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View Full Version : Anyone tried adding leucine to food for mass gain?


Garrett Smith
12-28-2008, 07:15 AM
So...anyone tried leucine (by itself) yet? Sounds pretty good, even Cordain mentions it in his last email newsletter as being crucial to stimulating protein synthesis for muscular hypertrophy purposes.

Some links to abstracts:
http://jp.physoc.org/cgi/content/abstract/575/1/305
We conclude that leucine supplementation during feeding improves muscle protein synthesis in the elderly independently of an overall increase of other amino acids. Whether increasing leucine intake in old people may limit muscle protein loss during ageing remains to be determined.
http://ajpendo.physiology.org/cgi/content/short/288/4/E645
Plasma insulin response was higher in the CHO+PRO+Leu compared with the CHO and CHO+PRO trials (+240 19% and +77 11%, respectively, P < 0.05). Whole body protein breakdown rates were lower, and whole body protein synthesis rates were higher, in the CHO+PRO and CHO+PRO+Leu trials compared with the CHO trial (P < 0.05). Addition of leucine in the CHO+PRO+Leu trial resulted in a lower protein oxidation rate compared with the CHO+PRO trial. Protein balance was negative during recovery in the CHO trial but positive in the CHO+PRO and CHO+PRO+Leu trials. In the CHO+PRO+Leu trial, whole body net protein balance was significantly greater compared with values observed in the CHO+PRO and CHO trials (P < 0.05).
Some links heavy on the sales pitching (first one is T-Nation, NSFW):
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_supp lements/bcaa_and_athletic_performance
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/layne39.htm

It would seem to make sense that some additional leucine could be a key to IFers wishing to still gain some mass.

Wondering if anyone had tried it or had plans to try it...sounds a lot cheaper than mega-calorie drinks and much easier on the GI tract to me...

Arien Malec
12-28-2008, 08:36 AM
So...anyone tried leucine (by itself) yet? Sounds pretty good, even Cordain mentions it in his last email newsletter as being crucial to stimulating protein synthesis for muscular hypertrophy purposes.

Lyle McDonald has a recent series of articles on proteins, and his conclusion is that most real foods (meat, eggs and dairy) have sufficient amounts of BCAAs and leucine, in particular, to adequately provide for muscle building:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/what-are-good-sources-of-protein-amino-acid-profile-part-2.html

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/what-are-good-sources-of-protein-amino-acid-profile-part-3.html

Mike ODonnell
12-28-2008, 09:04 AM
I've recently added BCAAs pre-post training/hockey. Haven't yet exploded into a 250lb ripped monster though.

The Lyle McDonald series on protein is a good one. Still comes down to actually eating enough protein during the day along with training correctly. Most people just need to still eat more real foods.

Garrett Smith
12-28-2008, 09:11 AM
Arien,
I understand where Lyle is coming from. I'm looking for someone who has tried it.

To do a little math to see what kind of impact supplementing leucine could have, let's take me as an example.

I'm probably getting around 1g PRO per pound BW per day. So, 180g PRO per day.

I went to Beef tenderloin, lean, broiled; In-depth nutrient analysis (http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=141) to get the approximate amino acid profile of beef (the whole food source I'm deciding to do the math with).

In 113.40g of broiled beef, there is 2.53g of leucine. Doing a little rounding, that means that if all my protein in a day came from beef, I'd get approximately 4g of leucine in a day. That doesn't seem like much.

EDIT: Note that my math mistake is corrected below in a following post.

When 1 serving of supplemental leucine is ~5g--if leucine really is the anabolic trigger some research might suggest--I would think that doubling or tripling one's intake (1 or 2 scoops per day extra, late lunch and dinner for a common IFer) could have a significant impact.

Dismissing it out of hand is not what I'm after, especially when the math shows that a little extra could really change the game (at least in terms of leucine intake).

Many of us know what 5g of creatine a day can do for our performance. Creatine is in meat, yet many athletes benefit from the extra. Why couldn't this be the case here?

Steven Low
12-28-2008, 12:03 PM
I might try it. It seems like a good experiment.

I also want to compare regular BCAAs vs. leucine as well. If the effect of BCAAs is mostly due to leucine we should see improve performance of just leucine as compared to BCAAs... possibly.

Blair Lowe
12-28-2008, 12:33 PM
Eat more beef. 100g of beef sounds like not enough beef. That may be enough for 1 serving of beef or a snack of beef. Like a handful of lunchmeat. That's not even a quarter pound of beef which means that is a small steak or hamburger...too small.

1 pound of beef, 4 servings...that sounds more like it.

Garrett Smith
12-28-2008, 12:44 PM
Blair, that's a big oops in my math. D'oh. Oversimplified the problem in my head.

113.4g of beef is 32g of protein, with 2.53g of leucine. So, to get 180g of beef *protein* I would be getting around 15g of leucine.

Again, adding 5-10g of leucine per day could still shift that intake up by 1.3-1.6x. A much easier shift for me to make than increasing my protein intake by the same type of numbers...

I'm mainly wondering if it could be mostly the increased leucine intake behind the common recommendation of "eat more protein". If it was, I'd gladly take it. For longevity purposes, it could potentially allow more anabolism to occur without having to take in the large amount of calories animal protein would incur to get the same amount of leucine.

Daniel Olmstead
12-28-2008, 04:31 PM
Where would you recommend getting it? I'd be willing to give this a shot for a month or two to see what happened.

Gant Grimes
01-06-2009, 06:17 AM
Don't know. I take BCAAs pre and post, along with plenty of protein. You boys let me know how it goes.

Patrick Yeung
01-22-2009, 03:57 PM
I started taking them about 4 weeks ago. I am not trying to mass gain or lifting to support that kind of gain, but ive put on some lean mass.

I started at 150 with 29'' waist, with no gain or drop really in weight for the last couple weeks of lifting. However, since adding BCAA's, I am now 153 with the same 29'' waist. When I take it pre workout, especially fasted, I get this feeling of immedieate alertness and a burst in energy, like I just took some uppers.

I am on a kind of weird, hybrid diet of IF with some milk/bcca's throughout the day.

I take 2.5 grams with my left over coffee in the morning, then hit the gym. Take another 3 scoops, or 7.5g and add it to about 12 ounces of whole milk, and usually have about half or so after the workout, and the rest I sip on as I get hungry through out the day.

Just a gulp and like 6 ozs of water will stave off hunger for 2 hours or so easily.

I really like it, but ill be taking a break off it once its finished.

Here are some tips if you do decide to take it:

1) Buy capsulse: The one I bought is tricky to mix. Its so finely powdered, it just floats, and it tastes terrible.

2) Mix with milk or something creamy like that. I havent tried it with juice, but with water its terrible. Milk/cream really hides the taste.

3) Not sure on this, been having trouble finding info on it. But, I know that Amino acids, like insulin or vacines, must be refrigerated or they will degenerate. They will also break down in heat and shaking. So, I always add mine to colder liquids and stir.

4) Buy capsules.

Patrick Yeung
01-22-2009, 03:59 PM
I might try it. It seems like a good experiment.

I also want to compare regular BCAAs vs. leucine as well. If the effect of BCAAs is mostly due to leucine we should see improve performance of just leucine as compared to BCAAs... possibly.

Ill have to find the article again, I am not sure where I even read it. But, pretty much, the other two that are usually included in BCAAs are also important. While leucine alone can do a lot of things, the other two are support for it. With them present as well, they will improve the efficency of the leucine.

Donald Lee
01-23-2009, 12:36 PM
I just purchased some glutamine and leucine. Does anybody know the suggested dosage I should be taking? I'm 5' 5'', 141 lbs, 15-17% body fat. I'm trying to get up to 150 lbs, but I'm in no hurry, so I won't be stuffing too much food down. I'm more concerned with recovery. I was thinking of taking them pre and post workout. I generally workout fasted, but I could drink some milk preworkout if that helps with digesting the glutamine and leucine.

Garrett Smith
01-23-2009, 01:00 PM
Here's the Biotest article, dosing is discussed here:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/special_reports/special_report_unleash_the_full_anabolic_potential _of_food

Another T-Nation article, smells too sales-y too me, but it's the dosing I would try if I went for it:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/ill_be_damned_it_works

Donald Lee
01-23-2009, 01:52 PM
Here's the Biotest article, dosing is discussed here:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/special_reports/special_report_unleash_the_full_anabolic_potential _of_food

Another T-Nation article, smells too sales-y too me, but it's the dosing I would try if I went for it:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/ill_be_damned_it_works

Hmm. It seems that taking glutamine on an empty stomach is fine. Does glutamine pre-workout and post-workout with a shake sound good, and leucine with all my meals? Or should leucine be included with food pre-workout? I workout in the mornings, so I don't eat before I workout.

Mike ODonnell
01-23-2009, 02:36 PM
Here's the Biotest article, dosing is discussed here:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/special_reports/special_report_unleash_the_full_anabolic_potential _of_food

Another T-Nation article, smells too sales-y too me, but it's the dosing I would try if I went for it:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/ill_be_damned_it_works

Until I see it really discussed on any other site than supplemenT-nation....I'm sticking with plain BCAAs and eating enough leucine throughout the day with real foods.

Garrett Smith
01-23-2009, 03:55 PM
Does glutamine pre-workout and post-workout with a shake sound good, and leucine with all my meals?
Sounds like a plan to me.

MOD, back in my med school days when I was a research assistant for a creatine study at Athlete's Performance, they were adding isolated leucine to the PWO shakes, so I've seen the leucine-only approach before...FWIW.

dany archor
05-30-2010, 09:25 PM
Until I see it really discussed on any other site than supplemenT-nation....I'm sticking with plain BCAAs and eating enough leucine throughout the day with real foods.




leucine is it better to rat with food