T Nation

Leucine Experiences

[quote]neverwuz wrote:
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.[/quote]

Sounds right to me. I never got the impression that leucine is intended to make build muscle directly, but that leucine is intended to make up for eating lower-quality meals. So unless one was already eating poorly in the first place, there’s no reason to expect it to lead to significant gains.

[quote]elusive wrote:
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]
An interesting point!

But there are two things we should remember:

  1. the body’s demand for protein and carbs increases exponentially during/after a workout and there’s lots of evidence to suggest that a protein/carb drink is very beneficial under those circumstances.

  2. Leucine might possess a nutrient-partitioning effect in that it preferentially shuttles nutrients into muscle tissue rather than fat tissue.

And finally, I think there’s an instant gratification factor involved. For me, a great example was Myoblast. I personally saw a gradual but pronounced effect from taking Myoblast, but most people said “it didn’t do anything”, because when they read the article about it and started taking it, they expected to turn into Arnold in the next 2-3 months. When nothing like that happened (and they didn’t “feel” the supplement working), the common “diagnosis” was that the supplement was useless - it didn’t produce an effect quickly enough. Had you been taking it continuously for a year, however… But who has the patience for that, right? The l-leucine is a very similar story. If you take it with food, you won’t gain 5 lbs a month. But it might help you gain 5 lbs of extra muscle mass a year. Big deal, right? You wouldn’t even notice gaining those 5 pounds, not in 12 months. But that might mean 20-25 pounds of extra muscle in 5 years and that’s certainly something to write home about.

I’ve been using supplemental leucine for a couple of years now, in slightly different ways;

  1. An extra 5g per shake (I typically have 3-4 shakes per day, and 5-6 on a training day)

  2. An extra 10g in my PRE and POST training shakes, totalling 20g.

  3. 10g in my breakfast shake (before my solid breakfast), plus an extra 10g PRE and POST training.

(a “shake” is usually 60g whey with either fast/slow carbs depending, usually totalling 100g carbs)

Overall, I would say without a doubt that the most effective use of leucine is option 3.

When using option 1, and subsequently stopping (to note any difference) it seemed that it was providing very little benefit. I guessed this would be the case, as 60g whey has around 6g leucine in it anyway.

In theory (and practise) option 3 should and does provide better results, as these are key times at which you would want to boost insulin - and are incidentally the times when exo insulin users usually shoot theirs.

Anyway, the stuff is dirt cheap, and certainly helps at least a little - so why stop?