L-Leucine Benefits: Essential Tips for Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids, are often referred to as “the building blocks of life” and the fact is, we do need them in order to thrive. It’s also apparent through our culture’s obsession with getting enough protein that amino acid intake is of the utmost concern. L-Leucine is especially important, and benefits the body in many ways.
The Essentials of Amino Acids:
There are nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet that the body cannot synthesize own its own like it does the non-essential amino acids. However, through diet and supplements, it’s very easy to get enough amino acids in your diet, including all of the nine essential ones most people are concerned with.
Does Diet Matter When it Comes to Amino Acid Intake?
You might have seen many whey-based powders on the market promoting a high amount of amino acids. Though whey is a complete protein source, that doesn’t mean it is the best protein for our bodies. Whey is a byproduct of making cheese, and at heart, it is very acidic and overly processed making it harder on the body—especially on a person’s digestive tract.
BCAAs … the Most Popular Type of Amino Acids and What They Do:
A plant-based diet is full of amino acids that the body can use to pool together collectively and effectively in order to meet energy and exercise needs.
Three of the essential amino acids are of particular interest in individuals in the field of health and nutrition, and for those interested in building muscle (aka bodybuilding) or performance-enhancement via exercise. These are known as BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids. The three BCAAs include:
Now, don’t let those names confuse you if you’ve never heard of them before. Just know this: Each of them work together to help build lean muscle, preserve metabolism, enhance energy and improve stamina—simple as that.They do so by improving use of protein and glucose to fuel workouts and metabolism. They also decrease muscle loss, muscle fatigue and muscle breakdown altogether while also improving your overall energy.
L-Leucine … the Magical BCAA Most People Overlook
One of the three BCCAs of particular interest to many people—especially those on a plant-based diet— is L-leucine which is harder to obtain without eating certain foods.
Here are 5 L-Leucine Benefits you need to know:
- It helps with the building and formation of lean muscle mass. This is what you want for those hard yoga poses, long workouts, lifting sessions, strong and lean legs, and combatting a slow metabolism!
- L-leucine also helps with the breakdown of fat in the body, meaning it utilizes fat stores to burn fat and uses it for metabolic enhancement.
- It is a building block for other amino acids that help with the overall healing process of the muscles.
- It is commonly found in many vegan foods including: oat bran, seaweed, soy, lima beans, and fava beans.
- L-leucine is also found in golden peas, one of the best sources and one of the best tasting!
What About the other BCAAs?
The other two BCAAs, L-valine and L-isoleucine, also help to use the body’s natural stores to build muscle, burn fat and propel metabolic activity. Many research studies show they also help curb cravings, enhance hormone function, boost brain health, preserve glucose for longer-lasting fuel, and help the body effectively pool the amino acid stores it already has in order to build the most lean muscle possible in a shorter time-frame.
How to get BCAAs into Your Diet for Enhanced Workout Benefits:
Many people take BCAA supplements before a workout. If you go this route, look for one that isn’t in a gelatin capsule (which comes from animal hide or pork) and instead, opt for a plant-based supplement, BCAA powder—or better yet—use a plant-based protein powder before and after a workout, such as Nuzest Clean and Lean Protein.
Clean and Lean has a higher amino acid than meat, fish or chicken. In fact, it has 5 times the amount of protein by weight, and it’s 90 percent protein overall. It’s also alkaline, unlike whey protein or other animal proteins. Best of all, Clean and Lean is a complete protein. It is made from non-GMO yellow pea protein, one of the best-tasting proteins and one of the easiest for the human body to digest.
So, now that you know all about BCAAs and L-leucine, all you have to do is add some to your diet! Make a smoothie with some greens, Clean and Lean protein, a little oat bran for extra fiber and amino acids, some ice, berries, and a little non-dairy milk. You’ll be full all morning or afternoon and feel great at the same time!
Heather McClees – Plant-Based Nutritionist and professional health journalist.