Leucine is an essential amino acid, which cannot be manufactured in the body and is part of the three branched-chain-amino-acids.
Supplements and protein powders that contain leucine are used extensively by bodybuilders and other athletes to promote muscle recovery.
Among the most beneficial and effective supplements in any sports nutrition program are the branched chain amino acids which includes the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Deficiency of this nutrient is rare, since all protein foods contains it, but vegans and vegetarians without adequate protein sources may suffer from a deficiency.
Leucine deficiencies are often to blame for the buildup of subcutaneous fat - the adipose tissue that adds extra layers to the surface of the body!! Increased leucine levels signal the body to shed this stubborn surface fat!!!
Hypoglycemia symptoms may appear if the diet is deficient and could include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irritability etc.
Leucine may benefit body composition.
Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign noted in a review that part of the benefit of a higher protein diet for weight loss may be due in part to increased intake of the branched chain amino acid (BCAA), leucine.1
A small study of five lean women compared to five women with abdominal obesity found lower rates of leucine release in obese women following a 22-hour fast, indicating preservation of body protein during weight loss. 2
1. Layman DK, Baum JI. "Dietary protein impact on glycemic control during weight loss." J Nutr. 134, 4:968S-73S, 2004.
2. Patterson BW et al. "Regional muscle and adipose tissue amino acid metabolism in lean and obese women." Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 282, 4:E931-6, 2002.