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Supplemental dietary leucine and the skeletal muscle anabolic response to essential amino acids

Stefan M Pasiakos , James P McClung
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00420.x 550-557 First published online: 1 September 2011

Abstract

Skeletal muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is regulated by a number of dietary factors, to include essential amino acids (EAAs). Leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, has been identified as a stimulator of MPS in many cell culture and animal studies. However, whether supplemental leucine exerts a unique stimulatory effect, as compared to other EAAs, on muscle anabolism in humans has not been clearly demonstrated. A recent study found no improvement in resting MPS in adults who consumed a 10 g EAA supplement providing added leucine (3.5 g leucine) when compared to a control 10 g EAA supplement (1.8 g leucine). These findings suggest that added leucine is unnecessary for the stimulation of MPS when sufficient EAAs are provided; however, the study of supplemental leucine during conditions such as endurance exercise, caloric deprivation, and ageing may be warranted.

  • branched-chain amino acid
  • intracellular signaling
  • leucine
  • protein synthesis
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