Why EAAs Really Are Essential

Why EAAs Really Are Essential

Essential amino acids (EAAs) are some of the best supplements for workout recovery, building lean muscle mass, boosting your metabolism, and improving your overall wellbeing. Proteins contain essential amino acids, but even if you eat a lot of protein, it can be difficult to get enough of the essential amino acids your body needs. If you eat a plant-based diet, supplementing with EAAs is vital, to ensure you’re getting enough of the essential amino acids everybody needs. In this article, you’ll learn what amino acids are, the benefits of essential amino acids, and how to use EAAs for more lean muscle, faster workout recovery, a strong metabolism and more.

Protein and Amino Acids

The human body is made up almost entirely of protein, with the rest being mostly water and fat. Your skin, muscles, bones, hair, and even DNA are made of protein, and these proteins are made up of amino acids. Whilst carbs and fats provide energy, protein is what gives your body structure and prevents degeneration. Amino acids are the ‘building blocks’ of protein, and there are 20 of them. [1] These 20 amino acids all play vital roles in the body, including:

  • Building and repairing tissue
  • Making hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Providing energy
  • Maintaining muscle mass and bone density
  • Maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails
  • Helping build muscle
  • Breaking down food and turning it into energy
  • Promoting healthy sleep
  • Helping you recover from exercise and stress

Amongst the 20 amino acids, there are 9 essential amino acids. These are essential because the body cannot make them itself, and they must be obtained through food or supplements. [2] [3]

What Are The 9 Essential Amino Acids And What Do They Do?

  1. Phenylalanine: Important for the production of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which drive motivation and alertness. Also aids in the production of melanin, which gives colour to the hair, eyes and skin. [4]
  2. Valine: Essential for mental focus, calmness, muscle repair and co-ordination. [5]
  3. Tryptophan: The precursor to serotonin, which is important for a balanced mood, as well as being a precursor to melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’.
  4. Threonine: Aids in weight loss, reduced blood pressure, mental focus and relaxation. [6]
  5. Isoleucine: A key amino acid for muscle protein synthesis, metabolism, growth and immune health. [7]
  6. Methionine: Aids in breaking down fats, improving digestive health and liver health, and even eliminating heavy metals from the body. [8]
  7. Histidine: Used in muscle growth and repair of damaged tissues, as well as making blood cells and protecting nerves. Can also improve fasting glucose and BMI markers. [9]
  8. Leucine: An important component of protein synthesis, tissue repair, metabolism, and can generate ATP (energy). [10]
  9. Lysine: Helps the body absorb calcium and synthesise collagen, important for skin, connective tissue, joints and bones. Also helps reduce and prevent cold sores. [11] [12]

How Do I Know I’m Getting Enough Essential Amino Acids?

As you can see, essential amino acids are vital for mental health, brain health, muscle health, metabolism and more, but many people don’t eat enough of the foods high in essential amino acids to get the benefits. A deficiency in essential amino acids can cause decreased immunity, loss of muscle mass, depression and anxiety, irritability, bone loss, issues with nutrient absorption, difficulty focusing, insomnia, anaemia, blood sugar dysregulation, weakness, loss of libido and a host of other serious problems. [13] This makes it even more important to focus on the right foods, and to supplement with EAAs to ensure you’re getting the optimal amount. Food sources of EAAs include:

The Best Food Sources of Essential Amino Acids

protein sources

  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy

These are the best sources of essential amino acids, because they’re complete proteins, and contain all 9 EAAs. They’re also easier to digest and obtain the protein from. Plant based proteins lack at least one of the essential amino acids, meaning they’re not a complete protein and won’t give you the essential benefits. If you adopt a plant-based diet, you can create complete proteins by using food combining to ensure you’re getting all 9 amino acids. Combine foods like rice and beans, whole grains and seeds, nuts and grains, or beans and seeds, as well as supplementing with EAAs.

Who Should Supplement With EAAs?

Protein in your body is constantly being broken down into amino acids, used for tissue repair, muscle building, making hormones, and regulating immune function, and it needs to be replenished regularly. [14] Even if you eat a diet high in protein, it’s the quality of the protein and the amount of essential amino acids you consume that really matters. We are not just ‘what we eat’, we are ‘what we can digest’, so if you have digestive issues such as IBS, Coeliac or Crohn’s, it’s likely your body is not absorbing all the nutrients from whole foods. This is why EAAs are one of the best supplements for digestive issues, muscle repair, metabolism and hormone balance, because they’re extremely easy to digest, and are quickly absorbed into the body. Supplementing with EAAs also ensures you’re getting optimum levels of protein, without having to stop to eat several large meals throughout the day. It’s even more important to consume higher levels of EAAs if you’re:

  • Active or exercising regularly
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Injured
  • Trying to lose weight
  • Over 40


Before we dive into some of the key benefits of EAAs, it’s important to know the difference between BCAAs and EAAs, because you’ll probably come across both. BCAAs are ‘branched chain amino acids’, which are very quickly digested and can provide energy and enhance exercise performance, but they only contain three amino acids and far less benefits than EAAs. BCAAs can also deplete B vitamins, lead to overeating and weight gain, and tend to be poor quality. EAAs are high quality, contain all 9 amino acids, give a longer-lasting benefit when it comes to muscle protein synthesis, support adequate protein intake, and provide all the amino acids necessary for building and repairing muscle. [15]

Key Benefits of Supplementing With EAAs

 workout recovery

 1. EAAs For Better Workout Recovery

Taking 1 to 2 servings of EAAs 30 minutes before a workout can provide your body with more energy to power through your exercise, reduce muscle fatigue and post-workout soreness, significantly increase muscle protein synthesis, and greatly enhance muscle recovery. The Love Life Supplements EAAs contain higher levels of leucine, which studies show makes EAA supplements even more effective, and increases the mechanisms for muscle building. [16]

 2. EAAs for Lean Muscle Mass & Metabolism

Having enough healthy lean muscle mass is vital not only for reducing your risk of injury, but it also speeds up metabolism, improves bone density, and aids in longevity. The more muscle your body has, the higher your metabolic rate, meaning your body is burning calories even when at rest. EAAs also help maintain muscle mass as we age. After age 30, muscle mass decreases on average 3-8% per decade, and the rate is even higher after age 60. [17] Loss of muscle mass and bone density as we age contributes to poor recovery from operations and procedures, increased risk of fractures, and a decreased ability to stay active. Nutrient absorption also decreases as we age, so even a high-protein diet may not be enough to maintain muscle mass and optimal essential amino acid levels later in life, [18] making supplementing with easy-to-digest EAAs vital for both muscle mass and bone density. [19]

 3. EAAs for Weight loss and Intermittent Fasting

Eating more protein improves muscle mass and metabolism, but if you’re on a weight loss protocol, it can be difficult to get the balance right with the amount of calories you need, versus the amount of protein your body can absorb. This is why EAAs are beneficial for weight loss; they’re extremely low in calories, and high in the components your body needs to stimulate weight loss. [20] EAAs can also support you through periods of fasting or intermittent fasting by maintaining muscle mass, preventing fatigue, boosting mental clarity whilst helping you avoid brain fog, decreasing hunger and helping you recover from physical activity. [21]

Key Takeaways

  • Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They’re vital, and can only be obtained through diet and supplementation
  • Many people do not consume enough high-quality protein to meet their essential amino acid needs
  • EAAs are essential for muscle, metabolism, bone health, mental clarity, hormone balance, mood and enabling you to stay active
  • EAAs can enhance your workouts, improve workout recovery and metabolism, improve immune health, aid weight loss, support intermittent fasting, prevent age-related muscle and bone loss, and help you stay active as you age.

How To Use EAAs

Use 5 to 10 capsules of the Love Life Supplements EAAs daily, or use the Essential Aminos Drink in refreshing apple and kiwi flavour. Boost your workout and recovery by taking 30 minutes before a workout, or supplement your meals with the EAAs. You can also take EAAs between meals to enhance muscle protein synthesis, and whilst fasting to help maintain lean muscle and healthy metabolism.


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