Leucine is an essential branched chain amino acid. There are two other branched chain amino acids that work in conjunction with Leucine. They are Valine and Isoleucine. Amino acids are the building blocks of the muscle tissue in the body. They are also responsible for providing and burning energy sources. Leucine is the most important of the three branched chain amino acids due to the fact if the body is deficient in this essential branched chain amino acid, it is unable to metabolize other proteins or amino acids in the body. Leucine is responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue, regulating blood glucose levels and helping the body to burn the layers of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the deep seated fat that is found deposited around the organs and other structures in the abdomen. Leucine is helpful in repairing skin, bone and muscle after any type of injury or trauma to the body. Therefore, it is recommended that Leucine be supplemented or a diet high in Leucine be utilized after traumatic injury or surgery. This can speed the healing process.

Leucine is able to be converted to glucose more quickly than its counterparts, Valine and Isoleucine. This means that it the most efficient in the prevention of damage or breaking down our muscle mass for energy purposes. Considering this, Leucine is extremely important to people who are working out intensely or participating in body building. With its ability to increase the glucose levels in the blood, it prevents the body from turning muscle mass into energy while a person is exercising or weight lifting. Since Leucine is able to raise the glucose levels in the blood it also is very helpful in reducing the chances of hypoglycemic episodes.

Leucine cannot be synthesized by the body. What this means is that our body cannot make it out of other raw elements in the body. We must obtain Leucine from dietary sources. Leucine is found in high quantities in soy, nuts, all meats, whole wheat, brown rice, and beans. People who are working out regularly, eating a vegetarian diet or a diet low in protein should consider taking a Leucine supplement as they are more likely to be deficient in this essential amino acid than their counterparts are. The symptoms of Leucine deficiency include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, irritability and confusion. Leucine can be purchased as an herbal supplement on its own however to get the maximum benefit this supplement should be taken in conjunction with Valine and Isoleucine.

People who take Leucine should be aware that it is possible to have toxic levels of Leucine in the blood stream. There has been a link in the past to people who have high levels of Leucine in their blood to having a condition called pellagra. People who develop this disease have a deficiency of niacin in their blood. The symptoms of this disorder include diarrhea, skin rashes and some mental imbalances and disorders.

Eating a diet with high levels of Leucine which can be considered excessive can cause problems with both liver and kidney functions. It can also disrupt and raise the ammonia levels in the blood stream. Due to this, anyone who has impaired renal (kidney) or liver functions or disease should not take Leucine unless specifically prescribed by a physician. Anyone who has liver or kidney disease cannot tolerate high levels of proteins in their diet.

As with any other herbal or nutritional supplement, if you have any type of chronic medical condition, please consult with your physician before taking this or any other supplement or changing your diet to incorporate high levels of things such as amino acids.

Last updated on Dec 16th, 2009 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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