If you can think back to your high school biology class, you might remember there are 20 amino acids that link together to form polypeptide chains- which are the basic building blocks of protein. The body metabolizes protein by breaking it down into its basic amino acids, which are then used in almost every biological function you could think of... generating neurotransmitters to help nerve messages reach their destination, regulating the immune system, regulating sleep, controlling appetite, producing hormones, and synthesizing new tissue including muscle. One might say they sound essential…
Our body can produce 11 of the 20 necessary amino acids on its own. The other 9 are called the Essential Amino Acids, or EAAs:
These 9 EAAs cannot be produced by the body, so they must be obtained by ingestion, aka through our diet. You can get your EAAs from food, but if your diet is not supplying enough of the EAAs, your body will suffer the consequences. That’s where supplements come in. Just like in the case of protein powder, EAA supplements provide a concentrated dose of the amino acids you need to thrive. EAA supplements have been linked to improved mood, reduced soreness, improved sleep, faster muscle recovery, and better exercise performance because of the beneficial regulatory roles of amino acids.
The other amino acids you'll hear about are BCAA supplements. The Branched Chained Amino Acids (‘branched’ referring to their chemical side groups) include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids are more specifically responsible for promoting anabolic pathways. In other words, they promote muscle build-up (mass) and prevent fatigue. Leucine, in particular, has been shown to reduce fat mass gain.
When looking for an amino acid supplement, it’s best to take one with both EAAs and BCAAs so you're getting the full recovery and health benefits. Our Tactical Amino's offer a full spectrum of both Essential Amino Acids and Branch Chain Amino Acids, so you're getting a complete formula in one tub.
An added bonus: they're delicious! I like to mix a half scoop with water 2-3 times a day. This helps switch things up from plain on old water and keeps me hydrated.
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 6, Protein and Amino Acids. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234922/
Holeček, M. Branched-chain amino acids in health and disease: metabolism, alterations in blood plasma, and as supplements. Nutr Metab (Lond) 15, 33 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-018-0271-1
Vianna D, Resende GF, Torres-Leal FL, Pantaleão LC, Donato J Jr, Tirapegui J. Long-term leucine supplementation reduces fat mass gain without changing body protein status of aging rats. Nutrition. 2012;28(2):182-189. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2011.04.004