What Is Leucine & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Leucine (src)

Leucine is an essential amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins, used as building blocks.

Leucine metabolism occurs in many tissues in our body, especially in the liver, adipose tissue, and muscle tissue.

Essential means that the body cannot synthesize it, and therefore must be ingested through our diet.

Leucine is also a key nutrient for the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass.

A deficiency of leucine can lead to muscle breakdown and muscle loss.

The best way to ensure that you are getting enough leucine in your diet is to eat more protein.

Leucine is found in foods like meat, fish, and dairy products.

Table of Contents

Leucine Is Important With Many Health Benefits

Leucine is one of the nine essential amino acids we all need.

It is important for protein synthesis and many metabolic functions. (source )

Leucine is known to be the most important nutrient for muscle protein synthesis.

Leucine, together with isoleucine and valine, make up about one-third of muscle protein.

They three are together called branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). (source )

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA)

BCAAs are amino acids that suppress protein breakdown and are used as an efficient energy source during exercise.

Even though, BCAAs possess some muscle-building benefits, excessive intake may reduce lifespan, increase appetite, lead to weight gain, and have a negative impact on mood.

You get leucine from foods

Leucine cannot be synthesized in the body. It must be obtained from the diet. (source )

Because leucine is available in many food deficiency is rare. (source )

Leucine is found in foods like meat, fish, and dairy products.

Benefits From Leucine

Leucine is believed to be beneficial for muscle growth and for the prevention of osteoporosis, and a number of studies have examined its role in skeletal muscle hypertrophy.

It is also believed that leucine can be beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease by decreasing oxidative stress.

Leucine is beneficial in the regulation of blood-sugar levels and growth, among other things.

You can see the researched-backed benefits of leucine in Leucine: 6 Research-Backed Benefits .

Foods You Can Find Leucine In

You find Leucine mostly in dairy and egg, legume, american indian and alaska native food, and seafood products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Leucine, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Leucine.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.