Athletes and weightlifters have long supplemented with protein to provide
muscles with extra fuel for maximum growth. But what if there was a better way?
Why not forego the extra calories and carbs in your protein powder and focus on
just the nutrients your body needs?
This article will look at essential amino acids (EAAs) versus whey protein and
explore the benefits of EAA supplementation. Hint: They go far beyond muscle
What Are Essential Amino Acids? #
You’ve probably heard of amino acids, commonly known as the building blocks of
protein. They’re necessary for building and repairing muscle and human tissue.
Also, they are key precursors to neurotransmitters and hormones. Without EAAs,
your body can’t function.
Our bodies make use of over twenty amino acids for healthy daily operations. Of
these, eight are considered essential. Essential amino acids are those the body
can’t synthesize on its own; you need to get them from your diet.
While many claim that nine are essential, adults can go without histidine for 48
days or more without experiencing negative
. Unlike the other
eight, the human body can compensate for the absence of histidine over long time
Missing out on just one essential amino acid means the body can’t make use of
the others. This
breakdown, a reduced resting metabolic rate, loss of physical performance, and
increased risk of injury.
A full resource of essential amino acids maintains nitrogen balance, promotes
lean muscle growth, increases fat loss, and reduces recovery times. For anyone
who cares about fat loss in addition to building muscle, ensuring you’re well
supplied with essential amino acids should be a priority.
The Essential Amino Acids You Need #
While muscle growth and fat loss may matter most to strength trainers, essential
amino acids’ impact goes far beyond the musculoskeletal system. EAAs are
necessary for optimal performance of the nervous system, immune system,
digestive and reproductive systems.
The following EAAs, found in each scoop of
, are optimized
for anabolic utility but equally ensure total body wellness. L-Leucine # Leucine
for metabolic functions, including the growth and repair of muscle and bone.
Growth hormone synthesis is dependent upon leucine, as is blood sugar
regulation. This EAA is essential for wound healing and prevents muscle protein
breakdown that can occur after intense workouts. L-Valine # Valine
is related to
Leucine and also promotes muscle growth and repair. Also, Valine influences
athletic performance by improving muscle coordination, mental vigor, and
emotional stability. Valine supplements help increase both physical and mental
energy. L-Isoleucine # Isoleucine
detoxifies the body from nitrogenous waste, aids in wound healing, and promotes
the secretion of beneficial hormones. It’s essential for the production of
hemoglobin, which improves athletic performance and immune function. Like
leucine, it has a role in regulating blood sugar levels, which contributes to
energy regulation. L-Lysine HCL # Lysine
necessary for tissue growth and repair. In supplement form, L-lysine promotes
the uptake of calcium and improves immune function. It’s essential for the
production of collagen, which keeps connective tissue healthy and helps heal
wounds. Lysine is a precursor of
athletes know improves mitochondria oxidation and energy production. L-Phenylalanine # Phenylalanine
is essential for the synthesis of dopamine, tyrosine, and norepinephrine. These
three neurotransmitters control key
such as vigilance, action, memory, learning, and reward pathways. These
cognitive tools are absolutely related to improvements in athletic performance. L-Threonine # Threonine
important contributor to structural proteins such as collagen, elastin, and even
tooth enamel. It influences the immune system and fat metabolism. It also helps
prevent fats from building up in the liver. As a supplement, it’s known to
improve digestion and mood, alleviating mild anxiety and depression. L-Methionine # Methionine
important for the growth and repair of tissue. It strengthens hair, skin, and
nails. An important detoxifier, methionine assists in the excretion of heavy
metals such as lead or mercury. This EAA protects cells from aging, and like
threonine, prevents fat from accumulating in the liver. L-Tryptophan # Tryptophan
known for its role as a natural sedative but contributes more to the human body
than you may realize. A precursor to serotonin, tryptophan is essential for our
feelings of contentment. It regulates appetite, mood, and sleep, as well as our
response to pain. Reliable Sources of Essential Amino Acids #
Essential amino acids come from dietary protein, which gets broken down through
the process of digestion. Complete proteins are sources that include all nine
essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins, mostly from vegetable sources,
include just a few, although there are exceptions.
The following complete proteins provide all the essential amino acids:
Meat Poultry and Eggs Seafood Dairy Products Buckwheat Soy Quinoa Hemp seeds & more
While complete proteins will certainly provide you with each of the essential
amino acids, they do so in a package that’s high in calories and additional
nutrients such as carbohydrates. If you’re looking to build muscle and lose
weight or decrease body fat, it’s difficult to get the amount of protein needed
for anabolic use without contributing to excess energy.
soy-based proteins result in less muscle synthesis than animal-based proteins.
While the exact reasons are still being studied, researchers hypothesize it’s
due to the lower digestibility of plant-based proteins and the higher rate of
amino acid secretion through urine.
The recommended solution is to consume greater amounts. This is not a feasible
option for those watching their diet, since consuming greater amounts of
vegetables would mean consuming extra carbohydrates too.
Animal-based protein is more efficient, but anabolic utilization varies widely
the meal context, the amount of protein needed for metabolic processes, meal
timing, and one’s specific workouts. Ensuring maximum uptake
requires eating more
Thus, supplementation is recommended for those seeking to fuel their muscles
without eating too much. Whey protein supplements are common but, like
plant-based proteins, fall behind on the anabolic use scale at 18%.
EAA supplements do much better, particularly
boasts a protein usability score of 99%. What Makes Fortagen Different Than Other EAAs? # Fortagen
outperforms whey protein and other essential amino acid
supplements because it provides only the amino acids your body actually needs.
It provides them in the optimal ratio to be used directly in muscle synthesis.
Whey protein is full of nonessential amino acids that your body already has a
cellular surplus of. These extra amino acids that aren’t used for muscle
building can instead be metabolized for energy, essentially serving as empty
calories that interfere with one’s efforts to be a healthy weight.
Other EAA products suffer from a similar defect when they adopt non-optimal EAA
ratios. Some products provide the same amount of each EAA, or worse, provide an
excess of cheap amino acids while skimping on others.
These supplements are less effective because your body won’t have enough of the
amino acids it needs and may have an excess of amino acids that can’t currently
be used for muscle building. In this case, you’ll see less muscle-building
potential per serving and more wasted calories, just like with whey or vegetable
Essential Amino Acids vs. Whey Protein #
Bioavailability is the most impactful difference between sources of protein.
is digested in under 30 minutes, while whey or
vegetable-based proteins can take up to 6 hours. But this isn’t the only reason
you might choose EAA supplements as a source of essential amino acids versus
whey protein. Lactose Intolerance #
Intestinal sensitivity to protein powders is common. Lactose intolerance can
lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. Whey isolate has less lactose than
whey concentrate, but it still contains lactose, which causes issues in some
Milk proteins can cause inflammation, even in those without lactose intolerance.
An inflammatory response can look like bloating, excess mucus production, or an
allergic reaction such as hives or itchy skin.
Those who adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet or paleo diet should avoid whey
Caloric Restriction #
Whey protein includes each of the essential amino acids, but that’s not all. A
single scoop may contain upwards of 120 calories, and flavored varieties often
If you’re on a calorie-restricted diet or intermittent fasting, why not get your
essential amino acids in a more efficient package?
Insulin Response #
Essential amino acid supplements such as
won’t trigger an
insulin response. This means your energy remains balanced, and if you’re
fasting, it won’t break your fast.
Recommended delivery is 30 minutes before bedtime, so you can rest assured
Fortagen won’t keep you awake.
And because it’s best to take it at least one hour from any other protein
consumption, it’s nice to know Fortagen won’t trigger a hunger response either.
Vegan Proteins #
Whey protein is not an optional protein source for vegan athletes, nor are many
essential amino acid supplements. Soy protein is a feasible option for those
Hemp protein serves as a high-quality, nutrient-dense protein source for vegans
and meat-eaters alike. However, it’s low in certain amino acids, particularly
is unique because it’s vegan, gluten-free, and delivers
the essential amino acids needed for anabolic growth with zero carbohydrates or
sugars and only 4 calories. Benefits of Amino Acid Supplementation #
Supplementing ensures your body has an adequate supply of each essential amino
acid for maximum protein synthesis. Supplements like
deliver your EAAs in a ratio that mimics the specific human pattern of use.
You’ll never be short on one while another is in surplus. Nothing is wasted. Skyrocket Lean Muscle Growth #
By scientifically optimizing every EAA required for muscle growth,
provides you with a way to reach peak level performance.
You’ll accelerate lean muscle growth and development in the shortest time
show amino acid
supplementation stimulates muscle anabolism even in elderly adults who don’t
work out. Their contribution to muscle synthesis cannot be overstated. Lose Body Fat #
An increase in lean muscle means an increase in your resting metabolic rate for
a higher calorie burn, even while you’re resting. While a pound of fat is the
same weight as a pound of muscle, muscle is far denser. Watch your body
composition, not the scale.
In a randomized, double-blind
lifters who supplemented with essential amino acids during an 8-week resistance
training program decreased their percent body fat despite greater gains in
overall body weight and muscular strength. Decrease Recovery Time #
Increased protein synthesis reduces recovery time and allows you to train
harder, heavier, and longer than ever before. EAAs effectively offset any
muscular and systemic fatigue that can crush your muscle gains.
supplementing essential amino acids outperformed passive recovery and rest after
varied and exhaustive exercises. Improved recovery times were related to reduced
muscle soreness and improved muscle function.
EAA supplementation delayed fatigue, improved endurance capacity, and prevented
muscle failure compared to a placebo. Lose Weight # Fortagen
clocks in at just 4 calories per serving. As a result,
you’ll get the maximum benefit from a significantly lower caloric intake. Muscle
gains require a minimal intake of .7—1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
To get this much high-quality protein from whole food sources requires a lot of
eating. This is counterproductive if weight loss is your goal.
2012 weight loss study
participants who received EAA supplements lost more fat and less lean muscle
tissue than those on meal replacement shakes. Another study found EAA
supplementation has a promising
in the treatment of obesity. The Bottom Line? #
Your body needs essential amino acids to build muscle and optimally function.
But when you’re training hard and living life, it’s just not feasible to eat all
day. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, whey protein will give you the
EAAs you need, but why not just cut to the source? In the whey versus essential
amino acid debate, EAAs win for ease of use, bioavailability, and efficiency.