T Nation

L-leucine Supplementation

Have just ordered 1kg of l-leucine. Has anyone had experiences of mega dosing this amino acid? What doses throughout the day did you take?

You ordered something that you don’t even know how to take? Usually most people do this stuff in the other order.

What’s the point of taking L-leucine by itself? It’s only 1/3 of the picture. Are you using the other two at all?

On it’s own it’ll taste like crap & that’s about it.

Get BCAAs.

Leucine is great but very expensive. I’d use a dose close to that of BCAA’s.

From the Cool Tip today: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1365045

[quote]big balls wrote:
Have just ordered 1kg of l-leucine. Has anyone had experiences of mega dosing this amino acid? What doses throughout the day did you take?[/quote]

I’ve been taking a 1.5g dosage (1/2 teaspoon) added to each of my protein shakes (especially pre and PWO). That’s 7.5 to 9g total a day.

I’ve added no other supplements in the past month and I’m up two pounds already.
Might be imagining it but I don’t feel get that flat muscle feeling anymore, not even first thing in the morning. They always feel good to go.

I don’t find it changes taste very much at all. Not anymore than say glutamine powder does.

[quote]eengrms76 wrote:
What’s the point of taking L-leucine by itself? It’s only 1/3 of the picture. Are you using the other two at all?[/quote]

Actually, l-leucine is the most anabolic of all amino acids - and it’s the one most BCAA formulations skimp on. There’ no “magic formula” for BCAAs. In fact, taking l-leucine alone might be the best way to go.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
eengrms76 wrote:
What’s the point of taking L-leucine by itself? It’s only 1/3 of the picture. Are you using the other two at all?

Actually, l-leucine is the most anabolic of all amino acids - and it’s the one most BCAA formulations skimp on. There’ no “magic formula” for BCAAs. In fact, taking l-leucine alone might be the best way to go.
[/quote]

I agree. There is much recent research on L-Luecine and protein synthesis alone. While BCAA’s have their place, L-Luecine as a stand alone (especially pre and PWO) is a good (and relatively inexpensive) addition.

A good whey protein isolate (or hydrosolate) has upwards of 4-6 grams of BCAA’s per serving already. What is not increased is L-Luecine content.

BCAA’s popped mid-sleep one of the better ways to use BCAA’s. But then again, when I wake at 3am to pee I already take 5 mins to mix up 24grams of whey hydrosolate (AST’s VP2) with 1.5g added l-luecine in 250mL of lactose free 1% milk (and I swallow a fish oil cap). That’s why I don’t bother with BCAA’s right now.

There is current research from what I’m told by Paul Cribb in a recent email about finding saturation points per bodyweight when it comes to BCAA’s. The early evidence he says points to additional BCAA’s taken pre, during and post workout (even when whey isolate or hydrosolate is taken and provides lots of BCAA’s naturally)being worthwile.
How much worthwhile than L-luecine on it’s own?

Evidence comparing the two just doesn’t exist that I can find.

If DB or JB can point it out to me, cool. Otherwise I like the effects of taking 1.5g of free l-luecine powder every time I take protein (including my 3am serving) thus far.

Oh, and as far as costs of free l-leucine powder, I don’t think it’s too much. Not anymore than the cost of free l-glutamine is (debate all you want on the benefits or lack of all you want on l-glutamine).

Very few companies make free form l-leucine however. And as with all supplements, who knows for sure if the quality is on. At least if you go with Biotest’s BCAA’s you can have upmost faith in label claims.

The one I’ve tried (and enjoy so far) is made by Source Naturals.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
eengrms76 wrote:
What’s the point of taking L-leucine by itself? It’s only 1/3 of the picture. Are you using the other two at all?

Actually, l-leucine is the most anabolic of all amino acids - and it’s the one most BCAA formulations skimp on. There’ no “magic formula” for BCAAs. In fact, taking l-leucine alone might be the best way to go.[/quote]

Good point, but still not a good reason to ignore the other two main ones right?

[quote]eengrms76 wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
eengrms76 wrote:
What’s the point of taking L-leucine by itself? It’s only 1/3 of the picture. Are you using the other two at all?

Actually, l-leucine is the most anabolic of all amino acids - and it’s the one most BCAA formulations skimp on. There’ no “magic formula” for BCAAs. In fact, taking l-leucine alone might be the best way to go.

Good point, but still not a good reason to ignore the other two main ones right?[/quote]

Ignore is a bad word. You’ll get enough of the others in your food.

Lots of hormones lead to muscle hypertrophy. If a guy is only taking Test, would you say he’s wrongfully “ignoring” the other hormones? Of course not. He’s increasing the availability of the most effective hormone.

Nice posts AT. I’d like to learn more about the saturation points you mentioned.

"If you administer leucine alone, protein synthesis rises for only 30 minutes, but if you provide other essential amino acids then protein synthesis remains elevated for at least 2 hours. Thus, they play a supporting role. Also leucine administered alone can lower the concentration of other amino acids, particular other BCAAs.

This is because leucine stimulates the enzyme which degrades all BCAAs. If given in the absence of other BCAAs, they will lower in concentration, and protein synthesis will lower with their decrease."

From Leucine’s Effects on Muscle Growth and Body Composition - Questions/Answers and Practical Applications by Jacob Wilson, BSc. (Hons), MSc. CSCS, PhD Candidate

See this link for more on leucine. http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/leucineindex.php

Jacob has been doing a lot of research on leucine IIRC and if you search the forums on ABC, you’ll find more discussion on the topic.

[quote]big balls wrote:
Have just ordered 1kg of l-leucine. Has anyone had experiences of mega dosing this amino acid? What doses throughout the day did you take?[/quote]

Attached is the Leucine section of the soon-to-be-released textbook, Essentials of Sports Nutrition. I authored a chapter that reviewed about 60 different supplements related to sports nutrition. The info is about a year old (unfortunately, doesn’t contain some of the exciting, new data that has since surfaced, specific to Leucine), but is still quite applicable to help answer your question. I apologize for the formatting; I simply copy and pasted. - chris

COMMON NAME: Leucine
OTHER NAMES: L-Leucine; Leu; 2-Amino-4-methylpentanoic acid (L); 2-Amino-4-methylvaleric acid (L); L-Norvaline, 4-methyl-; L-alpha-Aminoisocaproic acid; Pentanoic acid, 2-amino-4-methyl-, (S)-; Valeric acid, 2-amino-4-methyl-, (S)-
COMMON USES: Increase Protein Synthesis
Insulin Mimetic / Glucose Disposal
Increase Muscle Hypertrophy
Anti-Catabolic
Improve Exercise Recovery
Increase Endurance Performance
REVIEW: The essential and branched chain amino acid, Leucine, is amassing evidence that it may very well be the most anabolic and essential of all the amino acids. Infusion studies were among the first to identify Leucine?s potentially superior ability to increase protein synthesis and inhibit muscle catabolism in humans. For example, Nair et al infused 154mmol/kg b.w. of either L-Leucine or saline into healthy males for a period of one hour; plasma Leucine and KIC increased by almost 3.3- and 1.5-fold, respectively, with no changes in circulating insulin. Significant shifts in improving net protein balance and reduced protein degradation did occur, though. Orally-ingested Leucine has since been shown to promote similar results as would be expected due to Leucine, as with the other two BCAAs not being oxidized in the liver ? ingestion of Leucine directly effects plasma and tissue concentrations of the amino acid. To determine the lowest dose of Leucine capable of stimulating muscle protein synthesis in food-deprived rats, 0.068g/kg b.w.-1.35g/kg b.w. of L-Leucine was administered in an oral bolus 30 minutes prior to a battery of tests. The results were dose-dependent, with 0.135g/kg b.w. proving to be the lowest possible dose of Leucine capable of eliciting a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. Koopman et al recently demonstrated, in humans, that co-ingesting carbohydrates + protein + L-Leucine (CHO+PRO+Leu) stimulates protein synthesis and improves whole body protein balance more than CHO alone or CHO+PRO when ingested immediately following 45 minutes of resistance exercise. Plasma insulin response from the CHO+PRO+Leu was also shown to be 240% and 77% greater than for CHO and CHO+PRO, respectively. In fact, the synergistic action and signaling between Leucine and insulin is at the forefront of explaining Leucine?s powerful anabolic and metabolic roles in the human body. Escobar et al described the anabolic response from Leucine as being ?insulin-independent, substrate-dependent, and tissue-specific.? As is evident from the Escobar et al, Koopman et al and studies of the like, Leucine is capable of amplifying an insulin response, enhancing the anabolic effects of insulin, signaling the release of insulin, or simply mimicking its (insulin) actions altogether. , , , In what was, at the time, one of the most thorough investigations of Leucine?s metabolic effects, Xu et al more precisely identified the insulin-independent and rapamycin-sensitive signaling pathway by which Leucine availability stimulates phosphorylation of the mRNA binding translational regulator, p70s6k, and therefore effects protein synthesis and proliferation, and enhances pancreatic β-cell function. The researchers concluded that the aforementioned anabolic and metabolic effects most likely arise as a result of Leucine?s involvement as a key substrate in oxidative decarboxylation and glutamate dehydgrogenase (GDH) activation within the mitochondria. In fact, Leucine, when combined with glutamine, was found to be equally as effective as a complete amino acid formula at increasing p70s6k phosphorylation; Leucine by itself was almost as effective. This intramitochondrial mechanism was further elucidated upon in vitro when it was shown that one week, but not acute Leucine availability up-regulated glucose-induced ATP synthase and increased ATP in rat pancreatic β-cells; resulting in elevated Ca2+ and insulin release. Collectively supporting the purported use of Leucine to increase muscle protein content, improve insulin sensitivity and function, and support energy production and efficiency. However, to date, no direct performance-enhancing effects have been shown in studies involving supplementation with isocalorically-supplemented Leucine. It is worth noting, though, that, 1) very few ergogenic-enhancing studies on Leucine exist, and 2) those that have been performed were acute dosing protocols only. ,
DOSE: Protein Synthesis / Anabolic, Insulin Mimetic & General Use: >0.05g/kg/d b.w.; consume pre-, during- and/or immediately post-exercise, and/or in divided doses throughout the day

[quote]jford wrote:
“If you administer leucine alone, protein synthesis rises for only 30 minutes…”[/quote]

JFord, nothing against you.
I find fault it this theory. “If you administer leucine alone, protein synthesis rises for only 30 minutes, but if you provide other essential amino acids then protein synthesis remains elevated for at least 2 hours”

DUH! Who the hells takes L-Leucine on its own??? Hell, the people who make it suggest you mix it up WITH a protein shake (that have the other amino acids). AND say it was only 30 minutes…if it’s the right 30 minutes…say pre and PWO, that’s most important anyhow. Hello Nutrient Timing theories!

Like I said before - a good quality whey isolate (or better - hydrosolate) ALREADY has 4-6g of BCAA’s that are naturally occuring! Read the article posted today by Berardi and you’ll see Leucine is quickly used up and therefore increasing this nutrient is very important (I don’t care how you do it - BCAA’s, free form l-leucine, more whey powder, etc - it doesn’t matter, just get more of it!).

How many people here don’t already take 4 scoops of protein a day (wake up, pre, post, bedtime)??? That’s 100g a day, at least. And 20+% of it is BCAA. So you’re already SUPPLEMENTALLY getting 20-26g of BCAA from your protein powder. Don’t even talk to me about the BCAA content I’m getting from my 6 chicken breasts a day.

Now I’m not dissing BCAA’s. Not at all. The studies are out there. However they are usually conducted in absence of any other supplement (or they add carbs and that’s it).

I keep my protein way high and therefore choose to focus on L-Leucine on its own to ensure high protein synthesis of what I’m taking in.
And I’ve seen a 2lb gain in the last month from free form L-Leucine.
That’s some siginificant stuff when my goal is to gain 5lbs a year until I feel what I see nekkid is the shit! I started at 135 and 9 years later I’m up 50lbs. That puts me at 225 by my mid-thirties. I ain’t asking for much more than that. Slow and steady and injury free. That’s my goal.

But until we know just what the saturation point of BCAA’s are, do we need to beat a dead horse???

Not getting tons of protein - add BCAA’s! Not getting a nighttime serving of protein - pop BCAA’s when you wake to pee! Training extra hard - pop BCAA’s pre, during and post workout.

Dave, wish I knew more about the saturation point. I just get my info from what I read on great sites like this, AST, Mind & Muscle mag, tid bits from Men’s Health and so forth. But I was assured by AST’s PhD in an email that the info is coming. I’m sure T-Nation will cover it too when it happens.

For anyone else that’s got some shit to naysay, I say show me a study of where BCAA’s have been added to a diet that contains more than 100g of supplemental whey protein (not in place of, but ON TOP OF) and show siginicant value MORE THAN FREE FORM L-Leucine added to protein at key times (pre, PWO, bedtime).
C’mon…show it to me…

Whey protein + BCAA’s better vs. Whey protein + free form L-leucine

I doubt it!

Studies like that don’t exist…yet! And it’ll be hella exciting when they do.

AllTraps steps off his soapbox to get some sleep.

I have nothing to add to the theory end of this debate, but I supplemented with L-leucine as an experiment, on it’s own (by which I mean with food & shakes but not as part of BCAA supplementation) for a month. I supplemented with alot of it (about 30g/day).

Absolutely nothing happened. Maybe there was some slight difference, but I couldn’t detect it, which for me means it’s not worth spending the money and time supplementing with it. BCAAs on the other hand made a noticeable difference.

Edit: actually my joints started to get sore after about a week, so it did have some effect. I still use it a little bit in shakes etc. because I bought 1kg of the stuff initially, but I wouldn’t recommend it on it’s own. Anything you buy like this is an extra thing to buy, think about & put in your shaker so if there’s no tangable benefit I don;t see the point.

[quote]AllTraps wrote:
jford wrote:
“If you administer leucine alone, protein synthesis rises for only 30 minutes…”

JFord, nothing against you.
I find fault it this theory. “If you administer leucine alone, protein synthesis rises for only 30 minutes, but if you provide other essential amino acids then protein synthesis remains elevated for at least 2 hours”

DUH! Who the hells takes L-Leucine on its own??? [/quote]

Not a problem bro. My post was more directed to the original poster and others who had thought about taking leucine on it’s own as well as throwing some more general leucine reading into the fray.