Of all the amino acids prized in sports nutrition, leucine sits at number one. This branched chain amino acid (BCAA) has been widely studied for its role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Ensuring dietary supplements and other sports nutrition products deliver leucine effectively should be a key focus for sports marketers. Now, one company says that its patented, time-release leucine ingredient may significantly outperform free leucine.
AnaBio Ltd., an Irish company specializing in microencapsulation technology, has patented a microencapsulated form of leucine called TR-Leucine. According to the company’s founder and director, Sinéad Bleiel, PhD, TR-Leucine is “the first time-release sports ingredient” and represents “a revolutionary technology for sports nutrition.”
According to Bleiel, AnaBio recently conducted a human study at the *National University of Ireland to examine the time-release effect of TR-Leucine on MPS, delayed onset of muscle soreness, as well as recovery of muscle function post-exercise. Bleiel says the company expects the study to be published this summer.
According to Bleiel, the double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 48 physically active men aged 18-30. Participants were administered either supplements of free leucine or TR-Leucine. They were asked to perform leg press exercises, after which muscle protein synthesis was assessed using a deuterated water technique. Muscle soreness and perceived recovery were judged by participants using a visual analog scale.
The company alleges that, compared to free leucine, subjects supplementing with 1.5 g of TR-Leucine showed significant increases in MPS two hours after ingestion. Muscle recovery rates also improved.
The company posits one possible reason for why TR-Leucine may outperform free leucine. “MPS is stimulated in a dose-dependent manner in response to leucine, but MPS has an upper limit of activation in response to a given quantity of leucine, meaning above a certain dose of leucine, MPS is not stimulated further,” the company says. By releasing leucine over time, TR-Leucine may sidestep this upward ceiling and deliver leucine more effectively, maximizing MPS, the firm says.
TR-Leucine is now distributed by Compound Solutions under the trade name ActiveTR. It utilizes plant-based encapsulation that is vegan friendly. The ingredient is already featured in some supplements on the market, including the mTOR Pro supplement from Myokem.
*5/17/16 Correction: The company now states that this study was conducted at the National University of Ireland, not the University College Dublin.