Broccoli contains almost as much calcium as whole milk.
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Leucine

What is leucine?

Leucine is an essential amino acid, which means that it is a building block of protein that the body cannot produce on its own and must obtain from the diet. Leucine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), along with isoleucine and valine, and it plays a key role in protein synthesis, muscle repair, and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Leucine is found in a variety of protein-rich foods, including meat, dairy products, eggs, beans, and nuts. It is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, powders, and other products. Some research suggests that leucine may have a variety of health benefits, including the promotion of muscle growth, the prevention of muscle loss, and the improvement of glucose tolerance. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on health.

Why we need leucine

Leucine is an essential amino acid that plays a number of important roles in the body. It is a building block of protein and is involved in the synthesis of other amino acids, including nonessential amino acids that the body can produce on its own. Leucine is also involved in the regulation of blood sugar levels, and it has been shown to play a role in the synthesis of glucose in the liver.

Leucine is important for muscle health and function. It plays a key role in protein synthesis, which is the process by which the body builds new proteins to repair and maintain muscle tissue. Leucine has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and may help to prevent muscle loss, particularly in older adults and those who are physically inactive.

Where is leucine found?

Leucine is found in a variety of protein-rich foods. Some good sources of leucine include:

  • Meat, such as beef, chicken, pork, and fish
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peanuts
  • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds

Leucine is also found in small amounts in some plant-based protein sources, such as grains, vegetables, and fruits, although these foods are generally not as rich in leucine as animal-based protein sources.

Leucine is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, powders, and other products. However, it is generally recommended to consume leucine and other amino acids through the diet rather than through supplements, as the body absorbs and uses dietary amino acids more effectively. It is important to follow recommended dosages and to consult a healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements.

Daily requirements

The daily requirement for leucine depends on a person's age, sex, weight, and activity level. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for leucine is based on the amount of protein that a person needs to consume each day to meet their basic nutritional needs. The RDA for leucine is:

For adults: 55 mg per pound (120 mg per kg) of body weight per day

For children: 31 to 46 mg per pound (68 to 100 mg per kg) of body weight per day, depending on age

These values are based on the average requirement for leucine and are intended to meet the needs of most people. However, individual requirements may vary depending on a person's age, sex, weight, activity level, and other factors.

It is generally recommended to consume leucine and other amino acids through the diet rather than through supplements, as the body absorbs and uses dietary amino acids more effectively. Most people can meet their daily leucine needs by consuming a varied diet that includes a sufficient amount of protein from a variety of sources, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations on nutrient intake.

Leucine deficiency

Leucine deficiency is rare, as leucine is an essential amino acid that is found in a variety of protein-rich foods. Most people can meet their daily leucine needs by consuming a varied diet that includes a sufficient amount of protein from a variety of sources, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.

However, leucine deficiency may occur in certain situations, such as in people who have a malabsorption disorder or who are following a diet that is low in protein or amino acids. Leucine deficiency may also occur in people who are experiencing malnutrition or who have a medical condition that affects their ability to absorb or use amino acids.

Symptoms of leucine deficiency may include muscle weakness, fatigue, and weight loss, as well as other symptoms. Leucine deficiency is usually treated by increasing the intake of leucine and other amino acids through the diet or by using supplements. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Can you get too much leucine?

While leucine is an essential amino acid that is important for overall health, it is possible to consume too much of it. High levels of leucine in the diet may have negative effects on health, including the potential for liver damage, kidney damage, and other negative effects.

The safe upper limit for leucine intake is not well established, but some research suggests that consuming more than 500 mg of leucine per kilogram of body weight per day may be associated with negative effects on health. However, this value may vary depending on a person's age, sex, weight, and other factors.

Should I get leucine supplements?

Leucine is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, powders, and other products. Some people may consider taking leucine supplements to improve muscle mass, prevent muscle loss, or support other health goals.

Fun facts

Leucine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), along with isoleucine and valine. BCAAs are named for their structure, which has a "branch" of atoms sticking off of the main chain.

Leucine is a common ingredient in protein powders and sports supplements. It is often combined with other amino acids and nutrients to support muscle recovery and growth.

Food high in Leucine

This list shows food that are top sources of Leucine and the quantity of Leucine in 100g of food

Leucine
RDA
2.75 g
101%
1.63 g
60%
1.63 g
60%
1.57 g
58%
1.53 g
56%
1.53 g
56%
1.46 g
53%
1.45 g
53%
0.98 g
36%
0.84 g
31%

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Food
Fruit Vegetables Meat Dairy Eggs Bread Superfood Legumes Cereals Nuts and Seeds Seafood Other Spices and Herbs
Macronutrients Carbohydrate Fat Protein Water Fiber
Vitamins Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine (B6) Folate (B9) Cobalamine (B12) Ascorbic Acid (C) Vitamin A Vitamin K Vitamin E Vitamin D
Minerals Calcium (Ca) Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn) Iodine (I) Selenium (Se) Fluoride (F)
Amino acids Arginine Histidine Lysine Aspartic Acid Glutamic Acid Serine Threonine Asparagine Glutamine Cysteine Selenocysteine Glycine Proline Alanine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylalanine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine