BCAA vs EAA: What is the difference?

A very common question in the world of fitness, What is better to consume BCAA’s or EAA?

There are a lot of supplements on the market that is classified as branched-chain amino acids. There are also many supplements classified as essential amino acids, but which one is worth consuming?


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are composed of essential amino acids (especially valine, leucine, and isoleucine). BCAAs are needed to maintain muscle tissue and preserve muscle glycogen stores. They can even help prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins during exercise.

Studies have shown that supplementation with BCAA’s can increase the amount of nitrogen stored in the muscle. This has the effect of minimizing the loss of muscle tissue after intense exercise and strict diet. Also, reduce recovery time while helping muscle growth and tissue repair. [1]


Essential amino acids (EAA) are necessary to help build new muscle tissue and aid in cell repair that occurs when muscles are recovering.

These are essential because the human organism cannot synthesize them. EAA must, in turn, come from diet or supplements. For those who are involved in intensive training, with a very tight diet, they can ensure with this supplementation, that they receive enough EAA that the body needs.

These are the essential amino acids by the body: L valine, L-lysine, L-phenylalanine, L-threonine, L-histidine, L-methionine, L-tryptophan., L-leucine, L-isoleucine.

If you do not eat enough Essential Amino Acids (EAA) in your diet, the body will not extract the maximum nutrients from the protein sources you consume. Excess calories from protein can be stored as fat. The requirement of a balanced number of amino acids in the diet is known as “the limitation of protein utilization”. Therefore, adequate supplementation is crucial. [2]

What is the difference between these two compounds?

BCAAs only consist of 3 of the 8 essential amino acids, which are mainly used for growth, muscle repair and therefore recover optimally after exercise. BCAA however, is not a complete protein as an EAA is.

EAAs are required in the synthesis of complete proteins and also contain BCAAs, but they usually have a lower amount.

Another point, BCAAs are absorbed faster. So if you considered BCAA vs EAA before or during a long workout, I recommend BCAAs

In summary, if you have an intense training routine it would be beneficial to invest in both products. Take your EAA, between meals or after workout. And the BCAAs before and during training.


What is the best supplement for you? And the answer will only depend on you, and there are as many cases as people. My tips to help you choose are:

  • If you practice a resistance sport or are not looking for great muscle development, it is recommended to combine BCAA with glutamine.
  • For muscle development, the consumption of EAA is recommended, since they are more complete to favor the formation of lean mass. Another equally good option is to combine the BCAA with other supplements with which to achieve a greater volumizing effect, such as proteins, creatine or even both.
  • If you follow a very intense training routine, you can combine the BCAA with EAA, or choose a product that combines both, for greater results.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5691664/
  2. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9

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