Benefits and functions of leucine, essential amino acid
CHARACTERISTICS OF LEUCINE
What is leucine?
Leucine is an essential amino acid that the body can not synthesize and therefore must be provided by the diet.
Leucine is very necessary for proper healing of our tissues, either muscle, skin or even our bones. It is also very important for the proper functioning of the liver.
Leucine intervenes and acts with isoleucine and valine.
The abbreviation for this amino acid is Leu. With valine and isoleucine, leucine is one of the 3 BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids)
Properties of leucine
Photo of soy, a vegetable very rich in leucine.
Its remedial action is activated in conjunction with 2 essential amino acids, isoleucine and valine.
It is very important in situations where high levels of healing, that is, in any situation involving the need to heal either by trauma or for any other reason is required. (Wounds, fractures, sprains, strains, etc.)
It has been found that in the case of an operation, the contribution of this amino acid before and after it, helps ensure a faster recovery of the patient.
Leucine is involved in another series of functions, such as metabolism of carbohydrates, facilitating the absorption of glucose by the cells, therefore it regulates the levels of blood sugar and it is suitable for diabetes.
Leucine is important in muscle development, preventing muscular dystrophy or lack of muscle. It also helps maintain healthy liver and gallbladder, while increasing the production of bile by this body which prevents indigestion or liver failure.
Leucine prevents dwarfism, buy means of stimulating the growth hormone. Leucine is necessary for proper mental health, helping to prevent mental disorders and other behavior problems. Its use is very suitable in cases of depression, anxiety, nervousness or stress.
Contraindications of leucine
- Maple syrup urine disease: A diet with foods that contain isoleucine is not suitable for people with maple syrup urine disease, so called because the urine of patients remembers the smell of this syrup, but also other symptoms such as vomiting, refusal to eat, drowsiness, seizures, etc.
This is a condition in which patients who suffer it can not metabolize leucine, isoleucine and valine which determines that these amino acids accumulate in the blood can cause serious damage to the body, even death.
It is a disease of genetic character to be discovered in time in infants. Treatment is based on avoiding these patients to ingest the aforementioned amino acids for life.
- Pregnant women or people suffering from liver and kidney: They should not take supplements of isoleucine.
Foods containing leucine
Animal foods are those that contain more leucine, especially cheese and protein supplements made from milk powder (whey protein)
Within plant foods, we include, for example, cereals
* More information: Foods rich in leucine
Although you can take supplements of leucine, it is recommended to meet the needs of this amino acid through a balanced diet. If supplementation is necessary, consult with the specialist before taking it.
* Related information:
List of amino acids in food
Essential amino acids
Nonessential amino acids
More information on amino acids.