GAIN MUSCLE

EAA Supplements: 6 Best Choices for 2022

by Nader Qudimat
Updated May 9, 2022

If you want to build muscle...

You'd think protein is the way to go.

After all, protein powders is the most popular category.

Honestly, protein supplements are likely all you need.

They contain the right amount of amino acids to create the perfect environment for muscle growth. 

But there's a huge disadvantage to protein powders.

MOST COMPLETE
BCAA by Huge Nutrition

With 14.675 grams of EAAs, BCAA by Huge Supplements is one of the best intra formulas.

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RECOMMENDED
CoreSeries Intra Workout by Transparent Labs

Intra by Transparent Labs contains a nice balance of amino acids, including BCAA's and EAA's, along with 150mg ElevATP.

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They can't be consumed during workouts.

And protein powders aren't one size fits all.

Digestion issues, types of protein, fillers and flavoring... 

It's a cocktail of many ingredients that can cause issues, especially digestion.

This is where essential amino acid supplements come in.

But with many essential amino acid supplements vying for your attention, which do you choose?

To help you choose the best, we created a list of the 6 best Essential Amino Acid supplements in the market.

Let's dig into the list...

Best Essential Amino Acid Supplements based on:

Best EAA Supplements

HIGH QUALITY

Intra-Workout by Transparent Labs

$39.99
on transparentlabs.com
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6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

Intra has 6.7 grams of Essential Amino Acids, 5 grams of which are made up of instantized BCAAs.

Instantization is an agglomeration process meant to improve the dispersibility and solubility of powders like EAAs. 

Being instantized means Intra’s BCAAs are not only fast-acting, they also won’t cause the usual bloating associated with amino acid supplements.

On top of the high EAA dose, we also have complementary pre workout ingredients such as:

  • Citrulline malate (the best nitric oxide enhancer for pumps)
  • Taurine (for water-based pumps and mental energy)
  • Betaine for performance
  • ElevATP for added cellular energy
  • Tyrosine for focus.
  • Coconut water powder as an electrolyte source 
  • Astragin as a premium bioavailability enhancer.

Citrulline malate (the best nitric oxide enhancer for pumps), taurine (for water-based pumps and mental energy), betaine for performance, elevATP for added cellular energy, and tyrosine for focus.

It also has coconut water powder as an electrolyte source and Astragin as a premium bioavailability enhancer.

We picked it as #1 because it embodies a good balance between high quality ingredients, a reputable company, ample dose per ingredient, and value for money.

It’s not near the highest in terms of EAA dose, but its overall synergy makes it have a great case for #1 in our list.

Reduces fatigue and increases performance
High quality formula
Vegan instantized BCAA's
None
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LOADED WITH AMINO ACIDS

BCAA by Huge Nutrition

$39.99
on hugesupplements.com
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Discount CodeFITFREK
6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

When you just want a formula that’s high in amino acids, you can’t go wrong with BCAA by Huge Supplements. 

The grand total amino acids content rounds up to a whopping 14.675 grams per serving, one of the largest single-serving amino acids in the market.

Almost half of those come directly from its BCAA content, while ⅓ of the entire blend comes from Glutamine, one of the most critical amino acids for muscle building and glucose production.

  • 14.675 grams per serving, big servings of EAA
  • BCAA included
  • Includes glutamine, helps muscle building and glucose production.

Being a purely EAA supplement that doesn’t have stimulants, BCAA by Huge Supplements is ideal for those who want to have a good base for their pre workout or protein stacks.

Improves recovery and reduces fatigue
Loadedw with amino acids
Uses coconut water
None
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COMPLETE

Enigma by Apollon Nutrition

$46.50
on nutricartel.com
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Discount CodeFITFREK
6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

One of our criteria for choosing the best EAA supplements is the flexibility they offer.

Not only does Enigma by Apollon Nutrition contains high EAA content (mostly BCAAs), it’s also lets you choose whether you want the full dose or just half.

After all, you don’t need the full servings every time.

Sometimes you just need it as part of your loading phase, similar to creatine, so the smaller dose is a welcome alternative.

But of course you can do this with any supplement.

Enigma also contains an electrolyte blend plus betaine for better recovery, which is always nice to have in any ergogenic blend.

The catch is, Enigma is also one of the more expensive EAA supplements in the market, with one bottle costing $54.95 or about $2 per scoop, depending on whether you choose half or full.

Then again, if you truly care about quality and nothing else, Enigma is perfect.

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Massive 30g per serving
Increases strength and reduces fatigue
Loaded with ergogenic aids
Expensive
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WHAT

Superhuman Intra by Alpha Lion

$37.95
on nutricartel.com
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Discount CodeFITFREK
6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

Superhuman Intra contains a total of 10 grams EAA, with 6 of those 10 grams coming from instantized BCAA.

It also contains premium sources of electrolytes, trace minerals, taurine, and Astragin for added bioavailability.

Much like Enigma, Superhuman Intra provides dosing flexibility by choosing half or the full two-scoop dosing.

What sets it apart from Enigma is its use of instantized BCAA, which in theory should lead to better anabolic response and muscle protein synthesis because of it's faster absorption.

So while Superhuman Intra loses out on total EAA servings, it more than makes up for it with using premium, fast-acting amino acids.

  • Electrolytes and trace minerals for hydration
  • Taurine for an extra source of pump
  • Astragin for bioavailability

The taste is amazing as well.

It’s available in three flavors:

  • Tropic Thunder (Tropical Pineapple),
  • Leg Day Limeade (Sour Lime Popsicle)
  • Grapermelon Gains (Grape Watermelon Candy)

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Increases water retention and pumps
Reduces fatigue
Enhances performance
None
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HIGHEST QUALITY FORMULA

Intra Blast by NutraBio

$44.99
on nutricartel.com
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Discount CodeFITFREK
6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

Much like the other supplements in this list, Intra Blast has decent amounts of amino acids, most of which come from the standard 2:1:1 BCAA ratio.

There are also special blends for electrolytes and hydration, and a blend for performance to make it a well-rounded formula.

The glutamine in the formula is special, with it being the branded Kyowa Quality. 

Kyowa Quality glutamine is a high-purity, vegetarian ingredient that guarantees fast absorption and maximum potency.

This can lead to reduced fatigue and better muscle protein synthesis.

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Enhances focus and motivation
Synergy with other stimulants
Cheap, lasts 100-250 servings
??????????
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BULK SUPPLY

Essential Amino Acids by Bulk Supplements

$13.96
on bulksupplements.com
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6g Citrulline Malate, 4g BCAA, 4g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1.3g Taurine, 150mg ElevATP, 60mg L-Norvaline, 5mg Bioperine, 600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 500mg Choline Bitartrate, 150mg ElevATP, 70mg Mucuna Pruriens

When you just want EAAs without the fancy stuff that also happens to be low-cost, Bulk Supplements has got you covered. 

While the formula itself appears generic and the doses aren’t revealed (which is actually why it’s ranked last), the cost of a bag is often enough to entice newbies to try it out.

For veteran users, the lack of fillers and fancy ingredients make the supplement the perfect add-on to their pre-workout or protein stacks.

Reduces  muscle soreness
Helps build muscle
Cheap option
Tastes really bad
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FAQs

Here you'll find your frequently asked questions answered...

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

As we all know, protein is important for quite a number of processes that happen inside our body.

In the case of bodybuilding, the amino acids found in protein facilitate the processes required for muscle growth, recovery, and physical performance. 

What are EAA’s

There are 20 different amino acids, and 9 of them are what we refer to as essential.

They’re called essential because unlike the other amino acids the body can produce naturally, essential acids need to be sourced from our diet or through supplementation.

What are the best dietary sources of essential amino acids?

The best sources of essential amino acids are animal proteins including meat, eggs, and poultry.

If you’re not fond of animal sources, especially if you have food allergies or prefer a plant-based lifestyle, many species of plants offer adequate amounts of all 9 essential amino acids.

The catch is, you tend to need to eat more plants to get the same amount you’d get from animal sources.

Then, some plants don’t have all 9 essential amino acids, so you have to mix and match them.

This is actually what vegan protein powders do when they claim to have all amino acids despite being a plant-based supplement.

What are the best dietary sources of essential amino acids?

While essential amino acids on their own are important for everyday function, taking them in high doses such as in supplements has been linked to several science-backed health benefits.

Mood enhancing

  • Taking tryptophan has been cited to help with balancing various mood regulators in your brain, especially serotonin. Serotonin is a major neurotransmitter for mood, sleep, and other behaviors. [1]
  • Low serotonin is linked to depressed mood and poor sleep quality, while several studies show taking tryptophan supplements can reduce symptoms and even boost mood.

Boosts physical performance and enhances recovery

  • Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are made up of valine, leucine, and isoleucine. These three amino acids are credited for helping fitness enthusiasts with their exercise experience. 
  • Studies suggest taking BCAAs can help delay fatigue, enhance strength and performance, and stimulate muscle recovery. [2]

Supports wound healing

  • Some studies suggest taking amino acid supplements may facilitate faster healing after an accident that resulted in bone fractures than those who don’t supplement.

Protects against muscle loss

  • Amino acid intake can help reduce muscle loss, especially when dieting.
  • Taking amino acids can also help prevent muscle loss when you get sick or when you’re caught in a position where lifting isn’t ideal, such as when you get injured or when you’re out traveling.

What about the optimal EAA ratio?

According to a study conducted in the US Military in 2011, the ratio doesn’t really matter provided you are getting adequate intake of ALL essential amino acids.

“These findings suggest that increasing the concentration of leucine in an essential amino acid supplement consumed during steady state exercise elicits a greater muscle protein synthesis response during recovery.” [3]

EAA’s vs BCAA: Are EAAs any better or different than BCAA’s?

The key difference between essential amino acids (EAA) and branched chain amino acids (BCAA) outside of the amino acids content is the intent in taking them.

You take BCAA when your goal is performance-oriented. BCAAs are suited to boost strength, reduce fatigue, and enhance muscle recovery. You take EAAs if you’re after muscle growth, endurance, immunity, and hormonal balance. [4]

New findings also suggest taking EAAs over BCAAs is better if your amino acid intake is adequate for the physical activity you do on a daily basis.

When’s the best time to drink EAA?

Based on research and some coaching practices, it appears the best times to supplement with essential amino acids are between meals and following a workout. 

Research involving older adults who took essential amino acids between meals have reduced risks of sarcopenia or the shrinking of muscles brought about by aging, which happens due to protein breakdown.

“Results provide promising preliminary results indicating that essential amino acids may provide protection against sarcopenia in healthy aging adults.” (5)

EAA vs whey: Is pure EAA better than whey?

Both have pros and cons.

For whey:

Pros

  • Complete protein source
  • Insulinogenic, ideal as a post-workout
  • Tolerated by healthy digestive systems
  • Lower cost than EAA
  • High in calories for bodybuilding

Cons

  • Whey is inflammatory
  • Not ideal for snacking
  • May cause bloating or general gut discomfort
  • Not plant-based for those who are vegan

For EAA:

Pros

  • Fast absorption
  • No digestion necessary
  • Non-inflammatory
  • Ideal for older adults, especially when preventing muscle loss
  • Can be plant-based
  • Low-calorie

Cons

  • Not ideal for muscle growth
  • Fast absorption may not be ideal for muscle anabolism
  • More expensive

There really is no such thing as “this is better than that” when it comes to supplements. What matters is you supply what your body needs, when it needs it. If you need to take more Whey over EAA or combine them, do it.

The goal is to get stronger, not to choose a side.

How to choose EAA?

In choosing the right essential amino acid supplement, it’s worth noting the following:

  • Is the leucine content high? Studies suggest if your amino acid intake is adequate, leucine is the biggest difference maker when it comes to muscle growth. 
  • Look for a low-sugar or no-sugar product. 
  • The brand should have other muscle boosting/ergogenic ingredients like citrulline, creatine, beta-alanine, and glutamine. These ingredients are known to boost physical performance, recovery, and reduce muscle loss.

Final Words

When it comes to choosing an EAA supplement, always take note of the total dose, the accompanying ingredients, and the quality of the company you are buying from.

Because let’s face it: It’s not hard to build an EAA formula that works. The real challenge lies in making sure the product is made with high quality ingredients while still making it cost-effective.

If you’re ever in a pinch when it comes to choosing an EAA supplement, just look back on the supplements we prepared for you in this blog.

We guarantee each one is worth a try.

References:

  1. Jenkins TA, Nguyen JC, Polglaze KE, Bertrand PP. Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis. Nutrients. 2016;8(1):56. Published 2016 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/nu8010056
  2. Børsheim E, Tipton KD, Wolf SE, Wolfe RR. Essential amino acids and muscle protein recovery from resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Oct;283(4):E648-57. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00466.2001. PMID: 12217881.
  3. Pasiakos SM, McClung HL, McClung JP, Margolis LM, Andersen NE, Cloutier GJ, Pikosky MA, Rood JC, Fielding RA, Young AJ. Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplementation during moderate steady state exercise enhances postexercise muscle protein synthesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):809-18. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.017061. Epub 2011 Jul 20. PMID: 21775557.
  4. Hulmi JJ, Lockwood CM, Stout JR. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:51. Published 2010 Jun 17. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-51
  5. Henderson GC, Irving BA, Nair KS. Potential application of essential amino Acid supplementation to treat sarcopenia in elderly people. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(5):1524-1526. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-0458
by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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