Leucine Can Boost Kidney And Liver Function
|Strengthen The Liver and Kidneys With Leucine||Darrell Miller||04/27/09|
April 27, 2009 02:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Strengthen The Liver and Kidneys With Leucine
L-leucine is an amino acid that is used by the body to fuel exercise and muscle-building to provide you with that athletic edge that gets you ahead of your opponents. It does so in a number of ways, none of them specifically by the direct generation of energy as such.
It is also an essential amino acid, since it cannot be manufactured by your body and hence must be taken as a supplement or as part of your diet. Foods rich in leucine include nuts, whole wheat products such as wholemeal bread, and brown rice. It is a hydrophobic amino acid, meaning that it does not like water.
It is also one of three essential branched chain amino acids, the other two being L-valine and L-isoleucine, and offers many benefits to athletic performance that shall be discussed below It also helps to preserve the body's stores of glycogen, used as an emergency energy source. Other than these properties, it possesses others, such as the maintenance of the nitrogen balance in the body.
So how does it work to fuel your body while you are exercising? The answer is not as you might think. L-leucine doesn't increase your energy levels as creatine does when it elevates your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels. ATP is the molecule of energy that is synthesized in your body cells, and is then converted back to ADP, the diphosphate, with the release of energy in the form of muscular contractions.
This amino acid is what is referred to as a 'limiting' substance, in that the other amino acids cannot do their jobs in your body unless you have sufficient L-leucine in proportion to them. Specifically, you need two parts of L-valine and two parts of L-leucine to one part of L-isoleucine for optimum usage of the food that you eat.
Therefore you cannot just take the supplement without considering how much should be taken to ensure this balance. Excess will be wasted and a deficiency would fail to make proper use of the protein content of your food.
If you suffer from a deficiency, therefore, your body cannot make best use of the protein in your diet to the extent that muscle tissue will not be generated during exercise. In fact it causes catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue, resulting in a loss of performance and possible increase in fatty tissue as opposed to lean muscle. The only way to build muscle is take in sufficient nitrogen in the form of amino acids and protein, along with L-leucine to put that protein to best use.
One of the major properties of L-leucine is in stimulating the synthesis of skeletal muscle tissue and by using a supplement, the protein balance can be positive after a workout. It has been shown that this protein balance is generally negative until specifically L-leucine is consumed.
The way it works is to activate a muscle-generating pathway known as mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin). mTOR is normally activated when the levels of ATP in the muscle cells is high, and when these levels drop then mTOR is deactivated. The activity of mTOR is sensitive to the concentration of L-leucine, and when the concentration of the amino acid in the body rises it informs mTOR that the protein in the diet is sufficient to manufacture skeletal muscle tissue, and so mTOR s activated.
Exactly how this is done is unknown, but is a fact the mTOR depends upon both L-leucine concentration and also ATP levels. This amino acid also decreases catabolism through a number of different mechanisms, one of which involves increasing insulin levels.
In fact, when insulin and L-leucine levels increase at the same time, there is a synergy that promotes the synthesis of new protein. Not only that, but the response of insulin to the presence of carbohydrates is enhanced, this resulting in an enhancement of your body's metabolism.
The amino acid can also be used to help those suffering from kidney and liver problems because it increases liver protein synthesis. It is therefore a useful adjunct both to diabetics and those suffering from liver and kidney disease.
However, because L-leucine is an essential amino acid with so many important properties, a deficiency can have specific consequences. Catabolism has been stated earlier as one such reaction to a deficiency, and others include decreased energy levels and irregularities in the levels of blood sugar.
Everything about this substance is not good however, and when taken by itself in excess, it can reduce the amount of the other amino acids in the blood, particularly of the other two branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). This in turn upsets the balance of amino acids, and reduces further the ability of the body to produce muscle tissue until a balanced supplement is taken.
Leucine also helps to maintain the nitrogen balance. It is essential for the human body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and L-leucine supports this. In fact, one study has demonstrated that after 12 hours infusion with L-leucine, nitrogen balance was improved by as much as 23%.
A supplement alone is not always sufficient to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. It is generally essential that you rest your body for a sufficient length of time to allow protein to be generated. If you don't take the required amount of rest, a surplus of protein could be used to maintain energy levels rather than replace lost protein and maintain a good nitrogen balance.
A positive nitrogen balance is essential for the generation of muscle tissue, such as in bodybuilding for example, since all proteins contain nitrogen and the net nitrogen intake must exceed the excretion rate. Not in gaseous form, of course, but in the intake of amino acids and proteins. The more positive your nitrogen balance is, the faster you will recover after exercise. It is essential for anabolic exercise.
L-leucine, therefore, is a supplement that can help to maintain your current muscle mass while undergoing strenuous exercise, in addition to increasing it while resting. It offers other health benefits, one being helping to maintain clarity of thought in the aged. However, it is for its effect on muscular build-up and the athletic edge that provides that the supplement is most commonly taken.