Supplementing with EAAs supports muscle mass
Supplementing with EAAs supports muscle mass

Dietary proteins and amino acids in the control of the muscle mass during immobilization and aging: role of the MPS response


Supplementation with essential amino acids (EAAs) has been proven to help increase muscle mass and protect against muscle loss, both due to normal aging and in times of bed rest. In conditions of illness associated with muscle loss, it appears that supplementing with essential amino acids with a high concentration of leucine is the most effective nutritional strategy for maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass. 

At the time of this review, the most optimal dose and timing of EAA ingestion was still under investigation, as was the impact of reducing oxidation and inflammation with additional vitamins and amino acids alongside increased protein intake.

Trial Length


Number of Subjects



All genders

Age Range


The Goal

This comprehensive review examines the role of essential amino acids (EAAs) in increasing muscle protein synthesis during conditions that contribute to muscle loss, and discusses the most effective nutritional strategies for maximizing the anabolic capabilities of EAAs.

The Results

An analysis of the research suggests that supplementing with the maximal amount of essential amino acids can stimulate muscle protein synthesis in conditions associated with muscle loss. In conditions such as immobilization and aging, an even greater amount of amino acids must be consumed in order to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.   

Along with an amino acid-rich diet, antioxidants and glycine supplementation can potentially help increase muscle protein synthesis in catabolic conditions including muscle disuse and aging by reducing inflammation and other inhibitors of muscle growth. 

Postprandial MPS in young/adult subjects during aging/muscle disuse condition in response to protein feeding  


A review of the literature suggests that supplementing with an optimal amount of amino acids between meals can help preserve lean muscle mass in aging adults.

The Why?

Protein and essential amino acid supplements are one of the most widely consumed supplements, particularly among athletes and bodybuilders. Determining the most effective ratio of amino acids as well as the timing of ingestion helps keep the supplement industry honest, so that the benefits of muscle growth far outweigh the expense of the products.

Likewise, muscle loss due to aging and illness can greatly affect quality of life and future prognosis, making it imperative to develop effective nutritional strategies for protecting against muscle wasting. Essential amino acids are emerging the clear contender for the most effective supplement for muscle health.


Cholewa JM, Dardevet D, Lima-Soares F, de Araújo Pessôa K, Oliveira PH, Dos Santos Pinho JR, Nicastro H, Xia Z, Cabido CE, Zanchi NE. Dietary proteins and amino acids in the control of the muscle mass during immobilization and aging: role of the MPS response. Amino Acids. 2017 May;49(5):811-820. doi: 10.1007/s00726-017-2390-9. Epub 2017 Feb 7. Review. PMID:28175999