The Best Essential Amino Acid Supplement: Which One is Right for You?

a scoop of powder

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If you want to know more about essential amino acid supplements, you're not alone. Not only are they flooding the marketplace, but many people are also replacing their BCAA supplements with them. Essential amino acids (EAAs) play a vital role to help build and grow muscle, and by taking an EAA supplement, you're ensuring a bountiful supply of muscle food. Stay tuned because we've made finding the best essential amino acid supplement a bit less complicated. But first, what are essential amino acids?

There are 20 amino acids that make up protein molecules. Of those 20, nine of them are considered essential amino acids (EAAs) because the human body cannot produce them on its own. That means we need to consume them through our diet. If you're curious about where branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) enter the equation, they are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and make up 3 of the 9 essential amino acids. So essential amino acid supplements include BCAAs because BCAAs are also essential amino acids.

The ACTIVE Reviews Team works hard to find and rate the best products out there. We've now compiled a list of the best essential amino acid supplements on the market. You can find even more info about EEAs and their supplements at the end of this article.

Why Trust Us?

The health and safety of ACTIVE's readers is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your well-being when consuming nutritional supplements, the ACTIVE.com editorial team prioritizes products that are independently tested by a third party. We've also consulted with a team of nutritionists and dieticians to ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. This helps us create the most accurate, authentic review content for our readers.

The Best Essential Amino Acid Supplements - Our Top Picks

Best Overall Essential Amino Acid Supplement - Kaged Amino Synergy

Kaged Amino Synergy

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): 1
  • Dosage: 1 scoop with 10-14 oz. of water 1-2 times daily
  • Type: Powder
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids, coconut water
  • Certifications: Informed Sport Certification

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Our choice for the best overall essential amino acid supplement goes to Kaged Amino Synergy. Kaged has become a trusted brand in the exercise and fitness community because they use first-rate ingredients to formulate a high-quality product. We like that this is a straightforward essential amino acid product without many added nutrients. They chose to use vegan-sourced amino acids to avoid lower-quality sources like animal byproducts such as bird feathers or animal fur. We also like the addition of coconut water powder. When combined with water, this is a great hydration aid, perfect for a post-workout pick-me-up.

Amino Synergy has been third-party tested and certified by Informed-Sport which requires banned substance testing on each batch. With only natural flavors and colors, you won't find any artificial ingredients muddying up the supplement. It comes in one flavor of raspberry lemonade, which is delicious. We would like to see more flavor options in the future.

What We Like

  • Third-party testing
  • Vegan fermented amino acids used
  • Coconut water powder
  • No artificial colors or flavors

What We Don't Like

  • Only 1 flavor option
  • No organic ingredients

BUY: Kaged Amino Synergy

Best Essential Amino Acid Supplement for Long Workouts - Swolverine Intra-Workout

Swolverine Intra-Workout

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $$
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): 1
  • Dosage: 1 scoop mixed with beverage of choice
  • Type: Powder
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids, ginseng, coconut water powder, tart cherry juice, spirulina powder, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium
  • Certifications: N/A

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The final spot in our "best of" list goes to Swolverine Intra-Workout as the best essential amino acid supplement for long workouts. Not only does Swolverine Intra-Workout include all nine essential amino acids, it also added an endurance and hydration mix which includes ginseng, coconut water powder, tart cherry juice, and spirulina powder. Thanks to the addition of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, your electrolytes are already included. With ginseng added for mental focus and endurance, and tart cherry for muscle recovery, this well-rounded supplement promises to deliver.

Intra-Workout is a brand-new product for Swolverine, and clearly a lot of thought has gone into it. It's made in the United States and is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Swolverine prides themselves on their 100% transparent label in which they avoid elusive proprietary blends so you know exactly what you're getting in the supplement.

What We Like

  • Vegan-sourced essential amino acids
  • Endurance and hydration mix
  • Tart cherry

What We Don't Like

  • Not third-party tested
  • New product, therefore few customer reviews

BUY: Swolverine Intra-Workout

h2>Best Flavored Essential Amino Acid Supplement - Transparent Labs Intra

Transparent Labs Intra

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $$
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): 1
  • Dosage: 1 scoop mixed with 12-16 oz. of water and consume during workout
  • Type: Powder
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids, taurine, coconut water, elevATP®, AstraGin®
  • Certifications: N/A

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Transparent Labs Intra took the spot of the best flavored essential amino acid supplement because it is a great product from a company that just knows how to do flavor. This one comes in blue raspberry or strawberry lemonade. This brand pops up frequently on our best-of lists because they are a company that takes great care in their ingredients and regularly puts out high-quality products. Intra contains all nine essential amino acids, plus the addition of taurine, coconut water, and two patented blends: elevATP®, thought to improve performance, and AstraGin®, made to allow better nutrient absorption in the gut.

Sweetened with Stevia extract, Intra contains no artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring, or artificial preservatives, and is gluten-free. We love Transparent Labs' third-party testing policy in which certificates of analysis and certificates of composition are available for all to view on their website. It's great to know that you are getting a high-quality product that keeps its promise about what's on the label.

What We Like

  • Third-party testing
  • No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
  • Flavor options

What We Don't Like

  • In order to receive a full refund for the product, it must be unopened
  • Many active ingredients, possibly moving it beyond just an EAA supplement

BUY: Transparent Labs Intra

Best Vegan Essential Amino Acid Supplement - EAA Surge

EAA Surge

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $$
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): 3
  • Dosage: 1 scoop mixed with water, consumed during exercise
  • Type: Powder
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids, taurine, coconut water powder
  • Certifications: N/A

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We chose Jacked Factory's EEA Surge as the best vegan essential amino acid supplement. This EAA supplement contains all nine essential amino acids, of course, plus the additional amino acid, taurine. Taurine is interesting because it borders on being an essential amino acid but isn't yet classified as one. Recent research has shown that taurine can be quite beneficial in protein metabolism as well as muscle regeneration. With the addition of coconut water powder for hydration, this is a well-rounded essential amino acid supplement.

Jacked Factory recommends taking this supplement during your workout for the best results. With 5 fruity flavors to choose from, we know you'll find one to love. We like that this product is manufactured in the U.S. and contains no artificial colors. Jacked Factory always impresses us with their hassle-free money-back guarantee. So if for any reason you don't like the product, they'll take it back without question.

What We Like

  • Vegan amino acids
  • Addition of taurine
  • Flexible return policy
  • 5 flavors to choose from

What We Don't Like

  • Not third-party tested
  • Sweetened with sucralose

BUY: EAA Surge

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Best Budget Essential Amino Acid Supplement - Bulk Supplements EAA

Bulk Supplements EAA

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $$
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): N/A
  • Dosage: 1-1/3 tablespoon, or 2 capsules
  • Type: Powder or capsule
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids
  • Certifications: ISO Certified

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Our pick for the best budget essential amino acid supplement goes to bulk supplements EAA. At a little over $1 per serving, this supplement is easy on the wallet. Bulk Supplements is interesting because they sell unadulterated nutritional supplements in their purest form. That means there is no added sugar, sugar substitute, flavoring, or colors. You will only receive their proprietary blend of essential amino acids.

Most other brands provide anywhere from 3-6 grams of EAAs per serving while Bulk Supplements provide a whopping 10 grams of essential amino acids per serving. So not only are you paying less per serving, you're actually getting more per serving. We really appreciate that the products are tested through a third party to ensure quality and composition. Being that this EAA supplement has no flavor, you are free to mix it with any flavored drink you'd like. They also come in capsule form if you prefer not to mix them into a beverage.

What We Like

  • Quality essential amino acids at a good price
  • Free of flavorings, sweeteners, and colors
  • Available in capsule form
  • Third-party testing

What We Don't Like

  • Lack of flavors may cause people to drink with sweetened beverages
  • The source of the amino acids is unclear

BUY: Bulk Supplements EAA

Best Essential Amino Acid Supplement with Caffeine - Beyond Raw Precision EAA

 

SPECS

  • Price (rating scale below): $$
  • Flavor options (rating scale below): 1
  • Dosage: 2 scoops in 8-12 oz. of cold water, avoid taking at bedtime
  • Type: Powder
  • Ingredients: 9 essential amino acids, tamarind seed extract, turmeric extract, caffeine, L-tyrosine, Lion's mane powder
  • Certifications: N/A

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We've chosen Beyond Raw Precision EAA as the best essential amino acid supplement with caffeine. Beyond Raw delivers 10 grams of essential amino acids per serving and two ingredient blends: Joint Support and Herbal Complex, which includes tamarind and turmeric extract, and Adaptogenic Energy and Focus blend that has caffeine, lion's mane powder, and L-tyrosine. This supplement also contains electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which act fast to rehydrate the body when mixed with water.

Beyond Raw Precision EAA is put out by GNC which is a leading brand in the health and wellness market. Opening its doors in 1936, they have continued to grow and become the trusted supplement company they are today.

What We Like

  • Addition of electrolytes
  • Caffeine
  • Larger dose of EAAs compared to some other brands

What We Don't Like

  • No third-party testing
  • Only 1 flavor option

BUY: Beyond Raw Precision EAA

How to Choose the Best Essential Amino Acid Supplement

If you're interested in stepping out to do your own research, below are some things that you'll want to think about when looking for the best essential amino acid supplement.

BCAAs vs. EAAs

We touched on this earlier, but let's go a bit deeper. In the science community, we want to know what works best to support and increase muscle protein synthesis, or muscle growth. More recent evidence suggests that BCAAs alone might actually decrease muscle protein synthesis, thus working against muscle growth. And a plentiful supply of EAAs (which include BCAAs) can work to turn this around and increase muscle growth. Therefore, the consensus seems to be headed in the direction of essential amino acid supplements for the win.

Ingredients

The ingredient list is crucial in any nutritional supplement. In the case of essential amino acids, we obviously want to be sure that all nine essential amino acids are included on the nutrition facts list. Many supplement companies like to add additional beneficial ingredients that help with endurance or muscle recovery. An example of this is Tart cherry extract, a popular added ingredient to help with muscle recovery. It's important to always understand what's in your supplement prior to consuming it in order to avoid reactions and overconsumption of certain nutrients.

In addition to knowing and understanding the nutrients included on the nutrition facts label, it's important to know the source of the ingredients whenever possible. For example, many essential amino acids come from the byproducts of animals processed through the food industry. Feathers might be the source of amino acids in your product. Other companies use vegan amino acids from fermented vegetation. These things may or may not be important to you, but at least you can make an informed decision.

Certifications

It's always good to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve vitamin and mineral supplements prior to them being sold to the public. Therefore it's critical that the consumer do their own research when purchasing nutritional supplements. Of course, it's not possible for us to peer through the window of manufacturing facilities to do our own investigation, therefore we rely on third-party certifications to hold companies accountable.

These companies test the supplements in batches at their own facilities. It varies but they mostly look for safety, composition, purity, banned substances, and heavy metals. Once the product passes the test, they give their seal of approval in the form of certification. The consumer can feel more confident buying the product. Some third-party certifications to look out for include NSF International certification, QAI International certification, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification, and Informed-Sport Certification.

How We Rate Supplements


Price/Affordability (scale of $-$$$)

Prices depend on a number of factors, and tend to fluctuate over time, so we've kept our affordability rating scale simple so you can easily see how products compare:

$ = under $1 per serving
$$ = $1-2 per serving
$$$ = over $2 per serving

Flavor Options (scale of 1-3)

When it comes to dietary supplements that you take frequently, or even daily, options are important. And while your protein powder or pre-workout doesn't have to taste good to be effective, having several flavors to choose from can make it easier to stick with your fitness and health goals.

N/A = Unflavored
1 = 1-2 flavor options
2 = 3-4 flavor options
3 = 5 or more flavor options

FAQs About Essential Amino Acid Supplements


Should I be taking BCAAs or EAAs?

Based on the latest review by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, an ample amount of all EAAs can increase muscle growth. Whereas BCAAs alone might actually slow or decrease muscle growth based on total protein consumed throughout the day. Bottom line, EAAs will not only give you more bang for your buck, but they'll get the job done.

How many EAAs should I take daily?

There is currently no consensus yet on the daily recommended amount of essential amino acids. As you've seen from our picks above, EAA supplements usually range from 3-10 grams per serving. It's always important to ensure you're meeting your protein needs first and taking an EAA supplement based on what works for you. When in doubt, you might want to choose a midrange product with about 6 grams per serving.

Do EAAs really work?

In short, yes, they do. It's important to remember that EAAs are simply amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. As you likely know, a sufficient amount of protein will help build muscle, so in that sense, if your protein needs are met, EAAs definitely work. Research indicates that when all EAAs are present, muscle protein synthesis is stimulated. In other words, EAAs help improves muscle growth.

What are the benefits of EAAs?

Essential amino acids are broken-down elements of protein that help to grow muscles post-exercise. Taking an EAA supplement provides your body with easily absorbed muscle building blocks to improve muscle growth and repair.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About the Author

Bryee Shepard, MS, RD

Byree is a registered dietitian with a Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition. Bryee is fascinated by food science and biochemistry but also enjoys simple recipe creations as she loves breaking down evidence-based info into digestible guides.

See More from Bryee

Byree is a registered dietitian with a Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition. Bryee is fascinated by food science and biochemistry but also enjoys simple recipe creations as she loves breaking down evidence-based info into digestible guides.

See More from Bryee

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