T Nation

Leucine Experiences

So for the last 6 weeks I’ve been taking 5g of it right before a meal 4x a day.

Non-Training: as stated (4x/day w/ meal)
Training: 2x/day w/ meal & 5g before & after workout with shake

I haven’t noticed a dam thing.

My lifts have gone up, but just as steadily as before. Haven’t noticed a thing. I bought 3lbs of it then and still have a ton left…so I’m just going to cut back to before/after workout.

anyone else have stories about this protocol?

How much protein do you consume? IMO if you’re eating like 1.5-2x BW in protein, it won’t give you much of a benefit.

The biggest thing I noticed from it was on Spring Break when I ate fast food/sit down 3 out of 4 meals.

I stayed much leaner and bigger if I added leucine to the meals than if I didn’t. I also think leucine is more beneficial for cuts than if you’re gaining weight, but that’s just sorta my own opinion.

i get plenty of protein. at 210lbs i get about 350-300g a day (1.6-1.4 g/lb)

but i’m “cutting” right now, so maybe keeping it peri wokout isn’t a bad idea.

thanks for the tips higgins, i’m going on vacation soon and will probably eat sub par foods…so i’ll cap some and bring it along!

Just wanna agree with the above thoguhts. I wouldn’t be bothering with leucine if i weren’t cutting simply because I already get a huge amount of protein and bcaas. Peri-workout if your best bet, simply banking on staving off any catabolism.

S

[quote]Higgins wrote:
The biggest thing I noticed from it was on Spring Break when I ate fast food/sit down 3 out of 4 meals.

I stayed much leaner and bigger if I added leucine to the meals than if I didn’t. I also think leucine is more beneficial for cuts than if you’re gaining weight, but that’s just sorta my own opinion.[/quote]

So, during Spring Break (one week, usually) you ate a bit more carbs and probably would have gained mostly water weight during that period, and yet you magically noticed that you stayed leaner?

Come on.

For what it’s worth, I started throwing in around 20grs periworkout for a couple of weeks now. Muscles are growing noticeably faster than before.

And yes, I was eating plenty of proteins and calories.

Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.

[quote]18 Load wrote:
Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.[/quote]

There’s certainly nothign wrong with just using BCAAs, in fact supplementing with BCAAs periworkout is a great way to up your results (especially if cutting I’ve found). The message I’ve taken away from most of my readings, and emails with Layne Norton, is that Leucine, in the presence of the other BCAAs will exhibit a more pronounced effect, than leucine alone, or just a simple BCAA supplement. I’m certainly no chemist here, but I like to use 15g BCAAs, and then throw in a little extra leu to ‘spike’ it.

S

[quote]18 Load wrote:
Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.[/quote]

Now take that train of thought and expand it to this. If a person is eating lots of quality whole proteins (poultry, beef, eggs, dairy and fish) throughout the day and frequently, how would added BCAA or Leucine be beneficial?

I haven’t used Leu in a while since I’m bulking. As said, if you’re getting ample protein per meal, I don’t see the need.

Now if I’m in a rush to go somewhere and only down a shake, then I’ll use it.

I use it but who knows?

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]Links

Long-term leucine supplementation does not increase muscle mass or strength in healthy elderly men.Verhoeven S, Vanschoonbeek K, Verdijk LB, Koopman R, Wodzig WK, Dendale P, van Loon LJ.

BACKGROUND: It has been reported that the blunted muscle protein synthetic response to food intake in the elderly can be normalized by increasing the leucine content of a meal.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess the effect of 3 mo of leucine supplementation on muscle mass and strength in healthy elderly men. DESIGN: Thirty healthy elderly men with a mean (+/-SD) age of 71 +/- 4 y and body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) of 26.1 +/- 0.5 were randomly assigned to either a placebo-supplemented (n = 15) or leucine-supplemented (n = 15) group. Leucine or placebo (2.5 g) was administered with each main meal during a 3-mo intervention period. Whole-body insulin sensitivity, muscle strength (one-repetition maximum), muscle mass (measured by computed tomography and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), myosin heavy chain isoform distribution, and plasma amino acid and lipid profiles were assessed before, during, and/or after the intervention period.

RESULTS: No changes in skeletal muscle mass or strength were observed over time in either the leucine- or placebo-supplemented group. No improvements in indexes of whole-body insulin sensitivity (oral glucose insulin sensitivity index and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance), blood glycated hemoglobin content, and/or the plasma lipid profile were observed. Conclusion: Long-term leucine supplementation (7.5 g/d) does not augment skeletal muscle mass or strength and does not improve glycemic control or the blood lipid profile in healthy elderly males.

This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00807508.

[quote]elusive wrote:
18 Load wrote:
Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.

Now take that train of thought and expand it to this. If a person is eating lots of quality whole proteins (poultry, beef, eggs, dairy and fish) throughout the day and frequently, how would added BCAA or Leucine be beneficial?[/quote]

because it takes a long time for those foods to be broken down and used, whereas BCAAs are already in there simplest form, ready to be used quickly.

[quote]spyoptic wrote:
elusive wrote:
18 Load wrote:
Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.

Now take that train of thought and expand it to this. If a person is eating lots of quality whole proteins (poultry, beef, eggs, dairy and fish) throughout the day and frequently, how would added BCAA or Leucine be beneficial?

because it takes a long time for those foods to be broken down and used, whereas BCAAs are already in there simplest form, ready to be used quickly.

[/quote]
I can definitly agree with that. However does it matter in the scoop of an entire day, week or training year? I think if you’re eating frequently (I do), you’re constantly digesting protein throughout the day… supplying your body with ample amounts of aminos.

[quote]elusive wrote:
18 Load wrote:
Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means experienced on this matter, but wouldn’t taking leucine by itself be virtually worthless if you’re getting enough from BCAA’s for example? That would make BCAA’s a more economical purchase then Leucine wouldn’t it? Again I might be missing something here and might not understand the effects of the supp by itself versus in a BCAA compound.

Now take that train of thought and expand it to this. If a person is eating lots of quality whole proteins (poultry, beef, eggs, dairy and fish) throughout the day and frequently, how would added BCAA or Leucine be beneficial?[/quote]

I definitely see your logic, but I think there are advantages to some sort of amino acid supplementation. I know that certain compounds of amino acids come together to perform certain functions, although I’m not sure which ones. I also know that 3 types of amino acids are wasted (stored as fat) by the body if the other 6 of the 9 we have to provide the body through our diet are not available.

My theory is that, along with the benefit of BCAA’s being more readily digestible by the body, that they probably (again, I don’t know this for sure) are at least involved in the muscle building process at some point, and probably make the process of peri? (sorry for being a newb on the jargon, but peri means before and during right?) and post workout nutrition much more efficient when supplemented with a complete (all 9 essential amino acids) protein within a relatively similar time period. In theory the BCAA’s would be the “fast-acters” and the rest of the protein would be more sustained, perhaps?

Throughout the rest of the day, however, I can’t see any reason to take excessive amounts of BCAA’s or leucine (except for maybe in the morning to supplement the morning meal).

Again, please chime in and let me know what you think (I’m priding myself on trying to be the “dumbest person in the room” :slight_smile: )

I definitly agree with your line of thinking. For the record, I have supplemented with mega doses of BCAA in the past. I’m also kind of thinking out loud hear and don’t mind this “back and forth”.

Lets say a person, take me for example, eats every 2 hours. In this meal I eat about 50 grams of complete protein from an animal source (poultry or beef ect…). As I go to work out, my body is still digesting and breaking down the peptide bonds of the protein in my last meal. Theres sufficient amounts of all the aminos present. Digestion of a meal takes some time and often we’re still digesting our last one when we go on to our next.

With this steady supply of protein in the G.I, I’m not sure if adding any more would help. Especially considering it would have to “cut the line” and get absorbed way ahead of all the other food thats working its way through my gut.

I guess what I’m trying to word out is… I’m not sure if supplementing your diet with BCAA’s or Leucine is worth it if you are eating quality proteins in high amounts, frequently. On a cut, I may have different views.

[quote]elusive wrote:
I definitly agree with your line of thinking. For the record, I have supplemented with mega doses of BCAA in the past. I’m also kind of thinking out loud hear and don’t mind this “back and forth”.

Lets say a person, take me for example, eats every 2 hours. In this meal I eat about 50 grams of complete protein from an animal source (poultry or beef ect…). As I go to work out, my body is still digesting and breaking down the peptide bonds of the protein in my last meal. Theres sufficient amounts of all the aminos present. Digestion of a meal takes some time and often we’re still digesting our last one when we go on to our next.

With this steady supply of protein in the G.I, I’m not sure if adding any more would help. Especially considering it would have to “cut the line” and get absorbed way ahead of all the other food thats working its way through my gut.

I guess what I’m trying to word out is… I’m not sure if supplementing your diet with BCAA’s or Leucine is worth it if you are eating quality proteins in high amounts, frequently. On a cut, I may have different views.[/quote]

I don’t have any back and forth for this one: I agree completely, nice post!

[quote]icecold wrote:
I use it but who knows?

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]Links

Long-term leucine supplementation does not increase muscle mass or strength in healthy elderly men.Verhoeven S, Vanschoonbeek K, Verdijk LB, Koopman R, Wodzig WK, Dendale P, van Loon LJ.

BACKGROUND: It has been reported that the blunted muscle protein synthetic response to food intake in the elderly can be normalized by increasing the leucine content of a meal.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess the effect of 3 mo of leucine supplementation on muscle mass and strength in healthy elderly men. DESIGN: Thirty healthy elderly men with a mean (+/-SD) age of 71 +/- 4 y and body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) of 26.1 +/- 0.5 were randomly assigned to either a placebo-supplemented (n = 15) or leucine-supplemented (n = 15) group. Leucine or placebo (2.5 g) was administered with each main meal during a 3-mo intervention period. Whole-body insulin sensitivity, muscle strength (one-repetition maximum), muscle mass (measured by computed tomography and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), myosin heavy chain isoform distribution, and plasma amino acid and lipid profiles were assessed before, during, and/or after the intervention period.

RESULTS: No changes in skeletal muscle mass or strength were observed over time in either the leucine- or placebo-supplemented group. No improvements in indexes of whole-body insulin sensitivity (oral glucose insulin sensitivity index and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance), blood glycated hemoglobin content, and/or the plasma lipid profile were observed. Conclusion: Long-term leucine supplementation (7.5 g/d) does not augment skeletal muscle mass or strength and does not improve glycemic control or the blood lipid profile in healthy elderly males.

This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00807508.

[/quote]

hmmm… mean age was 71 years old! also, the above mentions nothing about training program (if there was any training program included in the study). I feel like that info would be pretty important. Surely I wouldn’t base very much about my own nutrition on the results of a bunch of 71-year-olds who don’t work out.

that’s not to say that I can provide studies that are useful here, i’m just suggesting that this one may miss the point a little bit!

dan

[quote]
icecold wrote:
I use it but who knows?

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]Links

(Abstract deleted)
This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00807508.

LiarPantsOnFire wrote:
hmmm… mean age was 71 years old! also, the above mentions nothing about training program (if there was any training program included in the study). I feel like that info would be pretty important. Surely I wouldn’t base very much about my own nutrition on the results of a bunch of 71-year-olds who don’t work out.

that’s not to say that I can provide studies that are useful here, i’m just suggesting that this one may miss the point a little bit!

dan[/quote]

Agreed. Research articles are great, but you need context. This abstract doesn’t include enough information to generalize to a much broader age group (including both genders) and goals.

That’s not to say the research is invalid, if i worked with elderly populations I would be very interested in this, but for weight training…

I think the whole premise of the leucine is to make the food we are eating more anabolic. I know that we intend to eat as clean and protein rich as we can, but that does not always happen. Leucine is cheap and and most of the latest research is very positive. As for these journals/experiments, they are usually looking for something very specific. They have blinders on. The best way to test a theory is on yourself. Do the research, but use you as the test subject. Keep a journal if you are really serious about the results.