Trace elements

Leucine : an essential amino acid with many benefits

Leucine is an essential amino acid in the body, so the body can not synthesize it on its own. Leucine tends to deteriorate during aging and is involved in the decrease of muscle mass in the elderly. It is also used as a food additive for its sweet taste.

Characteristics of leucine:

  • Part of BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) with valine and isoleucine
  • Lets trigger muscle building
  • Essential amino acid that the body can not synthesize
  • Widely used by athletes to promote the development of muscle mass
  • It is found mainly in foods of animal origin

Why consume foods rich in leucine?

Leucine: definition, roles and benefits

Leucine and bodybuilding

Leucine helps to rebuild muscle mass, so it can be interesting for high level athletes with a strong need for muscle recovery after exercise. It can be consumed in the form of leucine powder capsules.

Regeneration of tissues

Leucine allows bones, skin and muscles to recover properly after an injury or intense effort.

Regulates blood glucose

When leucine is ingested, the pancreas secretes insulin, so it will tend to lower the level of sugar in the blood.

20 foods rich in natural leucine

Since leucine is an amino acid, it is found mainly in foods rich in protein such as meat, spirulina or dairy products.

Food Portion Amount of leucine (mg)
Chicken with skin100g5000
Spirulina100g4947
Parmesan100g4013
Skimmed milk powder100g3542
Steak100g3229
Gruyère100g3102
Bacon100g3008
Emmental100g2959
Escalope of veal100g2939
Lupine100g2743
Turkey100g2726
Goat cheese100g2631
Gouda100g2564
Liver of veal100g2507
Squash seed100g2419
Yellowfin Tuna100g1920
Broken Peas100g1760
Pistachio100g1542
Semi-skimmed milk100g341
Fresh cream100g211

How to use leucine properly?

The recommended intake of leucine for a healthy adult is variable according to their physical activity and therefore ranges from 1 to 20g per day.

Use of food supplements of leucine

As leucine is one of the main triggers of muscle building, it is mainly used by the sports population in the form of L-leucine. It is often found in combination with valine and isoleucine for complete and effective BCAA supplements (amino acids). In sports, it is recommended to choose food supplements containing at least 2g of leucine per serving.

Whatever the problem, it is best to consult a doctor before taking dietary supplements.

Adverse effects of leucine

Consequences of a deficiency

There are no scientific studies on leucine deficiency to date.

Overdose in leucine, a health hazard

On the other hand, when one consumes leucine in excess, one can have a deficiency in isoleucine and valine, it is thus recommended to associate these amino amines in the event of supplementation and to avoid the side effects.

Interactions with other BCAA’s

Leucine works more effectively when combined with other BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), valine and isoleucine. In general, a diet rich in vitamins, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chlorine) and minerals allows better assimilation of this essential amino acid.

Chemical Properties

The leucine formula is C6H13NO2 and has a molecular weight of 131.1729 g / mol. It is one of the 9 essential amino acids for the body that can not synthesize it. L-Leucine has a sweet flavor that also allows its use as a flavor enhancer in the food industry. It is the food additive E641.

Nutrient History

According to recent studies, leucine could help regulate nitrogen balance in the rat. This discovery is rather promising since it is precisely the disruption of this nitrogen balance in humans that induces aging and associated loss of muscle mass. These results have yet to be confirmed before a larger scale use of leucine in the elderly.