Finding ways to maximize your gains after working out or while training for a big event can be tough. There are so many products on the market -- each promising to deliver the results you want -- that finding the one that's just right for you may seem like an impossible task. Between the ever-popular whey protein and supplements like creatine and fish oil, the options are endless. In recent years, however, one particular product has begun to attract a following: amino acid supplements, especially those containing the compound leucine. How much leucine should you be taking, though, and what does it do for you anyway? To find out, keep reading as the amino acid recovery drink experts at aminoVITAL® explain.
The Benefits of Leucine for Exercise
Those who put in the effort to improve their bodies are always looking for ways to maximize the returns they get from exercise. Most people achieve this by adding one or more fitness supplements to their diet, the most common of which is the protein shake. While there is no doubt that whole proteins carry a number of benefits for those trying to increase their muscle mass, supplements based on free-form amino acids -- the building blocks of protein -- offer those same advantages, and then some.
Of the 20 amino acids you body uses, there are nine that your system can't produce on its own; these "essential" amino acids must be obtained through foods or supplements. Among these nine compounds, there are three specific amino acids with a distinct purpose and shape: the "branched-chain amino acids," or BCAAs. Known as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, these amino acids are renowned for their ability to improve athletic performance, though one in particular -- leucine -- has been shown through clinical studies to increase gains after a workout.
The main benefit of leucine is that it triggers muscle synthesis; in other words, it tells your body to make your muscles bigger. Leucine does this by activating a protein called mTOR, which begins the process of creating muscle tissue. Valine and isoleucine, the other BCAAs, also interact with mTOR, but are much less effective at it than leucine.
An important secondary benefit of leucine ingestion is the creation of HMB, a metabolite of leucine (meaning that it's created when your body processes the leucine you consume). HMB -- which stands for beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate -- is effective at preserving muscle tissue by preventing it from being broken down, even during periods when those muscles are not in use. This effect, in combination with leucine's boost to muscle growth, makes a leucine supplement an effective tool for building and keeping greater muscle mass.
How Much Leucine Should You Take?
The proper dosage of leucine for a given person can vary based on a number of factors, chief among them being that person's level of physical activity; other considerations include the amount of protein in their diet and whether they already take some kind of protein supplement.
One thought to keep in mind is that most sources of complete protein -- meaning those that contain all the essential amino acids -- will provide you with some amount of leucine; this includes all animal-based protein sources, as well as soy proteins. If you maintain a sedentary lifestyle and consume plenty of protein in your diet, you may not need to supplement your leucine intake. On the other hand, athletes and those who regularly engage in strenuous physical activity will require greater amounts.
While there is no one authoritative source that lays out the proper amount of leucine to take, most sources offer similar recommendations. The baseline dosage for inactive people is about 40-45 mg/kg/day, which roughly translates to 3-4 grams of leucine per day.1 Those who regularly exercise will require more than this, though an exact amount has yet to be clearly identified.
Leucine and Amino Acid Supplements
As advantageous as leucine alone can be, the combination of this amino acid with the other two BCAAs can provide an array of helpful effects beyond just muscle synthesis. Isoleucine, for example, improves endurance by keeping you energized during prolonged activity and speeding up the recovery process afterward. Valine supports its brethren by keeping the muscles supplied with glucose, preventing muscle tissue from being broken down for fuel during exercise, and regulating functions in places like the brain and immune system.
Unlike supplements that provide whole proteins, which need to be digested before the body can use their amino acids, a supplement that provides free-form amino acids means near-instant fuel for your body right when you need it. This makes BCAA supplements ideal for providing fast pre-workout energy or jump-starting the body's recovery process once you've finished exercising. Switch to an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® and see for yourself how these incredible compounds can improve your performance.
Get Plenty of Leucine and Other BCAAs with a Supplement from aminoVITAL®
If you or someone you know is looking for a fast, effective product that can fuel your workouts without adding excessive sugar or calories to your diet, an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® may be just the thing. Each of our products is made with pharmaceutical-grade amino acids created through a patented vegetable fermentation process, ensuring purity and effectiveness for all of our customers. To maximize your gains and boost your progress at the gym, on the track, or at any place where you might compete with others or yourself, try an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® today. Learn more by visiting us online or calling (888) 264-6673.