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As the supplement market continues to grow, both men and women often find themselves seeking out products designed to tackle their specific needs. In many cases, there’s significant overlap; your average protein shake for athletes will provide similar benefits for both men and women, but not all supplements work that way. Considering the often male-centric nature of fitness supplements and other health products, it’s prudent for women to wonder whether a particular product can benefit them, or even whether it’s safe for women to consume. As one of the top ingredients in many kinds of supplements, leucine is often considered a helpful compound, but can women take leucine? To find out, keep reading as the experts at ENU – makers of nutrition shakes and powders – tackle this important question.
Is Leucine Safe for Women?
To start, the basic question that any person should ask before ingesting a supplement is whether that product is safe for consumption. Leucine is one of the 21 amino acids necessary for human life – a group called the proteinogenic amino acids – which means that leucine is important for women as well as men. In both genders, it helps with the muscle production process, provides a backup energy source, regulates the movement of certain amino acids into the brain, and can also affect blood sugar, though that doesn’t necessarily settle the question of supplement safety.
In general, leucine and the other branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are considered safe for use as supplements, but there are a few specific instances in which caution is advised. For women in particular, it should be noted that there’s little research into the safety of leucine or leucine-rich supplements among pregnant women, so while there’s no reason to believe it’s dangerous, it should probably be avoided during a pregnancy.
In addition, the changes to blood sugar associated with increased BCAA intake can make it tougher to recover after a surgery or other major procedure, so don’t take extra leucine if you have an upcoming surgery or recently underwent one. And although leucine and the other BCAAs don’t act as stimulants in the way that some other supplements do, leucine may interfere with the production of serotonin, which could potentially hinder sleep if taken right before bed.
Top Benefits of Leucine for Women
If you’ve heard about the hype surrounding BCAAs, you may know that there are all kinds of claims related to these amino acids, many of which surround leucine in particular. While any supplement can become the subject of inflated opinions, leucine is the rare example of a product that actually stands up to scrutiny.
Numerous studies have shown that leucine plays a major role in muscle protein synthesis for women and men – the process by which new muscle tissue is created. If you work out, the benefits here are clear: improved gains after the gym and a faster muscle repair process. If you’re an older woman who’s struggling with sarcopenia, taking leucine may help to slow, stop, or even reverse the condition, especially when paired with strength training. If you struggle with cancer, cystic fibrosis, or another major illness and struggle to preserve your muscle mass, leucine can help with that, too.
Although most of the benefits of leucine for women relate to promoting muscle growth, there are a few other advantages worth mentioning as well. Combined with the other BCAAs, leucine can serve as a source of alternative energy during workouts, since it’s oxidized in the muscle, and its ability to regulate serotonin production can aid in warding off fatigue when you exercise.
How Much Leucine Do Women Need to Take?
When it comes to dosage or recommended daily allowance, leucine is hard to pin down, largely because needs vary based on a person’s lifestyle, body type, and gender, among other factors. Generally speaking, women need less leucine in their daily diet than men, but a woman who exercises frequently will need more of this amino acid than one who lives a sedentary lifestyle.
Overall, the recommended dose of the three branched-chain amino acids for women is about nine grams per day, with higher amounts recommended for more active individuals. Of this, the general consensus is that, since leucine is the most powerful of the BCAAs, it should make up a higher proportion of any supplement; a typical ratio is 2:1:1 among the three amino acids.
How Women Can Get More Leucine
As an essential amino acid, leucine is available from any source of complete proteins, meaning animal-based protein and a few plant-based sources, such as soy or quinoa. Adding more of these foods to your diet can increase your leucine intake, though many find supplements to be a worthwhile addition to these efforts. The Pro3+ nutritional powder from ENU offers a substantial amount of leucine that you can mix into any beverage or moist food, plus a healthy dose of calories for added energy. Our nutrition shakes also boast a significant serving of leucine, thanks to each shake’s 20 grams of protein from whey and soy.
Try ENU Shakes and Powders for More Leucine Every Day
Choosing a supplement or diet tool is an intensely personal choice, but ENU products are worthy of consideration when deciding on a meal replacement shake, weight management drink, or any other nutritional supplement. With easily digested protein, beneficial fats, complex carbs, and 24 vitamins and minerals, each shake comes fully equipped and can serve as a well-rounded snack or as a stand-in for a small meal. Learn more about the leucine-rich shakes and powders for women available from ENU by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.