L-leucine, chemical formula C6H13NO2, is an essential amino acid. Since the body does not manufacture L-leucine, it must be acquired through diet or supplementation. It is one of three Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAA), along with Isoleucine & Valine.
BCAAs serve as important fuel sources for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress. BCAA’s are an important component of sports nutrition and health foods, as they increase energy, enhance endurance and aid in muscle recovery. L-leucine is also used as a flavoring substance and as a lubricant for tablet production.
L-Leucine in particular has many beneficial effects on sports performance. It helps preserve lean muscle tissue, it supplies the body with energy when under stress, it preserves muscle glycogen (glucose stored in muscle tissue used to power muscular contraction), it maintains nitrogen balance, and it enhances thinking abilities that can decline as physical activity becomes more intense. It also works to heal bone, skin and muscle tissue.