|Would it be advisable to switch from the large scoop with protein (red) to the small one with (EAAs) or take both? That's a question today's SuppVersity article may help you to answer on your own.|
Hiroyuki Kato et al., researchers from the Frontier Research Laboratories in Japan know that... obviously, after all, they work for the world's #1 amino acid producer, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. That makes them potentially biased, but that's a bias they openly declare.
I would thus suggest we take a careful look at study design, results and - this is where a bias will usually "sneak" in - the authors' interpretation of their results, i.e. "that leucine-enriched amino acids accelerate recovery from muscle damage by preventing excessive inﬂammation" (Kato. 2016) before we discard their study as 'amino acid advertising'.
- water with 1g/kg of a 60% leucine, 40% other amino acid mix to
- plain distilled water as a control
...is nice for a proof of concept study, but it's not the practically relevant study to answer the one and most important question: "Does it make sense to add those amino acids on top of my (potentially whey supplemented) high-protein diet?"
But whey won't have the exact same amino acid composition! Yes, it is possible that the exact amino acid composition differs from the supplement that was used in the study at hand. To assume that this makes a significant difference, however, is to believe the marketing hype about "optimal ratios" (e.g. 2:1:1, 10:2:1 make up any numbers you want and print them on your supplements). The truth is: the supplement industry cannot know what's"optimal", because neither they, nor independent researchers have conducted studies that show anything that goes beyond the benefits of a threshold intake of 2g+ of leucine on a per meal basis. Everything else is marketing gibberish.
As already mentioned in the headline, the L+EAA intake of the subjects would equal 'only' 10-15g of the high leucine + EAA supplement. If you do the math, this translates into 4g of leucine and 6g of the other EAAs... pretty much what you'd get in 40g of whey protein, a supplement that contains additional nutrients with proven anti-inflammatory effects. It is thus not proven, but can be safely assumed that the interesting results of the study at hand apply to whey protein (in the said equivalent dosage), too.
"[W]e found that leucine-enriched essential amino acids also alleviated muscle dysfunction, which is correlated with the extent of muscle damage. Notably, these amino acids restored full muscle function [you can see that in the muscle torque data in Figure 2] 14 days after eccentric contraction without a [significant] increase in muscle mass" (Kato. 2016).
|Figure 3: The benefits occur early during the recovery process (Kato. 2016).|
- Kato, Hiroyuki, et al. "Leucine-enriched essential amino acids attenuate inflammation in rat muscle and enhance muscle repair after eccentric contraction." Amino acids (2016): 1-11.