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L-Leucine Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Functions

Discover the Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient L-Leucine or 2-Amino-4-Methylpentanoic Acid

Leucine – also known as L-leucine and by its scientific name, 2-amino-4-methylpentanoic acid – is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA). Because the human body cannot synthesize this essential amino acid, it must be obtained from food sources such as meat, dairy products and legumes. L-leucine is also available in natural dietary supplements, including health and bodybuilding supplements such as Ana-GH, DBol-GH, Cut and Ripped Plus, Amino Shooter and Chocolate Whey Protein.

Functions of L-Leucine

Branched-chain amino acids like L-leucine stimulate protein synthesis by triggering pancreatic islet cells to release insulin. This protein synthesis primarily takes place in skeletal muscle, but also occurs to a lesser extent in the liver and adipose (fat) tissue. It is believed that L-leucine may help prevent or reduce muscle damage, enhance anabolic muscle signaling, lower blood-glucose levels and avoid faulty message transmission in the brain cells of people with certain diseases. It may also decrease serotonin production by blocking tryptophan transport to the brain, thereby reducing feelings of drowsiness and fatigue.

Sources of L-Leucine

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), common dietary sources of L-leucine include beef, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese and milk. Legumes are another good source – particularly beans, soy and peanuts – as are nuts and seeds (such as almonds and sunflower seeds) and grains (like wheat germ, oats, corn and rice). L-leucine may also be consumed directly as part of a natural dietary supplement.

Leucine Benefits and Uses

Because of L-leucine’s role in protein synthesis, it is often used in health and bodybuilding supplements that are designed to build muscle strength, increase exercise endurance, reduce muscle breakdown and promote muscle recovery. Its ability to inhibit serotonin production means that L-leucine may help prevent or delay fatigue during exercise. L-leucine has also been shown to stimulate the appetite – making it useful for athletes looking to gain mass and weight.

In addition, L-leucine appears to benefit individuals with specific medical conditions. For example, it may help to lower blood-glucose levels in diabetics, and it can improve the health and nutrition of patients experiencing loss of appetite due to hemodialysis, cancer treatments or anorexia. L-leucine has also been shown to diminish symptoms in manic patients, reduce involuntary movements in individuals with tardive dyskinesia, and improve muscle control and brain function in patients with advanced liver disease, including various forms of hepatic encephalopathy.

Side Effects of L-Leucine and Potential Interactions

L-leucine is generally considered safe when taken in normal doses, such as those found in food and most dietary supplements. However, excessive amounts can result in hypoglycemia or vitamin B3 and B6 deficiencies. Users are advised to adhere to supplement dosing information and avoid consuming more than 39 grams of L-leucine per day.

Few L-leucine side effects have been recorded, though some users have reported experiencing fatigue or decreased motor coordination. Individuals with certain medical conditions – including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), isovaleric acidemia, branched-chain ketoaciduria (maple syrup urine disease) and chronic alcoholism – should avoid L-leucine, as it can pose health risks in these patients. In terms of L-leucine interactions, it appears to decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. Conversely, it can have an additive effect when taken with diabetes medication, potentially resulting in hypoglycemia. Other medications – such as Diazoxide and corticosteroids – can decrease the effects of L-leucine on protein, while thyroid hormone medication can cause the body to break down L-leucine more slowly.

More detailed safety information on L-leucine side effects and interactions can be found on WebMD. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking dietary supplements containing L-leucine.

L-Leucine Research and Studies

Scientists have researched L-leucine and other BCAAs to determine their benefits and practical uses, and numerous studies have indicated a positive effect on muscle strength, exercise endurance and muscle recovery. An article published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology reported that outrigger canoeists using leucine supplements displayed significantly improved endurance performance and upper-body power. In Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, researchers noted that well-trained male cyclists who took a leucine-protein supplement after intense training subsequently exhibited improved high-intensity endurance performance and lower perceived levels of tiredness. And according to the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, resistance-trained males who consumed an energy drink with leucine (and other key ingredients) prior to their workout demonstrated a significant increase in the number of repetitions successfully performed.

Other studies examined the impact of L-leucine on protein synthesis. Research findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that increasing the concentration of leucine in an essential amino acid supplement consumed during steady-state exercise resulted in a greater muscle protein synthesis response during recovery. And in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers determined that insulin and leucine work in synergy, allowing skeletal muscles to coordinate protein synthesis with physiological state and dietary intake.

For additional research related to L-leucine, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

HGH.com Supplements With L-Leucine
Athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts who wish to leverage the positive effects of L-leucine can find this essential amino acid in a variety of natural health and bodybuilding supplements from HGH.com:

Ana-GH – Each serving of Ana-GH contains 1.5 grams of L-leucine, which is blended with other branched-chain amino acids and active ingredients. This supplement is designed to jumpstart bulking cycles by promoting weight and mass gains while improving protein synthesis and contributing to joint and muscle repair.

Cut and Ripped Plus – Created to support cutting cycles and contest prep, Cut and Ripped Plus combines L-leucine with other active ingredients to help build muscle, increase strength and burn fat for a competition-ready physique. The capsules also help to boost energy and stamina, minimize pain, promote faster recovery and raise human growth hormone (HGH) levels.

DBol-GH – The proprietary blend of ingredients in DBol-GH includes L-leucine, which helps users to achieve lean mass and muscle growth, and also aids in muscle recovery. DBol-GH’s active ingredients are designed to stack and work together, delivering visible results and increasing HGH production.

Amino Shooter and Creatine Energy – Formulated to mix easily with cold water, Amino Shooter is used during intense workouts to protect and grow muscle. A single serving contains 3 grams of L-leucine, which supports protein synthesis and reduces muscle degradation.

Multi-Pro Chocolate Whey Protein – Each scoop of Multi-Pro Chocolate Whey provides 24 grams of protein and includes 2.16 grams of L-leucine. Fortified with vitamins and minerals, it provides a complete protein supplement for those looking to gain muscle and lose body fat.


References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):

Bruno, Gene. “A Primer on Branched Chain Amino Acids”; Smart Supplementation, published by Huntington College of Health Sciences; 2009. <http://www.hchs.edu/literature/BCAA.pdf>

Deuster, Patricia; Maier, Steven; et al. “Protein and Amino Acids Products – Branched Chain Amino Acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine”; Dietary Supplements and Military Divers: A Synopsis for Undersea Medical Officers, published by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; January 2004. <http://hprc-online.org/dietary-supplements/files/DietarySupplementUMO.pdf>

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Leucine”; published under “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products” within Integrative Medicine area of website; last updated February 21, 2013. <http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/leucine>

USDA Agricultural Research Service. “Leucine” search results in the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference; accessed July 30, 2014. <http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index>

WebMD and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. “Branched Chain Amino Acids”; published under “Vitamins & Supplements”; accessed July 30, 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1005-BRANCHED-CHAIN+AMINO+ACIDS.aspx?activeIngredientId=1005&activeIngredientName=BRANCHED-CHAIN+AMINO+ACIDS>

Research Sources:

Crowe, Melissa J.; Weatherson, Jarrad N.; and Bowden, Bruce F. “Effects of Dietary Leucine Supplementation on Exercise Performance”; European Journal of Applied Physiology; August 2006. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16265600>

Gonzalez, Adam M.; Walsh, Allyson L.; et al. “Effect of a Pre-Workout Energy Supplement on Acute Multi-Joint Resistance Exercise”; Journal of Sports Science & Medicine; June 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149870>

Norton, Layne E. and Layman, Donald K. “Branched-Chain Amino Acids in Exercise: Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise”; The Journal of Nutrition; February 2006. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16424142>

Pasiakos, Stefan M.; McClung, Holly L.; et al. “Leucine-Enriched Essential Amino Acid Supplementation During Moderate Steady State Exercise Enhances Postexercise Muscle Protein Synthesis”; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; September 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21775557>

Thomson, Jasmine S.; Ali, Ajmol; and Rowlands, David S. “Leucine-Protein Supplemented Recovery Feeding Enhances Subsequent Cycling Performance in Well-Trained Men”; Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism; April 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21609286>




Must-See Mass Gain Videos & Tips from Bodybuilding Pros

Maximize Your Muscle Gain Potential

Want to increase your muscle mass? If you are, you're not alone. This is a primary workout goal for most of us. However, adding muscle is oftentimes a struggle. At HGH.com, we understand how challenging gaining mass can be. We believe that three significant factors come into play:

  1. Fuel your workouts with the right foods.
  2. Commit yourself to a strong training program.
  3. Arm yourself with the right combination of mass gaining supplements.

For anyone looking for a little inspiration to pump up your mass gain potential, we've put together a few YouTube videos and a dedicated Mass Gain Pinterest board to get you on your way.

Build Muscle Mass Like Professional Bodybuilders

How can you gain the mass you want? In the video below, eight-time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, explains how to gain good weight. He shares the changes he makes to gain weight when he’s not preparing for a competition. From making sure he takes in the right amount of protein to increasing his carbohydrate intake, he gives us the low-down on how he modifies his food intake and exercise routine to put on some good pounds.

How to Gain More Strength and Size

Whether you’re a bodybuilder entering your next bulking cycle or an experienced lifter who wants to bulk up, it’s ideal to workout both parts of the muscle. When it comes to new muscle growth and gaining mass, intensity is key. Personal trainer and bodybuilder, Jada Castellari, takes you through his high-intensity upper body workout routine and shows how he does various strip sets.

The training routine in the video below is designed for the front shoulders, chest and triceps. For the first part of the set, you overload the strength part of the muscle by using higher weight and lower reps. Then, toward the end of the set, use less weight with constant tension, while doing faster repetitions to drain the muscle of energy and overload that part of the muscle as well. If you’ve learned to master intensity, then this mass gaining routine may be just the workout you’ve been looking for to take you to the next level.

Bodybuilder Competition Poses to Show Off Your Muscle Mass

When it’s time for your bodybuilding competition, you have to be sure you do the mandatory poses in a way that best represents all of the muscles you worked so hard to build up. IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, power lifting champion and HGH.com sponsor, Ben White, did just that as he completed the mandatory poses portion of the Mr. Europe Pro IFBB competition in the video below.

Mass Gain Pins for You on Pinterest

Check out the Pins on HGH.com's Mass Gain Pinterest board

Follow Bodybuilding's board Mass Gain on Pinterest.

 




ANA-GH is coming...

We couldn't fit all the ingredients into one single pill... we couldn't fit them in 7. It took a serving size of 8 pills for the ingredients of our newest bodybuilding pillANA-GH. (Anadral Growth Hormone).
 
One of 3 new products coming out this year, we're so excited for ANA-GH because we know it's going to be a game changer. Developed in the lab with a bunch of leading doctors and scientists like all of our products, ANA-GH has a lot of leading ingredients that will make it a leader in the bodybuilding supplement family. 
 
 
  • L-Isoleucine 750 mg *
  • L-Leucine 1,500 mg *
  • L-Valine 750 mg *
  • L-Arginine 400 mg *
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine 400 mg *
  • L-Alanine 200 mg *
  • L-Cysteine 20 mg
 
There's a lot of products currently on the market that are simply marketing gimmicks and pretty packaging with false claims. They suck you in with a pretty box and a "Free Trial" where your credit card never stops getting charged. We take our products seriously and that's why our customers keep coming back! But I digress. Our new ANA-GH will be a hit not only for it's pretty packaging, but it's ingredients are leading edge.
 
We took our existing bodybuilding and muscle growth supplements (Anadral), and revisited the ingredients with the latest advances in science. The Anadral formula was a few years old and science moves much faster. We wanted to make this a leader like our HGH, SomatropinneClen XDVTestosteroneMaximizer, etc... all of our other leading edge HGH Supplements and pills.
 
This new bodybuilding pill will stimulate muscle growth and protein synthesis. It will slow the degradation of muscle tissue. This will be the ONLY Amino Acid supplement that has this capacity. It will also help in the healing of muscle tissue and improve immune function, and increase the release of hormones.

ANA-GH is now available at HGH.com!







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