Difference Between BCAA and EAA (With Table)

Amino acids are basically broken down proteins. Essential amino acids are those amino acids that a body cannot create by itself, person to fulfil its requirement, needs to take supplements. There are in total 9 essential amino acids broadly known as EAAS. BCAAS are three out of the nine essential amino acids.

BCAA vs EAA

The difference between BCAA and EAA is that BCAAs are also known as Branched Chain Amino Acids, and constitute 3 out of 9 essential amino acids, whereas EAAS basically constitutes nine amino acids that are considered to be essential. A body cannot create them by itself, so one has to take supplements to fulfill its requirement.

BCAAs are also known as branched-chain amino acids. They are huge building blocks of protein that have a branched molecular structure. Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine are three types of BCAAS. They are one of the most popular sports supplements available in the market.

EAAs comprise 9 out of 20 amino acids, also known as essential amino acids. All of these are responsible for performing different functions in the human body. Lysine, threonine, histidine, tryptophan, methionine, valine, lysine, leucine, and isoleucine are nine types of amino acids.

Comparison Table Between BCAA and EAA

Parameters of ComparisonBCAAEAA
Molecular structureThey have aliphatic side chains along with a central carbon atom bound to three or even more carbon atoms.The molecular structure of EAAs constitutes essential amino acids in addition to the branched-chain amino acids.
Number of amino acidsBCAAs comprise 3 essential amino acids. Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine are 3 such amino acids.EAAs include 9 amino acids which are all categorized as essential amino acids.
Protein synthetic responseBCAAs are not considered very good for exercise and have a very low protein synthetic response.EAAs are very good for exercise and have a very high protein synthetic response.
Energy levelBCAAs are very helpful in fighting muscle fatigue and promoting endurance and strength during highly intense training periods.EAAs are not as helpful as BCAAs in fighting muscle fatigue and for the promotion of endurance and strength during highly intense training periods.
Immunity supportBCAAs do not provide as good immunity support as EAAs due to the non-availability of histamine, an essential amino acid for immunity support.EAAs have a component of histidine that produces histamine, which is an essential component for improving immunity support.

What is BCAA?

BCAAs are also known as branched-chain amino acids. It basically comprises three vital amino acids known as Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine. Researchers have found out that BCAAs are helpful in muscle protein synthesis and prevents muscles degradation or breakdown. They are highly beneficial for post-workout muscle soreness and promoting speedy recovery of muscles.

The benefits of using BCAAs as a supplement are:-

  • The use of BCAAs is helpful in reducing the amount of muscle fatigue. Using BCAAs supplements during the pre-workout session helps one to gym extra.
  • One of the major benefits of BCAA is to enhance the recovery of muscles and joints. They are also highly useful in reducing muscle soreness.

The major drawbacks of BCAA are:-

  • One of the major drawbacks of BCAA is that it negatively blood sugar metabolism.
  • BCAA is not at all suitable for pregnant and lactating women.
  • It lowers your serotonin level and thus hampers an individual’s sleep cycle.
  • It may also dysregulate various other protein metabolisms.

Studies indicate that BCAAs helps in reducing mental and physical fatigue by almost 15%. BCAA contains only 3 out of 9 essential amino acids, so one may not avail the benefit of every type of component by using BCAA.

What is EAA?

EAAs constitute 9 amino acids that are responsible for various functions in the human body. It consists of valine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, histidine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine. It is a supplement that helps in increasing the strength and endurance of a person.

The major benefits of using EAA as a supplement are:-

  • One of the major benefits of EAA is to increase muscle protein synthesis as it contains all the necessary amino acids required for increasing muscle protein synthesis.
  • It also helps in providing better immunity support due to the presence of an amino acid called histidine that produces histamine.
  • It also helps in providing hormonal balance to the body as it contains amino acids like leucine and lysine that are helpful in keeping the endocrine system balanced.

The major drawbacks of using EAAs are:-

  • They may be harmful to the digestive system of children, so one must consult a doctor before using these EAA based supplements.

They are also helpful in weight management as it contains methionine that helps a body metabolize fat and detoxify an individual’s blood. It may also be useful in making your mood cheerful and good.

Main Differences Between BCAA and EAA

  1. BCAA have aliphatic side-chains with a single carbon atom in the middle bound to three or more carbon atoms, whereas EAAs constitute all the essential amino acids.
  2. BCAA comprises 3 amino acids, whereas EAAs constitutes a total of 9 amino acids.
  3. BCAA does not have a good protein synthetic response, whereas EAAs have a very amazing protein synthetic response.
  4. BCAA does not provide a good immunity boost when compared to EAA due to the non-presence of histidine in the BCAA supplement.
  5. BCAA are very effective in fighting muscle fatigue, whereas EAAs are not very effective in countering muscle fatigue.

Conclusion

Both BCAA and EAA have pros as well as cons, but one can make the right purchase decision by analyzing his needs and wants. What a person expects from a supplement should be the deciding factor in differentiating between the two products. The price of both the supplements is almost the same, but the difference lies in their uses.

EAA contains all nine essential amino acids. On the other hand, BCAA constitutes 3 basic and popular amino acids. If you follow a vegan-based diet, go for EAA. Else you can consider the use of BCAA as well. One must consult his gym trainer to make the best purchase decision.

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/134/6/1583S/4688850
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561409000727
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