Do you need to support your process of recovery from a strained muscle? Leucine and a medley of amino acids from our IV therapy Toronto lounge could help.
Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) that’s crucial for forming muscles. But BCAAs must be sourced from your diet because your body cannot produce it independently. Once consumed though, their “breakdown” happens in your muscles rather than the liver; in turn, this could offer additional energy for physical performance.
An article from Nutrients highlights leucine’s importance as a BCAA: “Although protein synthesis can be stimulated by several isolated amino acids, leucine has a particularly potent effect. The initiation of mRNA translation is the major mechanism by which leucine stimulates protein synthesis.”
If you’ve recently skimmed sports nutrition labels, you may have noticed that leucine is emphasized as a key ingredient. This is because it’s known for contributing to cellular functioning, tissue repair, and improved metabolism. So, what exactly are the beneficial effects of this unique BCAA, especially for athletic training and prowess? Continue reading below.
4 Advantages to the Human Body, Physical Performance and Athletic Recovery
- Could help build additional muscle: Amino acids and leucine could be your new go-to workout tool for promoting muscle construction. “Leucine also stimulates protein synthesis in muscle and is closely associated with the release of gluconeogenic precursors, such as alanine, from muscle,” explains a piece from Sports Medicine.
- Could contribute to muscle recovery, especially after physical exertion: According to a New Zealand study on cyclists, the amino acid was shown to promote both endurance and muscle recovery following consecutive days of exercise.
- May promote an anti-aging effect on muscle health: Physically-active seniors may be discouraged to exercise due to bone and muscle deterioration (sarcopenia). But in a study featured in Clinical Nutrition, older adults were provided leucine with their meals. Consequently, it was verified that “…leucine supplementation may improve muscle protein synthesis in response to lower protein meals,” confirmed the study.
- Might assist blood sugar levels: In one study, it was shown that the amino acid and glucose together could trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar. “The data suggest that a rise in glucose concentration is necessary for leucine to stimulate significant insulin secretion. This in turn reduces the glucose response to ingested glucose,” an article reported in Metabolism.
How to Supplement with Leucine
When amalgamated with other amino acids, a healthy lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc., leucine could be beneficial for optimal health Refer to the table below:
How It Works
This amino acid can be found in various animal proteins and dairy, such as: lamb, turkey breast, fish, feta, Greek yogurt. It’s also in legumes, dried fruits, cashews, and avocado.
Capsules or protein powders are available in stores. Take note: supplementing with a single amino acid could lead to imbalanced nitrogen levels, so make sure leucine is mixed with other branched-chain amino acids (valine and isoleucine). Please speak to a functional medicine provider to determine if capsules or powders are suitable for you. You may be instructed to start at a low dose and slowly increase it.
IV therapy/IV vitamin infusions/IV vitamin therapy
|This route is suitable for patients with an aversion to pill-swallowing or who suffer from malabsorption. Known as vitamin drip treatments, it could naturally increase blood cell production, protein synthesis, tissue regeneration, metabolism, and overall cell health. The nutritional solution is intravenously inserted into a vein to avoid the digestive tract, and immediately enters the bloodstream with a peak absorption rate.
Intravenous therapy is a personalized service we offer at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre. At our clinic, IV leucine is offered when combined with other amino acids to provide a synergistic effect. Please talk to us if you’re interested in this or any other beneficial ingredients, such as: high-dose vitamin C, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), glutamic acid, Myers Cocktail, major minerals or major antioxidants, and essential vitamins such as vitamin E.
Finding Us for Functional Medicine Treatments at our IV Therapy Lounge
If you’re interested in becoming a new patient, our Toronto clinic is conveniently located in the Yorkville neighborhood (click here to see our map). Appointments may be conducted in-person or arranged virtually. (Note: all intravenous infusion therapy sessions must be conducted at our clinic.)
Our functional medicine providers do not solely help provide symptom relief; our goal is to assist with pinpointing the root cause of your health condition to enjoy a healthy life. Our functional medicine programs and vitamin drip therapy are suitable for various health concerns, such as nutritional deficiencies (mineral deficiencies), oxidative stress, body stress, lack of energy (chronic fatigue syndrome), autoimmune disease, brain health, bone health, mental performance, blood pressure, and seasonal infections.
FYI: a complete diagnostic session is mandatory prior to your first IV nutrient therapy appointment. This initial consultation will help us establish the combination of ingredients needed for IV treatments and if you have allergies to the drip contents. A discussion on your medical history, genetics, environmental surroundings and lifestyle may occur. (Most of all, this session is to learn about you – so let’s hear about your health goals!)
How can we upgrade your nutrition for optimal functioning? Let’s customize your treatments for your health needs. Send us a message to claim your FREE discovery session on IV therapy in Toronto and become a new patient at our IV Lounge.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.
Alili, JM., Berleur, MP., Husson, MC. et al. Intravenous administration of a branched-chain amino-acid-free solution in children and adults with acute decompensation of maple syrup urine disease: a prospective multicentre observational study. Orphanet J Rare Dis 17, 202 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13023-022-02353-2
Casperson SL, Sheffield-Moore M, Hewlings SJ, Paddon-Jones D. Leucine supplementation chronically improves muscle protein synthesis in older adults consuming the RDA for protein. Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):512-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 20. PMID: 22357161; PMCID: PMC3640444.
Kalogeropoulou D, Lafave L, Schweim K, Gannon MC, Nuttall FQ. Leucine, when ingested with glucose, synergistically stimulates insulin secretion and lowers blood glucose. Metabolism. 2008 Dec;57(12):1747-52. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.09.001. PMID: 19013300.
“Leucine” from the University of Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia, viewed on November 9, 2022.
Mero A. Leucine supplementation and intensive training. Sports Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):347-58. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199927060-00001. PMID: 10418071.
Pedroso JA, Zampieri TT, Donato J Jr. Reviewing the Effects of L-Leucine Supplementation in the Regulation of Food Intake, Energy Balance, and Glucose Homeostasis. Nutrients. 2015 May 22;7(5):3914-37. doi: 10.3390/nu7053914. PMID: 26007339; PMCID: PMC4446786.
Rondanelli M, Nichetti M, Peroni G, Faliva MA, Naso M, Gasparri C, Perna S, Oberto L, Di Paolo E, Riva A, Petrangolini G, Guerreschi G, Tartara A. Where to Find Leucine in Food and How to Feed Elderly With Sarcopenia in Order to Counteract Loss of Muscle Mass: Practical Advice. Front Nutr. 2021 Jan 26;7:622391. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.622391. PMID: 33585538; PMCID: PMC7874106.
Shimomura Y, Yamamoto Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Murakami T, Shimomura N, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K. Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle. J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):529S-532S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.2.529S. PMID: 16424141.
Thomson JS, Ali A, Rowlands DS. Leucine-protein supplemented recovery feeding enhances subsequent cycling performance in well-trained men. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Apr;36(2):242-53. doi: 10.1139/h10-104. PMID: 21609286.
Zhou, Z., Yin, H., Guo, Y. et al. A fifty percent leucine-restricted diet reduces fat mass and improves glucose regulation. Nutr Metab (Lond) 18, 34 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-021-00564-1