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Essential Amino Acids (EAAs): Your Simple Guide

Quick Summary

  • Amino acids are the building blocks of life, essential for various bodily functions
  • Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are nine specific amino acids that the body can't produce on its own
  • EAAs include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, & valine
  • EAAs are crucial for muscle growth & repair, particularly leucine
  • EAAs like lysine & arginine are important for immune function
  • They also help in cellular energy production & reducing fatigue
  • EAAs are abundant in animal-based foods like meat, fish, & dairy
  • Plant-based sources include legumes, whole grains, & certain vegetables
  • EAA supplements can complement dietary intake but shouldn’t replace a balanced diet
  • Recommended EAA intake varies by age, activity level, & individual needs
  • Taking EAAs around workouts can optimise muscle repair
  • EAAs are generally well-tolerated but excessive intake can lead to imbalances
  • When choosing an EAA supplement, consider factors like brand quality, user reviews, & form
  • Understanding & incorporating EAAs can have a significant impact on health, performance & workout recovery


Amino acids are often called the "building blocks of life," but do you know what sets Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) apart from the rest? These special compounds play a pivotal role in our health, well-being, and physical performance. In this article, we'll delve into what EAAs are, why they're crucial, & how you can make sure you're getting enough of them.

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are organic compounds that serve as the building blocks for proteins, which are vital for numerous physiological functions. They play a crucial role in muscle repair, enzyme creation, & neurotransmitter formation, among other things. Proteins are made up of a sequence of amino acids, & these can sometimes be broken down into smaller sequences known as peptides.

Why Are Some Amino Acids 'Essential'?

Of the 20 amino acids, nine are termed 'essential,' namely histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, & valine. These EAAs are termed 'essential' because our bodies can't synthesize them; thus, they must be obtained through our diet.

Benefits of EAAs

EAAs are not just essential in name; they offer a range of health benefits:

  • Muscle Growth & Repair: EAAs, particularly leucine, stimulate protein synthesis, crucial for muscle building & repair.
  • Immune Function: Amino acids like lysine & arginine play a role in immune health.
  • Energy Levels: EAAs help in cellular energy production, reducing fatigue.
  • Mood and Mental Focus: Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood & focus.

Dietary Sources of EAAs

You can get your dose of EAAs through various food sources:

  • Animal-based sources: Meat, fish, & dairy are rich in EAAs.
  • Plant-based sources: Legumes, whole grains, & certain vegetables & seeds.
  • Supplements: EAA supplements can fill nutritional gaps but should not replace a balanced diet.

EAA Requirements

The recommended daily intake of EAAs varies according to age, activity level, & individual needs. Athletes may require more, while special populations like pregnant women should consult healthcare providers for personalised advice. When supplementing with EAAs we'd always recommend following the manufacturer's label instructions.

When to Take EAAs

  • Around Workouts: Consuming EAAs before or after workouts can optimise muscle repair.
  • Rest Days: To support overall recovery & immune function.
  • In Combination: Consuming EAAs with carbohydrates, such as a high glycemic drink, can maximise absorption.

Potential EAA Side Effects & Cautions

  • Normally: EAAs are well tolerated & are a low risk to cause serious side effects.
  • Overconsumption: Excessive intake can lead to imbalances.
  • Medication Interaction: Consult your healthcare provider if you're on medication.
  • Medical Conditions: Those with liver or kidney issues should be cautious.

How to Choose an EAA Supplement

When choosing a supplement, consider the following:

  • Brand Quality: Choose reputable brands. In Australia, this may include Elemental Nutrition or Gen-Tec Nutrition.
  • Reviews: Take the time to read other customer reviews when shopping for your EAA supplement.
  • Flavoured or Raw: Flavoured powders may taste better, however, remember they may include synthetic additives or sweeteners.
  • Price: The cheapest option may not always be the best. Being a lower-cost type of supplement it may be worth spending a few dollars more for a premium quality.
  • Advice: Contact Mr Supplement by telephone, email, or in person to receive a personal recommendation.
  • Form: EAAs come in various forms like powders, capsules, & tablets with powders being the most popular.


Understanding & incorporating Essential Amino Acids into your life can be a game-changer for your health & performance. From muscle growth & immune function to mood stabilisation & beyond, these organic compounds are indeed essential.

  • "The Role of Amino Acids in Human Nutrition" - Journal of Nutritional Science
  • "Essential Amino Acids: Definition, Benefits and Food Sources" - Healthline
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