Leucine is an essential branched chain amino acid. This means that your body can not produce it naturally so we have to get our Leucine from dietary sources. The three branched chain amino acids in the muscles are Valine, Isoleucine and Leucine – with Leucine being the most abundant. Theses amino acids are unique because they can be utsed by the muscles as fuel. Therefore when you exercise your levels of Leucine drop. This makes Leucine a crucial supplement for those who train regularly.
How does Leucine help to build muscle ?
Leucine has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis and contribute to muscle growth. Most of us know that after a workout we should consume some protein to induce an increase in muscle protein synthesis. Adding Leucine to your protein shgake has been shown to significantly increase protein synthesis. Leucine has also been shown to activate a critical compound in muscle called the mTOR (mammalion target of rapamycin). mTOR is in effect a switch that activates the bodys muscle building potential.
This switch, or pathway, is activated by Leucine. In simple terms, adding additional Leucine into your diet is a highly effective way to maximise muscle building potential after your workout.
What can Leucine do ?
More and more studies are being done on the benefits of supplementing with Leucine. Currently Leucine is known to provide an important building block for muscle protein. Leucine activates key events in the process of protein synthesis, assists with weight loss, improves body composition and corrects metabolic disturbances such as elevated Glucose and cholesterol levels. One point of note is that for Leucine to be at it’s most effective, Leucine should be taken alongside a high protein diet. Hopefully you can now see that if your training hard and consuming enough protein that adding a small amount of Leucine could have a significant effect on your muscle building potential.