BCAAs vs EAAs: What Are Each & How Can They Improve Your Training

bcaa vs eaa
Written by Carl Lombard

Are you looking for information on how BCAAs and EAAs can improve your training? Then our guide is exactly what you need. You’re going to learn what makes each type of aminos unique and how they can put you closer to reaching your fitness goals.

What are BCAAs?

BCAA stands for branched-chain amino-acids – and it’s a group composed by three amino-acids: valine, leucine and isoleucine. As they are essential amino-acids, you have to get them from diet and supplementation because your body isn’t able to synthetize them.

BCAAs are capable of boosting your performance because they fuel your skeletal muscles during a training session – by helping your muscles to preserve glycogen stores and reducing protein breakdown during exercise. 

Therefore, BCAAs are especially beneficial for endurance training such as long-distance running and swimming, as shown in this study focused on endurance treadmill run (source).

In addition, BCAAs, as they minimize protein breakdown during exercise, they will also protect your muscle mass from getting used as energy by your body. More muscle, less fat. 

What are EAAs?

EAA stands for Essential Amino Acid – and hence you need to consume them as your body is not capable of creating them. They are nine and here you have the complete list:

  1. Phenylalanine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Leucine
  4. Tryptophan
  5. Valine
  6. Methionine
  7. Lysine
  8. Threonine
  9. Histidine

So here you have a first difference: the EAAs group is bigger – it means 6 extra amino acids that can bring your body all sort of health benefits. Hence, BCAAs are inside the group of EAAs. 


They both can improve your performance, strength, muscle development, endurance and more – but let’s check all of this better in the next section of BCAA vs. EAA. 

Differences & Similarities Between EAAs & BCAAs

As you can see, EAAs and BCAAs are very similar. They both need to be consumed because your body cannot synthetize them, both can improve your athletic performance by boosting specific areas such as endurance, power and muscle growth. 

To summarize, BCAAs are part of the family of EAAs – that’s why taking EAAs will yield you better results. Let us show you why. 

EAAs Build More Muscle

BCAAs are good at generating anabolic responses – but they are not the best. That place is for EAAs because they’re capable of generating strong anabolic responses by 22% after resistance exercise (source).

EAAs Help You to Manage Your Weight

EAAs allow your body to enjoy the thermogenic benefits of L-Threonine and L-Methionine, resulting in bigger energy expenditure – as high as 20% more than without EAAs (source). With BCAAs alone, you’d not be able to take advantage of these amino acids. 

EAAs Balance Your Hormones

Thanks to the content of L-Leucine, L-Lysine and L-Tryptophan, EAAs are capable of regulating and optimizing your endocrine system. Resulting in effects such as reducing fat mass gain (source) and boosting testosterone levels (source).

BCAAs can do this partly – hence another similarity – but EAAs do it much better, especially in the testosterone boosting department, thanks to the presence of L-Tryptophan and L-Lysine. 

EAAs Improve Your Mental Health

Achieving your fitness goals requires a stable and powerful mind – and that’s what EAAs can help you to obtain thanks to 

What Should You Choose: BCAAs or EAAs?

EAAs are better in all aspects and they should be your go-to choice. However, if you’re already meeting your protein quota, it means you’re getting plenty of essential amino acids from your diet. In that case, you could content yourself with BCAAs – but in any case, it’d be better to opt for EAAs. 

Defining Amino Acids vs BCAAs vs EAAs

To keep things short, let’s think of this as a hierarchy because both BCAAs and EAAs belong to the family of Amino Acids, which has 20 different members. Here you have the complete list:

  1. Alanine
  2. Arginine
  3. Asparagine
  4. Aspartic acid
  5. Cysteine 
  6. Glutamine
  7. Gutamic acid 
  8. Glycine
  9. Histidine
  10. Isoleucine
  11. Leucine
  12. Lysine
  13. Methionine
  14. Phenylalanine
  15. Proline
  16. Serine
  17. Threonine
  18. Tryptophan
  19. Tyrosine
  20. Valine

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein – hence they are responsible for creating the primary structure of proteins. 

Your body needs all the 20 amino acids to work properly – because they are required to build proteins, and hence build muscle, synthetize hormones as well as neurotransmitters. 

In short, they’re essential to keep you alive and both EAAs an BCAAs are just two groups that belong to a bigger family. 

Differentiating Protein from Amino Acids

Proteins are macronutrients conformed by amino acids – therefore, they’re the final product whereas amino acids are the building blocks. 

Each protein requires the 20 amino acids to exist – all of which have different chemistries due to their unique side chains. 

From the same 20 amino acids, your body can create different types of protein. Here’s the list:

  1. Structural Protein: To support the connective network of muscles, bones, tendons – as well as skin, teeth, hair and nails 
  2. Hormonal Protein: To regulate several functions in your body (e.g. insulin to control glucose levels)
  3. Enzymatic Protein: To control and accelerate metabolic processes in your body
  4. Defensive Protein: To create antibodies to support the immune system 
  5. Contractile Protein: To control the speed and strength of muscle contractions
  6. Receptor Protein: To control the substances that enter and leave the cells
  7. Storage Protein: To store mineral ions for vital functions in your body
  8. Transport Protein: To carry vital compounds to your cells such as oxygen and calcium

Proteins go well beyond just building muscle – they’re essential for life, and hence, supplementing with EAAs and BCAAs will help you to improve your fitness performance and health in general.

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Carl Lombard

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