Leucine is one of the 9 essential amino acids of the 20 that our cells have, which our body can not produce, so it must be consumed through food or supplements.
It makes up about eight percent of the total amino acids present in the body’s proteins . Being the fourth most concentrated amino acid in body tissue.
It is a non-branched, ie uncharged, long chain amino acid. It has a neutral pH and its abbreviation is Leu.
It is handled in the liver, muscle tissue and adipose tissue; In the latter two it is applied for the creation of sterols which fulfill structural, regulatory and hormonal functions.
This amino acid is part of the genetic code. It has the ability to simulate insulin and help sugar to enter the cells. It can also supply glucose during fasting spaces, this being a quality that is not shared by the other amino acids.
Leucine is formed by the agglomeration of ?-ketoisovaleric acid which, together with acetyl CoA, gives rise to a succession of compounds, until Leucine subsequently emerges.
It experiences an alteration during the aging, which causes an imbalance in the manufacture of the muscular proteins; Which is why there is a loss of muscle mass in the elderly.
It is very valuable in circumstances where high levels of healing are demanded, whether for fractures, wounds, distentions, dislocations, etc.
It is proven that in cases of operations, the contributions of this essential amino acid, help achieve a faster recovery of the patient.
Leucine is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates , facilitating the absorption of glucose by the cells, thus regulating blood sugar levels, being appropriate for diabetes.
It is essential in the muscular development, avoiding the muscular dystrophy or the lack of musculature. It also helps to preserve the health of the gallbladder and liver, as well as increases the production of bile, preventing indigestion or liver failure.
Avoid dwarfism by activating growth hormone. Leucine is important for good mental health, helping to avoid mental disorders and other behavioral disadvantages. Its use is appropriate in cases of anxiety, stress, depression and nervousness.
It indirectly fulfills a regulatory function in proper biliary segregation, as well as in hormonal sexual functions, both female and male.
Recommended Daily Dose
FAO recommends 39 mg / kg / day and the RDA for leucine is estimated to be 45 mg / kg / day of leucine for sedentary people.
These amounts are increased in people sportsmen and a leucine intake equivalent to 8 grams or more is recommended, even the recommendations reach 20 grams per day in workouts that produce excessive overload.
It is recommended to consume at least 2.5 grams in each meal, either from food sources or supplemented with leucine.
When the goal is to stimulate protein synthesis (muscle recovery, hypertrophy, strength improvement, etc …) a minimum of 3-4 grams of leucine per dose should be consumed. If possible, together with high glycemic index carbohydrates, because leucine acts most effectively in the presence of insulin.
Foods that contain it
Servings of one ounce (28.7 grams) of foods that contain more Leucine, are:
- Isolated soy protein , 1.9 grams (g) of leucine (Leu)
- Beef and pork , 0.7 g of Leu
- Cheddar cheese , 0.7 g of Leu
- Tuna , 0.5 g of Leu
- Chicken and turkey , 0.4 g Leu.
- Cottage cheese and eggs , 0.4 g Leu
- Yogurt , 0.2 g of Leu
- Lentils, black beans and pinto beans , 0.2 g Leu
Its lack can cause a variety of disorders in the organism, some of them are: deficient in the healing of injuries and injuries, greater tendency to suffer injuries in the liver, variations of the glucose, alterations in the muscular mass, deficiency in the growth , Behavioral disorders and mental disorders.
High amounts of Leucine supplement intake can cause ammonia buildup in the body. Too much ammonia circulating in the blood can cause tissue damage to the organs. The kidneys and liver are mainly susceptible to the toxicity of ammonia, because they aid the body by filtering excess ammonia into the bloodstream.
High levels of Leucine can cause a decrease in vitamin B3 or niacin in the body.
It can lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels in some people because of their potential to cause insulin to be produced by the pancreas.
It can cause effects such as nausea, vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhea.