The essential amino acid leucine is one of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) known for its muscle building effects. This is of significance not only in power training, but also in aging.
Leucine is more than just an important element of protein. Taking leucine is effective in combating muscle atrophy related to aging according to a systematic review of several studies published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” 1.
A total of nine studies were selected by scientists for analysis. These studies followed the highest standards in design (double-blind, randomized) and were published in renowned libraries such as Medline or Cochrane.
The studies observed the short-term effects of leucine on protein synthesis (a few hours) as well as the long-term effects (10 days to 3 months).
The result proclaimed by the scientists:
“The results showed that the muscle protein fractional synthetic rate after intervention significantly increased in the leucine group compared with the control group. These findings suggest that leucine supplementation is useful to address the age-related decline in muscle mass in elderly individuals, as it increases the muscle protein fractional synthetic rate.”
- Xu ZR, Tan ZJ, Zhang Q, Gui QF, Yang YM. The effectiveness of leucine on muscle protein synthesis, lean body mass and leg lean mass accretion in older people: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition. 2015. 113(1):25-34 ↩