Essential Amino Acid Blends


I keep seeing ads for various Essential Amino Acid blends. I recall you saying that some EAA formulas don’t contain all 9 essential aminos, going back to the time you rolled out Synthagen. Are things still like that, or what should I be looking for?


It’s still a fact that many EAA formulas on the market – don’t contain all 9 EAA’s.

This situation is better today though than it was a decade ago when I made that observation.

But you still need to be careful.

To my great astonishment (then and now), many EAA formulas come up short in at least one of the EAA’s (usually, Tryptophan). Companies typically substitute Arginine, Tyrosine or I’ve also see 5-htp and Agmatine.

Step #1 then, is making sure a formula contains all 9 EAA’s (and doesn’t substitute a non or conditionally essential AA ).

You’ll also hear just consuming the BCAA’s can work against you.

That would be quite the understatement IMO, as doing so halts muscle growth.

Its actually very well established an absence of just 1 EAA will stop protein synthesis in its tracks.

Now, you’ve heard me say ratios matter, and I’m going to keep saying it because it worth playing around with them IMO (EAA’s).

Many people still doubt this, but the truth is you can go back as far as the 1960’s where studies were done optimizing EAA ratios in various animals, showing BIG differences.

For example, one study I looked at showed chicks given a very specific ratio of EAA’s showed 25% better muscle growth.

Chicks aren’t people, but it serves to illustrate a point: Ratios matter.

Those animal studies also formed the base from which human studies were done, of which there are quite a few showing EAA’s efficacy.

Also, when shopping for EAA’s it would be more helpful to remember the following: There is a PERMISSIVE level of Leucine in most animal, protein rich foods, and that figure is around 2.5 – 3g.

For most people using a commercial, off the shelf EAA formula its best to stick with at least 6 grams of EAA’s, as that’s been shown in human studies to result in a very large increase in protein synthesis.

Timing also matters, as when 6 grams was given pre-workout it resulted in a 600% increase in protein synthesis, vs. 400% when those same 6 grams were given immediately after.

Bottom Line

EAA’s are still the #1 supplement you should be spending $ on IMO, as the upside is even bigger than originally thought.

Hope that helps.

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Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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