Whey protein has similar effects on increasing muscle protein synthesis to EAAs when the EAA dosages are similar. The research does not support fast proteins being superior for muscle growth to slow proteins. While dieting, a higher dosage of EAA is needed to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Essential amino acid mix powders have similar effects on increasing muscle protein synthesis when the essential amino acids are similar.
There were no differences in protein synthesis between the groups at the end of the study (late phase adaptation). There was no difference in muscle growth or strength gains between the two groups, although the protein polyphenol group tended to have more muscle growth.
A homemade whey protein powder/shake or whey casein blend protein with tart cherry and pomegranate may be beneficial for reducing muscle soreness and improving recovery.
INCOMPLETE AMINO ACIDS ARE MISSING AT LEAST ONE ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID
Whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate protein powder, and essential amino acids mix complex are commonly taken post-workout to gain muscle. Whey protein with milk or water after a workout is the original whey protein muscle builder. You can make your own whey protein/advanced whey protein powder with creatine and whey protein together is a common combination taken post-exercise to maximize gains in muscle.
For those that are fasting, many people will commonly ask if essential amino acids break a fast. The short answer is yes, but essential amino acids can maintain optimal protein synthesis during a fast. Before fasting, it is important to establish your fitness and health goals before going on a fast.
Another favorite recipe is whey protein with greek yogurt to build muscle. Is it better to consume a pure essential amino acid supplement, or is it better to consume a whey/casein blend protein for optimal gains in muscle mass? The amount of protein is less important than the amount of essential amino acids complex a supplement contains.
When an essential amino acid is missing from the diet, this results in a dampened protein synthesis response. An incomplete protein is missing at least one essential amino acid. If a diet is lacking an essential amino acid (i.e., incomplete proteins), such as foods such as beans, specific nuts, and tofu will not give you all of the amino acids your body needs.
This is why some amino acids are called essential amino acids. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The best essential amino acid supplements should contain contain all 9 amino acids.
IF A DIET IS LACKING AN ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID
Certain amino acids are called essential amino acids because they are needed for optimal health. When an essential amino acid is lacking from the diet, sub-optimal increases in protein synthesis occur. Plant based foods and plant based diets are lower in BCAAs and EAAs compared to meat based products on a gram-per-gram basis. The BCAAs include leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The amount of essential amino acids in a protein is the critical determining factor for increasing protein synthesis. Not all proteins are the same. 20 grams of whey protein is superior to 20 grams of wheat protein because of its higher concentration of essential amino acids. When compared head to head (i.e., whey protein vs. essential amino acid mix), essential amino acids are absorbed faster than whey protein.(1)
This study also found that a combination of whey and essential amino acid mix resulted in a greater increase in protein synthesis after exercise than the whey protein supplement. However, the whey protein supplement only contained 12.6 grams of whey protein. A larger dose of whey protein (i.e., 40 grams) would likely have shown similar results to the whey plus EAA beverage.
The Benefits of EAAs
What if you standardized the amount of essential amino acid mix to a whey protein supplement? Are the best essential amino acids supplements better than standard whey protein? Would there be an anabolic advantage for EAAs over whey protein? Researchers compared 30 grams of EAAs to 30 grams of milk protein supplement.
The total EEAs of the milk protein was 13 grams, whereas the EAAs of the amino acid supplements were 13.4 grams. As expected, the free-form amino acid group had a faster rise in blood EAAs; however, the muscle protein synthesis rates were similar over six hours.(2)
A 2022 study compared 30 grams of milk protein to 30 grams of EAAs. The total dose of EAAs was 43.2 grams for milk protein and 44.7 grams for EAA drinks. As expected, the EAA group had a faster rise in protein synthesis, but by 2 hours, there was no difference in protein synthesis.(2) Keep in mind that no study has ever found that faster protein synthesis increases results in greater muscle growth.