver and is able to transport nitrogen to other tissues in the body as needed. When the body is in positive nitrogen balance, the body is retaining nitrogen so it can use it to build and repair tissues, such as muscle, or to manufacture other important body proteins such as hormones. Valine is the MVP before workouts, as it's directly responsible for blunting fatigue via a mechanism in the brain.

Phenylalanine - A precursor for tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Its main metabolite is tyrosine which stimulates the production of epinephrine, dopamine and nor-epinephrine. These 3 make up the hormone family called catecholamines. They are secreted by the adrenal medulla, and are crucial for acute expression of strength and power. They also play an important role during resistance training. Their physiological functions include increased force production via central mechanisms and increased metabolic enzyme activity, increased muscle contraction rate, increased blood pressure, increased energy availability, and increased muscle blood flow (via vasodilation).

Threonine - assists natural growth and protein balance. It is used in several of the body’s systems including cardiovascular, liver, central nervous and immune. This essential amino acid is used by the body to create other substances that are necessary for the formation of connective tissue and muscle tissue. It is also beneficial for building strong teeth and bones as well as healing injuries. It also aids in fat metabolism, but perhaps its most useful property of all is that it allows better absorption of other nutrients, so protein sources containing threonine are more bio-available than others.

Lysine - one of the most vital amino acids when it comes to growth and development. Without Lysine, maintaining peak performance is literally impossible! Your body needs lysine to build protein. Its primary role is growth, and it helps strengthen joints and reduce pain as well. lysine is mostly derived from skeletal muscle, it builds and maintains that muscle tissue. It also combines with several vitamins, minerals and amino acids, such as Arginine adn Vitamin C. With Vitamin C, it works to create another amino acid, carnitine, which helps the body effectively burn fat and deliver oxygen to active muscles. With a healthy amount of arginine, lysine increases the plasma levels of human growth hormones. This results in athletes building muscle and improving performance!

Methionine - a sulfur-containing essential amino acid that plays a vital role in tissue growth and repair as well as in the growth of new blood vessels. It is part of many biochemical reactions, including the production of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM or SAMe), which is involved in the synthesis of creatine, epinephrine, and melatonin along with several other substances. Methionine helps improve athletic performance by building bone strength. It adds bone volume, mineralization, and mineral content which improves your ability to perform high-intensity physical activities, aids in overall weight loss through its role in creating creatine in the body, helps improve athletic performance as well as the muscle to fat ratio in the body, and assists in the breakdown and use of fats, which in turn yields a higher testosterone rate.

Histidine - required for the growth and repair of tissues, red blood cell production, and protecting tissues from damage from radiation and heavy metals. It is especially necessary for the formation of myelin sheaths, which are layers surrounding nerves that enables faster transmission of signals to the brain. The most notable benefits of Histidine for athletes is when combined with Beta-Alanine, it leads to the synthesis of the di-peptide carnosine. Though carnosine is found in both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers, it is more prevalent in type 2 fibers, the type primarily used in high-intensity strength training. During high-intensity exercise, lack of oxygen in the muscles leads to the release of lactic acid. This acid dissociates into lactate and hydrogen ions. Carnosine acts as a hydrogen-ion buffer, counteracting lactic acid buildup and the onset of muscle fatigue, which increases your exercise performance via more time to exhaustion. So, the more muscle carnosine you have, the better your workout performance will be!

Tryptophan - acts as a natural mood regulator to control your hormones and energy levels. One of the particular benefits for your physique is Tryptophan’s role at night in Growth Hormone production, the key hormone that is responsible for metabolizing food, breaking down fat and for cellular repair. It's also a key byproduct of another hormone and the popular supplement called 5-HTP, which has a similar effect on the brain helping with relaxation, sleep, and feelings of well-being. It is also associated with the feeling of happiness because it increases serotonin levels. Tryptophan and 5-HTP work by signaling your brain and central nervous system. This sends messages around the entire body, including to your muscles. In turn, your mood state, energy levels, focus, mindset, and sleep will be affected. It’s for this reason that 5-HTP and Tryptophan are used as weight loss supplements because they increase your mood and have been shown to reduce cravings or binge eating. Additionally, 5-HTP and Tryptophan can even lower depression

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If you're training hard and constantly sore, there's a good chance you are lacking key nutrients like protein and amino acids that your body requires to recover and keep improving. Amino Tide is here to help.

Taking EAAs after a workout has been shown to further augment the positive muscle protein synthesis effects of resistance training.  After you weight train, your body is in a prime muscle-building state, and EAAs provide your body with the amino acids it needs. If you’re looking to maximize your training and wish to support your body in muscle growth, EAAs, especially those enriched with leucine like Amino Tide by Alchemy Labs is here to help by giving you a full range of amino acids to aid in muscular repair, and electrolytes to aid in hydration, regulate muscle function, and help rebuild damaged muscle tissue. 

If you're looking to build lean, dense muscle, supplying those muscles throughout the day with the fuel (amino acids) they need to rebuild, repair, and grow with a highly dosed EAA complex like MusclEAA by Allmax Nutrition produces an increase in MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) that creates a positive protein balance and results in a muscle building (anabolic) state that allows you to recover and build muscle more easily. Most research has shown 6-12 g of EAAs to be effective for muscle protein synthesis!

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