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What is Leucine and Why is it Good for Muscle Growth?

What is Leucine and Why is it Good for Muscle Growth?

Do you know why your sports supplements contain leucine? This amino acid can help you reach your sports goals, we tell you how!

If you’re new to the world of fitness, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available on the best foods, dietary supplements, and ingredients to maximize the results of your workout and gym efforts.

At Yes You Can! we want you to be able to choose the products that work best for you, so in this article we’ll talk about one of the most popular ingredients in dietary and sports supplements: leucine. Join us to discover what leucine is and how it can help you increase muscle mass in conjunction with a high-protein diet.

What is Leucine?

Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid (also known as BCAA amino acids) — so called because of the non-linear arrangement of its molecules — which, together with isoleucine and valine, make up one-third of muscle proteins. These types of amino acids are called essential amino acids, because our body is unable to produce them by itself, so they must be consumed from external sources such as daily food or leucine supplements.

This amino acid composition plays a very important role in sports nutrition and athletic performance because of its effect on the musculoskeletal system. Let’s see how leucine works to increase muscle mass.

How Does Leucine Help Increase Muscle Mass?

Leucine increases the production of growth hormone (GH hormone), providing energy to muscle tissue, initially allowing for greater endurance and physical performance in your training program. Another role of leucine is to stimulate protein synthesis in the muscle, which participates in muscle building and regeneration, in addition to the prevention of mass loss, directly affecting body composition.

Muscle Building

Several clinical studies have found that branched-chain amino acids, especially leucine, promote muscle growth. However, evidence suggests that long-term leucine supplementation should be combined with strength training to achieve truly remarkable results.

Muscle Repair

A study shared in PubMed found that nutritional supplements with high leucine content help muscle recovery after intense muscle work. In the study, conducted on cyclists, it was found that an intake of leucine after training increased their speed the next day, in addition to decreasing the feeling of general fatigue, generating a peak of energy production.


These benefits can help you carry out more intense workouts that contribute to boosting the results of your routines. If you combine them with the consumption of foods of animal origin high in protein or, if you have a vegetarian diet, with vegetable proteins. Later we will tell you which foods are ideal to accompany your endurance and strength training.

Prevents Muscle Loss

By promoting protein synthesis, leucine also helps decrease muscle loss. This is more noticeable in older adults; however, it has been shown that protein synthesis is increased when taking leucine even when there is no deficiency in this function in a healthy adult.

Other Benefits of Leucine

In addition to being an excellent support for gaining muscle mass, other positive effects of leucine are regulating blood sugar levels, wound healing, and hormone production.

Additionally, previous studies with animals have demonstrated that leucine increases the response to the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite. Thus, a leucine-rich diet could also help control or reduce body weight.

How Can I Consume Leucine?

As we mentioned before, our body cannot produce leucine, so it must be consumed in food sources or through supplements. Below, we tell you which foods and products are a good source of leucine and can help you increase your muscle mass.

Leucine-rich Foods to Increase Muscle Mass

The following are foods that not only are excellent sources of leucine but also other essential and branched-chain amino acids. Adding them to your healthy diet can help you not only increase muscle mass but also improve your overall health:

  • Salmon: besides being delicious, this animal protein has a high concentration of amino acids and is rich in good fats like omega-3. 100 grams of salmon will provide your diet with 2 grams of leucine.
  • Brown rice: substituting white rice with brown rice is one of the simplest ways to increase your leucine and protein intake in general.
  • Eggs: one egg can provide up to 6 grams of protein, of which 0.6 grams will be leucine. According to the American Heart Association, consuming one egg daily is perfectly healthy.
  • Soy: soy in any of its forms — textured, soybeans, liquid, etc. — has a high content of amino acids, with 100 grams of cooked soy providing around 2.5 grams of leucine.
  • Nuts: this group includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and peanuts.
  • Chickpeas: this versatile food can be consumed in dozens of ways, and half a cup of them provides you with as much protein and leucine as one egg.
  • Beef: meat will always be the king of protein, but remember that consuming it in large quantities is also not healthy. Always consume lean cuts as part of a well-balanced diet that includes other protein sources. 100 grams of this type of meat can provide you with up to 2.5 grams of leucine.

Yes You Can! Products with Leucine to Increase Muscle Mass

The Yes You Can! catalog offers various products aimed at helping you reach your ideal protein intake, including adequate amounts of leucine for muscle growth. Take a look and choose the one that suits you best.

Whey Protein

Our 30 Whey Protein is a powdered supplement to prepare protein shakes to replace your mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. They provide you with 15 grams of protein — and around 2.5 grams of leucine — per serving, while also offering the following additional benefits:

  • Help control appetite between meals
  • Help maintain lean muscle mass
  • Only provide 100 calories per serving

Protein Bars

Yes You Can! Protein Bars are another excellent option to get the amount of protein you need before or after training. Their convenient presentation makes it incredibly easy to take them with you at all times and eat them whenever you need them.

They provide 10 grams of protein per serving and come in attractive flavors, which you can enjoy while taking care of yourself.

Recommended Amounts of Leucine for Muscle Mass Gain

However the amount of protein each person should consume may vary due to factors such as sex, age, and weight. However, the consensus is that 3 grams of leucine — in combination with at least 6 grams of other proteins — is sufficient to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, particularly after exercise.

To maximize the effect and ensure it lasts for several hours, the same 3 grams of leucine are recommended, but in combination with 25 grams of other proteins. Rely on Yes You Can! products as shown above to obtain all the protein you need conveniently and quickly.

Get the Body you’ve Always Dreamed of with Yes You Can!

With the information and resources Yes You Can! makes available to you, there are no more excuses not to pursue your goals! Find your ideal supplement to lose weight, increase your muscle mass or improve your gut health. Everything you need to get the body and wellness you want can be found in our online store. And if you want to continue learning about topics similar to how leucine helps you increase muscle mass, visit our blog.

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