History of BCAA's

For quite a while branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements have been some of the most popular products on the market. Launched into the spotlight by some early and somewhat questionable research, along with a lot of clever marketing! They had people all over the world believing that BCAA's were the answer to ultimate gains!!!!

There were always a few people that believe that all 9 aminos were needed rather than just the 3 branched chain aminos. However those voices were drowned out by the absolute noise of the BCAA movement.

EAA's and what they consist of

Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body, and must be obtained through the diet. This is why they’re all “essential”. There are nine EAAs that consist of:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

How the three BCAAs are a bit different

BCAAs are metabolised differently than the rest of the amino acids in the body. Rather than pass through the stomach and onto the liver for processing, the BCAAs bypass the liver and are transported to your muscles, where they are broken down into branched-chain oxo acids (BCOA).

Which are then broken down into ATP, which is why we say that BCAAs can be great for improving endurance and natural energy levels during exercise. The other benefit to BCAAs is that they activate the (mTOR) pathway, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis in the body, Which im sure the majority of you will have heard of!

However a LOT of this is actually done through one of the BCAA's Leucine. So some would argue it may be beneficial to just supplement with leucine.

'This sounds great! SO why do we need the other EAA's?'

So, to increase protein synthesis above basal levels, you need ALL nine amino acids! 

BCAAs are anti-catabolic, not necessarily directly anabolic. In other words, they can help prevent muscle protein breakdown.  Since a straight BCAA supplement does not contain all nine of the EAAs required by the body to build muscle, they are not superior for muscle growth. That’s not to say that BCAAs are outright useless. BCAAs may be of benefit during endurance exercise or fasted training because they can be used for fuel, which we discussed above. 


So, to round off this post, EAA's clearly are the winner in this huge battle that has been going on for years. There are far too many studies suggesting so, as well as the fact that why not have BCAA's and EAA's which is what you will get with an EAA Supplement.

Thats not to say that BCAA's are useless but in our personal opinion and judgment, EAA's truly are more useful in building a better physique.