By: Marian Galang, Optimum Bikini Coach
Let me start off by saying: yuck, puke, barf, dry heeve, gag! This is not the best tasting supplement but does give tremendous results (think anabolic trigger!)
Leucine is one of the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and is considered to be the most beneficial out of the pack. Why? Leucine activates a critical compound in the muscle called mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin), which leads to protein synthesis. The other two branched chain amino acids (Valine and Isoleucine) also does the same mechanism but in a much weaker manner. It has been studied that ingesting 5g of leucine is far more beneficial than ingesting 5g of mixed BCAAs. As a matter of fact, Leucine has about a ten-fold greater impact on protein synthesis than any other amino acid! In addition, Leucine is also known to stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas (again, it is the only branched chain amino acid known to be best at doing this!).
Our bodies naturally do not have the ability to produce Leucine. We can, however, get it from our diet or from supplementation. Foods rich in Leucine include: meats, fish and poultry. Leucine is also present in BCAA pills, BCAA powder as well as in whey protein powder. You can also buy Leucine by itself and usually comes in a powder form. Pure Leucine powder tastes bitter by nature and does not dissolve immediately in water. I usually mix mine with a flavored BCAA powder and take it as a shot. The bitter taste still overpowers and I have actually experienced a strong gag reflex come on right after ingesting this amino acid. If your Leucine dissolves easily, I would question its purity.
In summarization, Leucine:
- Provides a building block for muscles
- Activates key components in protein synthesis
- Aids in muscle recovery
- Preserves lean muscle mass
- Can regulate metabolic disturbances such as high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol levels
- Pure Leucine in powder form does not mix easily with water