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L-leucine activates muscle building

Recently, researchers have started to hone in on a particular BCAA, L-leucine. It acts as a switch that turns on mTOR, which in turn activates the muscle-building process. Based on studies of resistance-trained young men, the minimum threshold to activate mTOR is around 1,700 to 2,400 mg of leucine.

For reference, in 5g of BCAAs (in a 2:1:1 ratio), you get 2,500 mg of leucine. Even though leucine is the switch, you still need all of the essential amino acids (building blocks) for muscle protein synthesis to occur. The lower the leucine level in a protein (such as plant proteins), the lower the impact that protein has on muscle protein synthesis.*

Timing and ideal use: Add 1.7-2.4g of leucine to a post-workout drink or a low-protein meal. It is also great to add to protein powders with a lower leucine content, like most plant proteins (pea, rice, soy).

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