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Leucine helps maintain muscle mass

The body needs protein to maintain muscle mass, and its ability to make and use protein declines with age.

In one study, eight people, average age 68, took 4 grams of the branched-chain amino acid leucine with each of three meals per day.

Researchers compared muscle biopsies and blood samples before the study and after 14 days, and they found significantly higher rates of protein formation and increased signs of cellular muscle-building activity. Doctors said the low dose of leucine may make it easier to maintain muscle mass with age.

Four grams of leucine is the amount found in about 35-40 grams of whey protein or in about 8-10 grams of a BCAA powder.

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