Leucine Activates Protein Synthesis

Leucine Activates Protein Synthesis
Amino acids are critical for muscle cell growth because they supply building blocks for protein synthesis and activate key metabolic pathways involved in muscle hypertrophy. The branched-chain amino acid leucine is particularly important for muscle growth because it activates the mTOR pathway, which triggers protein synthesis. An Australian study using cultured muscle cells showed that leucine turned on the mTOR pathway, but that insulin was more important for lining up amino acids involved in making new proteins and for promoting the movement of amino acids into muscle cells. This study showed that carbohydrates, which stimulate insulin, and leucine, which turns on the mTOR pathway, are both important for maximizing muscle growth. (BMC Physiology, published online)

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