The EAA movement is here and if you aren’t on top of it, you’re going to be left behind. While EAAs aren’t anabolic in the sense that they compare to a steroid cycle or prohormone, they do have properties that help maximize an anabolic response which, in turn, can help you not only put on lean muscle mass but also help preserve it when dieting.
For years BCAAs were the craze and if you weren’t using them, well, you were voted off of the island. These days, research is showing not only are BCAAs (the big three – leucine, isoleucine, valine) helpful in recovery and muscle retention but when added to other essential amino acids allow for the full power potential to be unleashed.
Unfortunately, newer findings are saying that BCAAs, alone, are not capable of creating a strong anabolic response but when all nine essential amino acids are present you have a greater ability to build quality lean muscle mass. Now, this isn’t saying BCAAs are worthless as they are three of the nine EAAs needed, but simply as a standalone, they aren’t as beneficial.
Leucine (one of the three BCAAs), however, still holds its placing as the most powerful and beneficial BCAA when it comes to helping stimulate muscle protein synthesis but the results aren’t significant when EAAs are present.
The Anabolic Benefits of EAAs are A-OK
What’s the main thing you’re trying to achieve when you think of an anabolic response? Putting on mounds of quality muscle, right? Well, in order to do that, you need to increase protein synthesis – ultimately, it’s the actual process of building lean muscle mass. When you are able to increase protein synthesis, you have the ability to increase recovery and help rebuild torn down muscle fibers when combined with a solid nutrition plan that includes quality sources of protein.
As the research has shown, even those who are “old adults” confined to bed rest and not allowed to exercise have maintained protein synthesis when unable to exercise, while the placebo group actually showed their protein synthesis to have decreased by around 30%. Therefore, even when no exercise is completed, muscle protein synthesis is still activated through proper supplementation involving the use of EAAs.
The anabolic effect of EAAs can also be shown in research that looked at how muscle is preserved in not only athletes but also the elderly who generally find their lean muscle mass decreasing as they age. When EAAs were present in a supplement regimen, participants showed an increase in lean body mass, basal muscle protein synthesis, and IGF-1.
When touching on hormones, the research is pretty compelling as well. Supplementing with EAAs has shown to be able to decrease cortisol levels while increasing testosterone levels. This finding is extremely promising to those who are looking to add quality size to their frame.
EAAs also have the ability to boost immunity and collagen production in the body – adding to the list of awesomeness that can be had through supplementing with essential amino acids.