What is it and where does it come from?
L-Leucine is an essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) that’s broken down in fat structures. The other two essential BCAA’s are L-Valine and L-Isoleucine.
L-Leucine can not be made by the body, and must be acquired through food or dietary supplements. It can be found in nuts, brown rice and whole wheat bread products.
What does L-Leucine do?
L-Leucine comprises about eight percent of the total amino acid count in your body’s protein structures; it is the forth most concentrated amino acid in skeletal muscle tissue.
As one of the three BCAA’s, L-Leucine is essential to your basic health. It has athletic applications.
L-Leucine has many beneficial effects on sports performance. It helps preserve lean muscle tissue, it supplies the body with energy when under stress (i.e. when engaging in athletic activity), it preserves muscle glycogen (glucose stored in muscle tissue used to power muscular contraction), it maintains nitrogen balance, and it enhances thinking abilities that can decline as physical activity becomes more intense.
The effects of L-Leucine in the diet are profound. As the strongest of the BCAA’s, L-Leucine is what’s known as a “limiting nutrient” – meaning that you must have enough L-Leucine in proportion to other amino acids in order for your body to make use of what you eat. Simply: If you suffer from an L-Leucine deficiency, your body will not be able to make use of the protein that you give it – no matter how much protein you consume. And, unless you have enough L-Luecine, the money you spend on quality food and dietary supplements will be wasted.
To make the most of what you eat, you need two parts L-Leucine and two parts L-Valine for every one part of L-Isoleucine. You’ll fail to get optimal results if you fall short of meeting this exact ratio.
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