With a reputation as ‘the primary BCAA,’ we’re starting our series off strong by breaking down this muscle-building amino. Leucine is one of three Branched Chain Amino Acids. A branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) is an amino acid having aliphatic side-chains with a branch (a central carbon atom bound to three or more carbon atoms). Branched-chain amino acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis, potentially more than a normal protein on its own. As mentioned above, there are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three proteinogenic BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans.
Since essential amino acids cannot be created within our bodies, they must be obtained through our diets.
Proper development of muscle tissue relies on amino acids and deficiencies can create massive problems. Protein in your diet provides structure to your cells and tissues – for example, your muscles and organs – and supports physiological functions like immune health, hormone production and cell-to-cell communication. If your diet is missing essential amino acids, your body’s first response is to break down muscle tissue to access the amino acids it contains so it can use them elsewhere. Therefore, muscle wasting is the first symptom of a deficiency of essential amino acids. Other effects can include decreased immune response, weakness, fatigue and changes to the texture of your skin and hair.
Not good, right?
Studies show that Leucine has much greater power on stimulating protein synthesis compared to any other amino acid. So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough Leucine? Supplementation, of course!
According to www.bodybuilding.com, here are some supplementation strategies you can use to help you maximize the benefits of leucine.
- “Consume 2.5 grams of leucine (or 5 g of total BCAAs) within 30 minutes of training to support an anabolic stimulus.
- Combine another 5 grams of leucine (or 10 g of BCAAs) in your post-workout custom True Nutrition protein shake.
- Consume 5 grams of leucine before sleep to facilitate recovery from training. As previously mentioned, adding leucine to a beverage, or compensating with increased leucine in whey protein, can be very effective for stimulating protein synthesis.
- Consuming leucine between meals is encouraged for accelerated recovery and enhanced protein synthesis. Individuals who are dieting and want to maintain lean muscle mass should consider adding a leucine supplement, which can certainly help reduce any potential catabolic effects and prevent muscle breakdown. Just 2-3 grams of leucine should do the trick.”
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Yours in health,