Because you’re on this page, it is likely you are familiar with BCAAs, and the common 2:1:1 leucine, isoleucine, and valine ratio. But do you understand what each individual amino acid is, and what role it plays in terms of building muscle and recovery?
L-Leucine is one of the three essential amino acids found in traditional BCAA mixes. And is typically found in higher doses than the other two aminos. This is because leucine essentially kick starts the protein synthesis and recovery process - leucine holds much more power than any other amino acid in the protein synthesis process.
To understand why leucine is so important, you must know that one of the most widely studied pathways for muscle growth is called the mTOR pathway, which is controlled by leucine levels. When our leucine levels are low, it signals the mTOR pathway that there is not enough protein to create new skeletal muscles. So in turn, supplementing with leucine activates the mTOR pathway and the protein synthesis process which results in greater muscle growth in the end.