There’s a whole lot of hubbub about “Branched Chain Amino Acids,” but I’m sure everyone could use a refresher on what they really are. This article series will attempt to do just that!
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which basically means they’re the building blocks of us. Our cells run on different types of proteins, so amino acids are a necessary part of our diet. In fact, some amino acids are referred to as “essential amino acids” for just that reason. Your body can’t produce them naturally, so you have to supply them via your diet. L-leucine, the focus of today’s blog, is one of these essential amino acids, along with Valine and Isoleucine.
Leucine has several roles at a cellular level. While it can help manage metabolism and tissue regeneration, its most important role is arguably its involvement in protein synthesis. Leucine is a powerful trigger of protein synthesis at the cellular level, via its interactions with a complex known as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Activation of mTOR is directly linked to increased protein synthesis in cells, and leucine is a critical component of this process. In fact, studies have shown that ingesting BCAAs during or following your workout can significantly increase protein synthesis. These benefits are especially important for older individuals, whose bodies struggle to produce and maintain muscle mass.
Another potential benefit of leucine and BCAAs is related to how we understand muscle soreness. It is thought that muscle soreness might be caused by micro-tears in muscle tissue caused by exercise. BCAAs, and specifically leucine, have been shown to help manage tissue damage in some studies. Further, leucine seems to engage with your body’s ability to manage sugar intake. Leucine interacts with pancreatic 𝛃 cells, which produce insulin. This combination of leucine-rich foods taken in at the same time as glucose seems to help manage blood glucose levels.
Despite all of these benefits, leucine can’t work on its own. Many of these processes require a healthy balance of all amino acids, so that your body has the proper fuel for each step of the way. Luckily, our Revival BCAA+ supplement contains all three of the essential amino acids, so you know you’re good to go!