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What is L-Leucine?

L-Leucine is an essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) that is broken down in fat structures. There are two other essential BCAA's are L-Valine and L-Isoleucine. Essential Amino Acids are those that need to be obtained externally from our diet, as our bodies cannot create or convert other amino's to form them.

L-Leucine cannot be manufactured by our body and is therefore essential that it is obtained through food or through supplements. L-Leucine can be found in whole wheat bread products, nuts, and brown rice.

What Are The Benefits of L-Leucine?
L-Leucine is the forth most concentrated amino acid in skeletal muscle tissue - it comprises about eight percent of the total amino acid count in your body's protein structures. As one of the three BCAA's, L-Leucine is essential to your basic health. It has both athletic and medical applications.

In terms of sporting applications L-Leucine has many beneficial effects on performance. Firstly this Branch Chain Amino Acid helps preserve lean muscle tissue. Secondly, it supplies the body with energy when under stress, and this includes the stress when engaging in any form of athletic activity.

L-Leucine also preserves muscle glycogen (glucose is the fuel source stored in muscle tissue that is used to power muscular contraction). L-Leucine maintains nitrogen balance, and it has also been shown to enhance thinking abilities that can decline as physical activity becomes more intense L-Leucine also works to heal bone, skin and muscle tissue.

More About L-Leucine:
Additionally, L-Leucine may increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) - somatropin secretion. HGH is a hormone that may lead to healthier joints, a slowing and/or possible reversal of the ageing process, dramatic decreases in body fat, and increases in strength and muscle mass. Increased HGH production has been an aim of many sports supplements and training regimes for the dramatic impact a high level of this hormone has on the body.

The effects of L-Leucine in the diet are profound. As the strongest of the BCAA's, L-Leucine is what's known as a "limiting nutrient" - meaning that you must have enough L-Leucine in proportion to other amino acids in order for your body to make use of what you eat.

This essentially means that if you were to suffer from an L-Leucine deficiency, your body will not be able to make use of the protein that you give it - no matter how much protein you consume. And, unless you have enough L-Leucine, the money you spend on quality food and dietary supplements will be wasted, period!

L-Leucine has been shown to have a number of positive uses in the medical community. L-Leucine is used in the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Lou Gehrig's disease. This disease is a serious neuromuscular disorder that affects more than thirty thousand people across America, with more than 5,000 newly diagnosed cases every year.

In the United States, ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease because of New York Yankees' star Lou Gehrig, who was diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s.

Lou Gehrig's disease refers to a disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (say: ah-my-uh-tro-fik lah-tuh-rul skluh-ro-sis), or ALS. The official name comes from these Greek words:

"a" for without
"myo" for muscle
"trophic" for nourishment
"lateral" for side (of the spinal cord)
"sclerosis" for hardening or scarring

L-Leucine has shown promise as an adjunct to conventional ALS therapies because it can improve muscular strength in ALS patients by acting with the other BCAA's to activate glutamate dehydrogenase.

People with liver and kidney problems can also benefit form L-Leucine supplementation because it can enhance liver protein synthesis and improve breathing ability and quality of sleep for those with kidney disorders.

Finally, L-Leucine may lower blood sugar levels and normalize and control insulin release and insulin function. Because of this, diabetics may find L-Leucine a helpful addition to their disease management program.

Along with all of these numerous benefits high doses has been shown recently to actually signal the muscle cell to start absorbing protein into the cell. Making L-Leucine an all round powerful anti-catabolic and muscle enhancing, and exciting supplement for most athletes.

On the flip side a lack of L-Leucine causing a deficiency can result in muscle wasting, depression, low energy levels, muscle weakness, and blood sugar irregularities like hypoglycemia.

Usage Indications For L-Leucine:
To make the most of what you eat, you need two parts L-Leucine and two parts L-Valine for every one part of L-Isoleucine. You'll fail to get optimal results if you fall short of meeting this exact ratio. This is why you will see most Branch Chain Amino Acid products containing this particular ratio of the three BCAA's combined.

Side effects:
No side effects have been reported, and this BCAA is generally considered to be safe for healthy persons.

There does not appear to be any contraindictaion with use of L-Leucine.

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