PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN!! We know already!!! Stop telling me I need protein to get strong and build muscle. Even people who aren’t interested in the iron know this. So, needless to say, this article is not about protein. Nor does it need to be. It needs to be about how I can use that protein, get every drop of goodness out of it, how can I really make that protein work for me. And that’s exactly what it’s about. I want the biggest return on investment possible when I do something, like most people. SO, if I’m eating the 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight like the experts say is what I need, this raises the question, ‘is the protein being used to the fullest‘, and ‘can I increase the effects of the protein I ingest‘. Obviously the answer is yes, if It wasn’t, I would not be writing this article. The answer comes in a very little talked about amino acid called Leucine. There is a lot of ground to cover and I could write forever on it so I am going to break it down into a couple major benefits for the lifter.
Here they are:
The FIRST benefit of this amino is that it is responsible for the preservation of skeletal muscle tissue, especially under stress. It does this through sparing muscle glycogen, an energy pathway to skeletal muscle contraction. Preserving the glycogen will save the tissue by giving more energy over a period of time delaying breakdown. This preservation means more endurance for the lifter, longer periods of peak muscular contraction. The European Journal of Applied Physiology did a test and supplemented rowers with Leucine over 6 weeks and found the rowing time of the individuals increased over one minute compared to no increase in the placebo group.
The SECOND, Leucine is responsible for nearly all protein synthesis in the body. Leucine present in the blood stream signals your cells to begin breaking down proteins into usable amino acids, more usable amino acids from a signal that is concentrated in the skeletal muscle means more aminos will be transported to the skeletal tissues, even bone. Yes, Leucine is also responsible for the healing of bone tissue.
Martha Stipanuk PhD from Cornell University says, “…it seems clear that most effects of the amino acids on protein synthesis are mediated by Leucine.”
Also, there is also strong evidence that Leucine may increase Growth Hormone production in humans.
The THIRD, Leucine has been shown to improve breathing ability. Improved breathing will increase endurance immediately, as well as recovery from intense exercise and overall health.
Now, Leucine will not give you all of its benefits if taken by itself. Studies have concluded that it must be taken with L-Valine and L-Isoleucine or the benefits of Leucine will be limited.
Where do you get Leucine? Well, natural means are always best, they are more available, they are always balanced; in this case, balanced so you don’t have to worry about the ratio of Leucine, L-Valine and L-Isoleucine. In other words, getting it from natural sources will ensure quality and effectiveness. Leucine is found in brown rice, eggs, milk, beef, chicken, LEAFY VEGETABLES. I emphasize that because we all need more of those. See, eating more vegetables can make you stronger.