The amino acid L-Leucine is one of the branch chain amino acids (BCAA) that contains over 35% of the bodies essential amino acids. What is an essential amino acid you ask? Well, an essential amino acid is an amino acid that the body cannot produce on its own, which means that a person can only receive it when they consume it through a food source or supplement. While L-Leucine is well known for being apart of the BCAA amino acids, it has become quite popular of an amino acid in its own right.
What Does L-Leucine Do?
L-Leucine is the most effective essential amino acid for helping to create “muscle protein synthesis”. What this means is that L-Leucine is able to help convert compounds like protein into new muscle fibers, or help rehabilitate old muscle fibers and make them stronger. L-leucine taken as a supplement doesn’t necessarily make a persons muscles bigger or grow, rather it is able to help reinforce the strength of your muscle fibers so that they don’t become weaker. This makes L-Leucine very effective in helping a person avoid muscle atrophy down the road as he or she begins to age.
L-Leucine Helps With Weakening Muscles
This is why it has become popular for adults over the age of 40 to begin taking some form of BCAA or L-Leucine supplement to help avoid their muscles from weakening. The science behind what makes L-leucine so effective at treating muscle atrophy is because of how it is utilized and produced in the liver. The liver is able to process the L-Leucine into nutrients for muscle tissue that offers support for muscle fibers throughout your body. What this then does is activate your body to increase the production of cells, and helps you to have more red blood cells that your body can use and distribute in the blood stream. This in turn helps your blood to carry even more nutrients to the muscles and the rest of your body’s organs.
What Foods Can You Find L-Leucine In?
Without taking a BCAA or L-Leucine supplement, the only real way you are able to get this essential amino acid in your body is through eating certain groups of foods. Many of these foods are meat like beef, fish, and chicken. However, you can also get large amounts of L-Leucine through soybeans, almonds, and chicken oats or oatmeal.
More Information About L-Leucine
If you to know more about the nerdy science side of L-Leucine, well then this next piece of information is for you. The L-Leucine amino acid short form name is C6H13NO2. In total L-leucine accounts for 8 percent of all the essential amino acids in your body. It is also one of largest concentrations in your skeletal muscle for an amino acid, and is incredibly important for developing your human growth hormones (HGH). HGH’s are important because they help preserve your muscle tissue and make sure that your body is still receiving nutrients even when it is under stress or anxious. This is very important for your body because without it, anytime you get stressed it would cause your internal functions like brain signals and cell growth to either slow down or stop completely.