If you’ve heard of peptides or bioregulators, powerful health optimization therapeutics, you’ve surely come across amino acids.
Amino acids make up proteins.
Essential amino acids are the only major nutrients humans require to survive!
Proteins are the building blocks of all life.
Aminos constitute about half of your entire body mass, and they’re intricately involved in every organ and biochemical function throughout the body. Some of these include:
- Producing brain chemicals (neurotransmitters)
- Regulating blood flow
- Controlling immune function
- Improving blood chemistry
- Building cells
- Repairing tissues
- Generating hormones
They’re the raw materials your biology uses to repair, heal, and grow.
Your body can produce all but nine of the 20 primary amino acids. Scientists call this special class the “essential amino acids” (EAAs). Without enough of each of the nine EAAs, over the long term, your body breaks down, ages faster, and contracts disease.
The way we eat causes the problem.
Most of us consume too much of certain aminos, and not enough of others.
Essential amino acid supplements act like a lifeline. They fill in any gaps to make sure that our body has all the raw materials needed to perform tens of thousands of processes. So that we look, feel, and perform our best.
In fact, amino acids are a top universal supplement that benefits nearly everyone. But they’re not all equal.
As you’ll soon learn, some brands take shortcuts that make their products worthless.
I’ve taken thousands of doses, know the industry, and have spent many hours researching. In this guide, I’ll help you choose the best essential amino acid supplements for your unique lifestyle, goals, and budget. By the end, you’ll know the insider secrets to buying safe and effective EAAs.
The Best EAA Supplements for Your Every Goal
Over the years, I’ve analyzed around 50 supplements containing amino acids.
Most of them I personally would not use.
- Lacking vital aminos
- Have unproven proprietary blends
- Misunderstand transport rates for each amino
- Contain nasty additives
Generally resulting in lackluster products that are mostly a waste of money.
For a while, I’ve even formulated my own.
Whether you’re looking to improve your recovery, enhance your workouts, elevate your cognition, improve your immunity, slow the biological aging process, or improve your overall health… essential amino acid supplements may be the perfect addition to your routine.
The Amino Co has become the undisputed leader of the essential amino acid market. They simply provide the absolute most information, research, and the greatest science-backed formulas. Amino Co’s formulations are “based on 40 years of research, over 100 clinical trials, and over 500 peer-reviewed papers”.
Their science team is second to none, with 30+ years of clinical research, 500+ peer-reviewed publications, and 70,000+ citations by other researchers.
In fact, this is the only amino brand used in clinical research. Not just once, but in many. Although I generally need to see the amino acid composition of products, clinical proof of the actual product—not just extrapolations based on ratio hypotheses—matters most. More than ratios.
And although all of their products are protected by patents or patent-pending status, they did let me verify the composition of each product.
Each formula certainly provides the overall benefits of amino acids supplementation. Plus, an added boost for your particular use.
They offer four main products for different goals:
- Life — anti-aging, strength, and best overall
- Heal — maximize recovery
- Perform — a unique formula designed to boost athletic performance (strength, focus & endurance)
- Purity — improve liver health and function
Note that Perform contains the equivalent caffeine of about half a cup of coffee.
They cracked the code on making aminos taste good. Each product comes in 3-4 flavors but I’ve only bought the “Natural” options. Only the Natural flavors contain healthy sweeteners. The other options use unhealthy artificial sweeteners. Each of the formulas easily mix into water
Unfortunately, however, these products are quite expensive. The most expensive by a fair margin. But the total cost per serving comes down to the mid-range (about $1.50) when you subscribe, order three bottles at a time, and use the code URBAN.
That exclusive code will also unlock a special free guide for you to get the most out of your aminos.
With Amino Co, you know exactly what you are (and equally important, are not) getting. Since their formulas are patented, they won’t discreetly cut their products with cheap fillers later. Each of their products are lab tested for safety, purity, and efficacy. Plus, they offer a 60-day money-back guarantee on all orders. Don’t like it for any reason? Send them all back.
Since I switched over, these are the only amino acids that I’m using every single day. They work better than all the others I’ve previously used.
Dive even deeper into EAAs and AminoCo in this podcast episode!
All four Amino Co products are the only doctor-endorsed and truly science-backed formulas proven by scores of human clinical trials. They’re a bit more expensive but my 30% off code makes them by far the best overall and the ones I personally use daily.
Use Amino Co code URBAN to save 10%
BodyHealth Perfect Aminos
BodyHealth’s Perfect Aminos line of products has long been some of the industry favorites. Currently, with nearly 12,500 reviews on both their amino powder and tablets. In fact, they offer more amino-fortified products than any other vendor—by a landslide.
You’ll find the usual forms like tablets and powders, along with electrolytes, meal replacement, and energy/protein bars. With their classic tablets and powders, they offer all kinds of customization options. This company understands aminos quite well. Visit any of their product pages, and you’ll quickly understand what I mean.
BodyHealth provides extensive information about their products, including explanations of why they excluded histidine, one of the nine essential amino acids. And that PerfectAmino products are derived from plant-based sources. Perhaps most importantly, everything these products do not contain.
BodyHealth offers a discount of 15% on subscriptions, an additional 6% off bulk orders (up to a potential 25% off total), and a whopping 90-day money-back guarantee you can use if you don’t love the product.
I have one main complaint. They use proprietary blends in all their formulas. They do not specify any information at all regarding the ratios of their formula, not even the content of BCAAs. Also, be wary that some products contain caffeine.
Thousands of reviews can’t be wrong, if you don’t mind a proprietary formula that’s missing one of the essential amino acids and prefer to have a variety of product options, Perfect Aminos is certainly worth considering.
Click the button to automatically unlock 20% off BodyHealth products
Thorne is one of the more established supplement companies, revered for adhering to the highest quality control standards throughout the industry. Their products have all kinds of certifications like the coveted NSF-Certified for Sport. They’re a go-to source for Olympians, professional athletes, and folks who demand the absolute cleanest.
Thorne’s award-winning Amino Complex is actually more than just an EAA supplement. It contains 11 amino acids, including the non-essential cystine and tyrosine. The added cystine helps your body produce more of a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, and tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine. Making it great for pre and post-workout.
The BCAAs are in the usual 2:1:1 ratio. And Thorne did a great job keeping all of the “other ingredients” super clean. Thorne also has some of the most stringent lab testing standards in the supplement industry, so you know you’re getting a pure product.
The Amino Complex comes in two flavors—Berry and Lemon. Berry tastes a little unnatural to me, and lemon is far more pleasant.
When you subscribe, you save up to 20% which brings the price down to the mid-tier. If you don’t like it for any reason, Thorne has a 60-day money-back guarantee too.
Click the button to automatically unlock 15% off Thorne products (some exclusions apply)
Peak Performance EAA Capsules
Peak Performance is a rapidly growing supplement company that’s gaining recognition for some of their innovative formulas, mid-range price, philanthropic donations, and celebrity endorsements. They’re one of the only companies to offer both EAA capsules and powder. Giving you much more flexibility.
What I like about their capsules, however, is that they only contain two things—aminos and the capsule itself. No other fillers. Though each bottle contains about half the servings of the next option, it makes up with more than double the dosage of aminos per serving. Making it competitively priced. It does have about a 4:1:1 ratio of BCAAs, which is best for muscle building, but less researched than the classic 2:1:1.
You can save 20% if you buy in bulk. To get a copy of their lab testing results, you’ll need to message their support team though. Plus, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Perhaps most uniquely, for every purchase they donate to the nonprofit Vitamin Angels to provide a malnourished kid with vitamins for a full year.
Peak Performance EAA Capsules are affordable, pure (no fillers at all), and make the world a better place.
Click the button to automatically unlock 20% off your first order
Peak Performance 9 Essential Aminos Powder
Peak Performance also sells a “9 Essential Aminos Powder”. It comes in two flavors, both of which are dosed about 80% higher than a serving of their capsules. For whatever reason, they chose to use a proprietary blend of aminos for only their powder.
I immediately dock major points for this undisclosed patented blend. Apparently, their formula was created based on the ratios used in 26 published clinical studies.
This product actually also contains arginine, a tenth (non-essential) amino acid. Despite having a larger “other ingredients” list, what they’ve added is clean and safe.
I cannot recommend this as highly as the others, because I need to see more information and proof of their claims. Such as the 26 studies they based their ratios on. Or the patent number. Etc.
Peak Performance Supplements does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, third-party lab testing certificates available on request, and up to 20% off bulk orders.
Click the button to automatically unlock 20% off your first order
Double Wood Supplements Essential Amino Acids
Double Wood Supplements is renowned for their low-cost, no-frills, pure products. Their product pages openly display lab testing data like third-party test results and their certificates of analysis. All their products, including these Essential Amino Acid Capsules, are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.
Although this formula does contain a filler called magnesium stearate, the label doesn’t conform to manufacturing standards like it should, and doesn’t quite use a 2:1 ratio of BCAAs, it’s overall pretty good and clean. Even though it’s already inexpensive, you can get an even better price by ordering on subscription.
I’m not a huge fan of capsules, because a full therapeutic dose of aminos is generally 2-5 grams. Which works out to 9-15 capsules.
While it’s not my first choice, if you’re looking for the best budget formula and prefer capsules over powders, this lab-tested product is a worthy contender.
Click the link to automatically unlock 10% off Double Wood Products
Codeage Liposomal Multi Amino Powder
Codeage is a supplement superstore that specializes in long-lasting, maximum-absorption (liposomal) products. I’m a fan and use several of their products (although I don’t use this one). They offer products for virtually every health and wellness goal. Their Multi Amino Powder contains all nine essential aminos, plus cystine and tyrosine (like Thorne).
Codeage’s Multi Amino Powder proudly displays the composition of their amino acids, including a 3:1:1 ratio of BCAAs. This ratio combined with added cystine and tyrosine makes this a solid option for use around workouts. The vast majority of each serving is actually aminos too.
Although liposomal products are generally superior to their conventional counterparts, with aminos I’m not sure there’s much advantage. Absorption is already quite high and fast. The only real benefit might be the longer duration. Plus, the unflavored taste is much more mild than most other powders.
That said, I haven’t seen research on liposomal amino acid supplements specifically. I’m generally quite against seed oils, but this is one exception. Codeage’s formula is pretty clean, and the Non-GMO Sunflower oil is the industry standard for liposomal encapsulation technology. It’s a very small quantity and does provide beneficial phosphatidylcholine too.
The price is solid, at about $1.10 per serving when you subscribe. All orders are third-party lab tested and come with their standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Codeage’s Multi Amino Powder is a newer and unique liposomal aminos product, competitively priced, lab tested, and features a good general purpose BCAA ratio of 3:1:1.
Use code URBAN for 10% off
Bulk Supplements Essential Amino Acids Powder
BulkSupplements provides raw ingredients in massive quantities to consumers at unbeatable prices. In fact, I know supplement manufacturers that buy their raw ingredients directly from this company. Despite having the absolute lowest prices, they still lab-test and produce highly pure products.
This powder of theirs contains nothing but EAAs and sunflower lecithin (which isn’t unhealthy or dangerous). Over the years, I’ve purchased probably nearly 50 kilos of this very EAA powder from them. Although you can buy in quantities ranging 100 grams up to 25 kilos at a time.
There are two major issues, though. First, the EAA formula is proprietary. We have no idea how much of each amino they use. Secondly, the taste is awful. If you have a sensitive stomach or taste buds, you’re going to need to try hard to mask this intensely bad unflavored powder.
If you want to be precise about dosing, you’ll probably want to buy a scale to weigh out each serving. For most people, however, just measuring out 1.33 tablespoons (to get 10 grams of EAA) will work fine.
Those optimizing for value and an iron stomach capable of withstanding the horrendous taste of pure (third-party lab-tested) EAA powder won’t find a better deal than buying a kilogram of BulkSupplements EAAs.
Fitness Icon Ben Greenfield originally created Kion to fulfill his nutrition needs for high-level competition at Ironman and other endurance events worldwide. One of their early products was the Kion Aminos Powder. Kion’s offers their aminos in many forms: four different flavored powders, capsules, and even packets. Each in the 4:1:1 ratio for max muscle building.
Giving you options for convenience (capsules or packets), travel (packets), value (powder), and more. Kion cares about every ingredient and actively avoids unnecessary additives and fillers. Their prices tend to reflect this stringent clean formulation process.
These don’t mix quite as well as some of the other options and those that cannot stand the taste of stevia should choose something else.
Kion products all have 60-day money-back guarantees and offer 10% discounts for subscriptions.
Kion Aminos are the most popular and highly rated premium essential aminos for athletes and anyone looking for clean products fortified with a muscle-building 4:1:1 ratio of BCAAs.
Use code URBAN for 10% off
Naked Nutrition EAAs
Naked Nutrition produces some great, few-ingredient supplements. In fact, that’s one of the main selling points of their products.
This is a straight-up, unflavored EAAs. The only other ingredient is Sunflower Lecithin, presumably to prevent clumping. So technically, it does have other ingredients and isn’t completely pure as they claim.
At about $0.80 per serving, it’s a great value—if you don’t mind the horrific taste of essential aminos.
I’m a bit concerned that their marketing claims Naked Nutrition’s Essential Amino Acids are “pharmaceutical-grade, fast-absorbing, leucine-enhanced blend of essential amino acids”.
There’s no evidence to support that their product is pharmaceutical-grade. And there’s nothing to make this faster absorbing than any of the other products. Plus, leucine is one of the core essential aminos, so every single EAA product—by definition—must be “leucine-enhanced”.
If you don’t mind the questionable marketing, you can subscribe to get the super low price of about $0.64 per serving.
Click the button to automatically unlock 15% off Naked Nutrition products
Tier #2: Questionable Essential Amino Acid Supplements
Products in this second tier of my list of the top essential amino acid products have significant potential problems.
They’re definitely lacking compared to the previous options.
Some possible issues with the below amino products include:
- Proprietary, unsubstantiated amino complexes
- Questionable additives and “other ingredients”
- Misleading marketing
- Inaccurate product labeling
- Limited company history/reputation
- Unverified safety testing
- Poor value
Nevertheless, for certain use cases and goals, you still may want to consider these products. Proceed with caution.
PureClean Performance FundAminos
PureClean Performance’s FundAminos consider themselves the ideal “Plant-Based Organic” EAA choice.
Over the last ten years, they’ve improved their formula eight times. Interestingly, this formula does include tart cherry which is good for recovery and natural melatonin production. It contains ActiGin and rose fruit to potentially increase absorption.
And I like that they used a variety of cleaner sweeteners. When you subscribe and get it on sale, the cost per serving actually becomes pretty reasonable.
Again, this label is not FDA-Compliant. 5 grams of “Calories from Carbohydrates” doesn’t make sense to me. Plus, they don’t list any vitamins, minerals, or other ingredients that surely would exist within their “Pure Flavor System” proprietary complex.
They also conflate EAAs and proteins throughout their marketing. The actual blend and ratios of amino acid are hidden within a proprietary NutriAminos complex.
So we cannot necessarily trust any claims regarding their BCAA content. Plus, we have no idea what inactive/other ingredients go into the product. So I won’t use it.
Now Sports Amino-9 Essentials Powder
Now Sports Amino-9 Essentials Powder was one of the first EAA products I ever used. They sold this supplement long before most of the other vendors. Back then, they were one of few options.
It has the classic 2:1 ratio of leucine to the other BCAAs. I like NOW because it’s a trusted name in the supplement industry. Plus, this product contains nothing but pure EAAs, no other ingredients.
Again, the same issue with pure, unflavored EAAs—horrible taste. You’ll certainly want to add it to something else. It does have a surprisingly high level of histidine in it, which is a precursor to histamine (the chemical responsible for allergy symptoms).
Amino-9 also has high levels of methionine, an amino that meat eaters already get plenty of through diet.
Since it’s high in Phenylalanine, I’d be cautious about taking this at night, as this amino is a precursor to the neurohormones of alertness. The price has also gone up a ton since the early days, so I no longer recommend this as a top choice.
Nutrex Research EAA Hydration
Nutrex Research’s EAA Hydration caught my eye because it’s quite affordable and seemed like a decent hydrating aminos supplement.
They provide a complete breakdown of the amino acid ratios, added patented form of minerals in their hydration complex, include whole-food-derived ingredients (coconut water concentrate), use AstraGin to enhance absorption, and 8/13 gram serving is EAAs.
I couldn’t find how they could offer it so cheaply until I noticed that their product label hides the inactive ingredients list. Likely masking their use of questionable fillers, binders, excipients, and other potentially dangerous additives. Violating the FDA’s supplement labeling regulations.
For me, this is a dealbreaker.
NutraBio Alpha EAA
I’ve used NutraBio’s creatine for years. Though I like that product, I’m not convinced by this one.
At first glance, I like that Alpha EAA breaks down the full amino acid profile and includes AstraGin to improve absorption. The product also features a “Focus Nootropics Complex” which contains alpha-GPC, choline, and KSM66 Ashwagandha, Huperzine-A.
Although some of these ingredients can make for better workouts, they also limit use as they can mentally stimulate users. Huperzine is especially bad, because its half-life lasts quite long and has multiple side effects. It’s mostly used because it’s dirt cheap.
The major dealbreaker for me, however, is that they hide the inactive ingredients list on the product label. That’s a violation of the FDA’s supplement labeling regulations, and makes me doubt the quality of Alpha EAA.
Transparent Labs Intra
Transparent Labs is a sports nutrition company known for high-quality, clean products. Their Intra product is one of few that are Informed-Choice certified.
I like that they include minerals and other essential cofactors that help improve absorption (like AstraGin) and overall health. Also, they are the only brand I’ve seen that specifies the dose of some of their inactive ingredients.
Unfortunately, only 1/3 of each serving is EAAs and the vast majority (5g/6.7g) of those are BCAAs.
So it’s basically a BCAA product with a tiny bit of the other aminos added. For about $1.50 per serving, I’d only choose this one for their Informed-Choice certification.
Avoid These Popular Amino Acid Supplements
As you’ll see below, for every amino acid product that I do like, there are multiple that I cannot recommend.
Each for different reasons. But some of the more common amino acid product red flags include:
- Proprietary formulas
- Unproven amino ratios
- Missing key nutritional labels
- Potentially dangerous additives
- Unsubstantiated marketing claims
- Missing lab testing
- Poor value
Some products have all of the above issues, and some others with one or two.
Solgar Essential Amino Complex
Solgar is another large supplement company known for packaging their products in amber glass bottles, which they claim helps to maintain potency and freshness via protection from light, heat, and moisture.
They’re one of the other large brands to sell an amino acid product. Solgar’s Essential Amino Complex contains eight of the nine amino acids, each dosed at 75mg per capsule. I have no idea how they settled on that formula, and quite frankly, it doesn’t make sense.
That alone would stop me from using it. To make matters worse, they recommend taking just one capsule, once to twice daily. That minuscule dosage of aminos will do practically nothing. Plus, this contains an unhealthy filler called magnesium stearate.
Nutricost EAA Powder
Nutricost is a common budget alternative to BulkSupplements.
To make products so cheap, they must cut corners. Although they offer both flavored and unflavored options, even their unflavored EAAs contain unhealthy fillers.
The flavored EAA powders contain all kinds of dangerous sweeteners and additives. I do like their 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to the other BCAAs, but I also see a glaring issue. If you look at the label of the sweetened flavors, you’ll notice that only 6 of the 11 gram serving size is actual EAAs.
Even on the unflavored label, only 6 of the 8 gram serving size is EAAs. What’s the rest? Of their products that I’ve tested, the flavor tastes sickeningly artificial and oversweet.
I won’t touch this stuff again.
RAW Nutrition “EAA – Essential Amino Acids”
RAW Nutrition’s EAA product caught my attention mainly because of the company’s name. I implied that “RAW” EAAs would be cleaner and less processed.
Well, I quickly discovered that all of their products contain lots of dangerous artificial sweeteners, chemicals, fillers, binders, excipients, and other additives.
Strangely, the labels of each flavor don’t even have consistent formatting. And the amino dosages between flavors are different too.
All of which don’t follow any typical amino dosing standards. For example, the ratio of leucine to BCAAs is an atypical 3:1. Other aminos are dosed as high as the BCAAs (which is very rare).
Even their third-party lab testing is misleading. I won’t buy from this company.
RULE1 Essential Amino 9
Two friends recommended RULE1 Essential Amino 9 to me. I looked into it, and noticed that they use the well-studied 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs. It’s also not outrageously expensive.
RULE1 claims to have a transparent formula, yet when I looked closer, I wasn’t too impressed. The “electrolyte blend” is mostly salt.
They supposedly include magnesium (in the useless magnesium oxide form) and potassium in that blend, but it’s not listed in the minerals section nor is it in the “other ingredients” list. On the other hand, they do list all kinds of nasty chemicals, additives, artificial flavors, and other unhealthy fillers.
Another product I wouldn’t touch.
Jacked Factory EAA Surge
Jacked Factory’s EAA Surge contains all nine essential aminos but in a proprietary blend. We don’t know the ratios of them. It also has potentially dangerous and harmful sweeteners and fillers.
It’s priced in the middle of the category, and since there are so many other great options, I don’t see any reason to choose this product over some of the others.
Primeval Labs EAA Max
Primeval Labs EAA Max is more of a fortified hydration product than an amino. In fact, less than half of every scoop is actual aminos.
It also contains carbohydrates, which most people can easily get from diet. I’m also not a fan that they chose not to list the inactive ingredients within the product.
The only thing I like about this product is the wide variety of flavors (10), and that they added D-Ribose which is an excellent cardio-protective zero-glycemic sweetener.
Mutant GEAAR’s marketing boasts that they’re an “instantized vegan-friendly fermented EAA” product.
While that sounds enticing, they’d need to include more information about their process to justify the inclusion of black pepper extract (Bioperine) and all the other fillers.
Bioperine is a “Trojan Horse” ingredient that manufacturers use to impair liver metabolism. Impairing your liver results in better absorption of the desired nutrient, but also everything else that you don’t want. Toxicants, environmental chemicals, etc.
Overall, it’s a cheap formula, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they cut corners.
NutraBio Intra Blast
I like some NutraBio products. Their Intra Blast looks decent, but I have a few problems with it.
First, less than half the serving is actual essential amino acids. And the serving size is huge. They also obscure their inactive ingredients list.
So it’s hard to say which/how many dangerous fillers they’re using. It’s on the more expensive side for what you get.
Fortagen prides itself on being the only “essential amino acid” supplement without histadine. Technically, this doesn’t even fit the definition of essential amino acid, since it lacks one of the nine.
Interestingly, they choose to add a bunch of protein to the product too. It’s one of very few I’ve seen that also add complete protein.
I wouldn’t take this, however, because it’s more of a fortified protein product than an EAA.
The serving size is much larger, making it less compact and diminishing some of the value.
Other Non-Essential Amino Acid Products to Avoid
Although sometimes marketed as “EAAs”, these products are actually just BCAAs—three of the nine essential aminos.
As mentioned in my complete guide to amino acids, pure BCAAs do not work nearly as well as EAAs and in some cases are actually a net negative. Detracting from your health and performance.
Other of the products listed below lack multiple essential aminos—the universally agreed upon ones—and therefore do not fit the classification either.
The following are BCAA products I would avoid:
- Animal Juiced Aminos
- Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
- Life Extension BCAA
- Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
- Ghost Legend Sour Patch Kids BCAAs
- Naked BCAAs
- Type Zero Clean Amino Burn
- Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
- Klean BCAA + PEAK ATP
- Xwerks Motion
- Cellucor Alpha Amino BCAA Drink
- Kaged Muscle Amino Synergy + Caffeine
Hundreds of other products could make this list too. Don’t get fooled into believing these are EAAs.
How We Ranked the Best EAA Supplements
Before buying any amino acid product to use, test, and review, I first check the following. Paying attention to these key differences will save you tremendously.
Most supplements are shockingly unscientific. The formulator reads a few research papers, buys the raw ingredients, and slaps a label on their product.
The first issue is that supplement contamination and adulteration are incredibly common. New scandals and lawsuits constantly arise. Sometimes, the products actually contain more contaminants and fillers than the actual ingredients boldly stated all over the label.
Combining multiple ingredients together actually results in a new and completely unknown product. Unknown safety, efficacy, or interactions.
Very few brands dedicate the resources to actually running full-blown clinical trials with their products. That’s because it takes time, money, and most importantly, actually evaluates the supplement’s efficacy.
The ones that do, however, immediately set themselves apart. You can be assured that any products that undergo clinical usage are of the utmost quality and potency.
Amino Acid Profile
If you cannot find a supplement that’s actually used in clinical research, the next best is to choose one that lists the full amino acid profile.
This is absolutely vital to know you’re getting a quality product.
You should see all nine EAAs on the label, and the dosage of each of them. These include leucine, valine, isoleucine, methionine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and histidine.
Products that don’t include one or more of the above aminos technically are not essential amino acids.
The ratios will depend on the goal of the product and the manufacturer’s intent. Some choose sub-optimal ratios specifically to cut costs.
You can expect to see double the leucine levels compared to each of the others. Usually, leucine, valine, and isoleucine (BCAAs) will be the highest. However, if they are far higher than everything else, proceed with caution.
It’s also more difficult to evaluate an “ideal” EAA profile, so that’s why it’s less favorable than simply choosing a product used in real-world research.
Ingredients & Quality
Ignore the flashy labels that boast about their “unparalleled, industry-leading quality”. That should become apparent by a few other factors.
High-quality brands will always lab test their products to ensure their absence of heavy metals, pathogens, and other toxicants.
Ideally, they’ll use an unbiased third-party laboratory to conduct this testing.
One of the other major factors and potential red flags is the “Other/Inactive Ingredients” section of the label. You can learn a ton about supplement quality based on this section of the label alone.
If you see a ton of things listed here, especially long chemical names or sweeteners like ACE-K, Sucralose, Splenda, etc, avoid the product. Also look out for Magnesium Stearate, Talc, Titanium Dioxide, and other junk additives. These cut manufacturing costs at the expense of your health.
A clean product should clearly indicate lab testing, proof of use in clinical trials, and have a short “other ingredients” list.
Synergistic Ingredients & Personal Goals
EAA products have skyrocketed over the past few years. As the competition has increased, so have attempts to differentiate products.
You’ll come across two main types of beneficial additives:
- Similar ingredients
- Absorption enhancers
Before choosing a product, you’ll want to determine your goals for using it. To build muscle? To lose weight? To increase energy or mental clarity? To heal and recover faster? To optimize immunity?
Amino acids support each of the above. But some brands will add other ingredients to make the product even more effective. A few common examples include creatine, caffeine, vitamins, minerals, and beta-alanine.
Depending on your goals and desired convenience, EAA supplements that also contain these may make sense. But they come at a higher cost.
Also, some companies use other synergistic ingredients with the intention of increasing absorption and assimilation. One such example is AstraGin, which is a special ingredient hybrid of astragalus and panax notoginseng.
Dosage & Servings
One of the easiest factors to overlook when attempting to buy the best essential amino acid supplement, is the dosage info.
An average dose of pure EAAs is 5-10 grams. Some companies deceive consumers by providing very different dosages. Say a meager 2-gram serving size, while the label claims to have 2X more servings than the other products (which are all dosed at 5 grams).
Conversely, some brands advertise a whopping 15-gram serving of EAAs, but the container holds only 1/4 the quantity of similar products.
Pay close attention to the serving size (grams), servings per container, and the dose of EAAs per serving (grams) to avoid getting deceived.
EAAs from reputable brands should have a vast array of reviews online.
They should have written reviews (like this one), video reviews, and third-party posts on social media. The reviews that I do not trust are the ones on their website (as the company can fabricate these).
I also don’t trust any reviews or details that I see in ads.
Real people using the product should get real results. If you cannot find that for any reason—even if the company is new—I would certainly avoid them.
Today, we have great options available so only purchase products with a wealth of reviews from third parties.
Of course, price matters.
But more important than price, however, is the value of the product.
Inexpensive products might be tempting, but they can contain harmful additives that do more damage than the product does good. And sometimes, they don’t even contain the stated ingredient!
On the other hand, sometimes more expensive products provide greater benefits at much lower dosages.
Making the actual value of the two products quite different.
You’re better off and enjoy greater benefits from lower dosages of high-quality products than massive doses of questionable aminos.
Common EAA Questions & Answers
Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get regarding amino acid supplementation.
I eat a lot of high-quality protein. Do I need EAA supplements?
Yes, essential amino acid supplements are still helpful because they work much faster, don’t require digestion, contain higher levels of certain key amino acids, and have benefits that even the highest-quality protein sources alone do not.
Which EAA is best for muscle growth?
Clinical research shows that the best EAA supplements for muscle growth contain all nine essential amino acids, particularly with a 4:1:1 ratio of the BCAAs. A 2:1:1 ratio of the BCAAs is still good and better studied, but not quite as powerful.
Are EAA supplements effective?
EAA supplements are powerful for all kinds of goals and use cases. In some cases, up to 4X more effective than other proteins and up to 30X more effective than just BCAAs.
Are essential amino acid supplements safe?
100+ clinical trials have definitively shown that high-quality EAAs are safe and without negative side effects. They also won’t interfere with other supplements you’re using.
The World’s Top Essential Amino Acids Reviewed & Compared: Final Verdict
The body is mostly made of water, minerals, and amino acids.
Amino acids are the raw materials used to build cells, tissue, brain chemicals, hormones, nerves, and much more. They perform thousands of vital functions that allow the human body to thrive.
Out of the ~20 amino acids, nine of them are “essential” and therefore must come from diet. They work together—a single lacking amino is like an orchestra missing one of the primary instruments.
Even those following high-protein diets will lack adequate amounts of one or more essential amino acids. That deficiency has huge consequences.
Adding a high-quality supplement can dramatically improve the way you look, feel, and perform. Yet there are dozens if not hundreds of products on the market.
Over the years, I’ve used many thousands of doses of EAAs. Most were junk and didn’t work as expected. On the other hand, a select few brands produce high-quality EAAs that make a noticeable difference.
If you choose one of the ones in this article, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Thanks for reading. There’s so much bad info regarding aminos, and I could use your help changing that. If you found this helpful, I’d love for you to send it to a friend or share it on social media.
What about you? Do you use an EAA supplement? Drop a comment below and let me know!