EAA is the abbreviation for Essential Amino Acids. These nutrients are essential for survival and cannot be produced by your body. You must therefore take them in through food or dietary supplements.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are nine essential amino acids: leucine, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, and histidine.
In comparison, BCAAs (i.e., Branched Chain Amino Acids) contain only three essential amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine. However, your body needs all nine essential amino acids to function optimally. For this reason, EAA supplements are better than BCAA supplements.
Essential amino acids are necessary for building muscle. However, these protein building blocks perform many more functions in your body. Without them, survival would not be possible. They are essential for all processes in your body. These include normal brain function, the blood supply to your body, proper immune system functioning, and the regulation of your hormone balance.
Furthermore, your body can synthesize the other, non-essential amino acids by absorbing the nine essential amino acids. This is another point supporting an adequate supply of essential amino acids.
A daily intake of 10-15 g of EAAs seems to have a positive influence on muscle building. The amino acid leucine plays a significant role here, as it is the first to set protein synthesis in motion.
Natural protein-rich foods contain essential amino acids, including meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and legumes.
A vegan diet makes it more difficult to supply sufficient EAAs, since plant protein sources usually do not contain all of the essential amino acids. Therefore, it is recommended, especially in a vegan diet, to resort to an EAA supplement or a complete protein powder. However, it is possible to combine multiple incomplete vegan protein sources to achieve a complete amino acid profile across a single meal. For instance, most of the amino acids that are not found in beans can be found in whole grains, so eating both beans and whole grains in a meal can be beneficial.