Leucine and Weight Loss

I’ve recently been asked by a friend about the new Lysine produce being advertised on television with a 70% weight loss average due to fat loss.  Here is the information I have on a product that in test studies lost 99% of their weight from fat loss.

Being overweight or obese is the number one health issue of our day. Excess weight is associated with many diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. Excess weight increases suffering, decreases quality of living, reduces life expectancy, and places a large burden on already burdened health care resources.1

Reversing the obesity epidemic will no doubt require advances on many fronts, including public health policy, consumer and physician education, and community engagement in supporting initiatives to help people become more active. There are literally hundreds of weight-loss programs, most of which do indeed lead to weight loss—but no attention is paid to what constitutes healthy and sustainable weight loss. Loss of water weight or muscle mass (as occurs in all programs) initially looks good on the scale, but fails in the long term to achieve the goal of permanent weight loss.

Since lean muscle mass constitutes the majority of metabolism2, loss of muscle mass is unsustainable in the long-term as metabolism will plummet along with weight loss, which leads to regaining of weight unless permanent changes in diet and lifestyle have occurred. Maintenance of lean muscle mass, therefore, is a key element of a successful weight-loss program.3

PROTEIN MAINTAINS MUSCLE MASS

Since the time of the Roman Empire, protein has been known to help build muscles. When amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) were discovered, it was clear that only certain types of amino acids led to muscle building. The branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) were found to have the most effect on maintaining muscle mass, and eventually leucine emerged as the amino acid that has unique effects on protein synthesis.4

Leucine has been shown to have the following effects helpful for weight loss:

  • Leucine inhibits the breakdown of other proteins.5
  • Leucine increases metabolism (thermogenic effect).6
  • During a low-calorie diet, consumption of leucine helps maintain lean muscle mass so that weight loss can preferentially come from fat stores.7
  • Leucine stimulates a rise in plasma leptin and helps people feel full.8

Several long-term studies in obese participants who consumed a high-soy protein/low-fat diet suggested improved body composition by losing fat and preserving muscle mass.9 Leucine supplementation combined with exercise appears to be one of the most effective way for maintaining lean muscle mass for weight loss.10

http://www.shaklee.tv/v.ihtml/player.html?source=embed&photo%5fid=10782261

CONCLUSION

Excess weight continues to be a challenging public health problem. It is clear that increased protein content of meals during a weight-loss program not only increases satiety and modulates cravings, but also is the main metabolic messenger for the synthesis and maintenance of lean muscle mass.

The majority of leucine-related literature confirms the significance of leucine as a dietary modulator of muscle maintenance that is useful for weight loss and maintenance. The leucine content of a meal may be the critical factor for determining the quantity and quality of proteins necessary at a meal for stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and/or decreased muscle breakdown, and the maintenance of lean body mass and metabolism.

For More Information:

Contact me or check out the Shaklee180 line which features Leucine and sports nutrition.


  1. Wolf AM, Colditz GA. Current estimates of the economic cost of obesity in the United States. Obes Res. 1998 Mar;6(2):97-106. PMID: 9545015.
  2. Zurlo F, Larson K, Bogardus C, Ravussin E. Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. J Clin Invest. 1990 Nov;86(5):1423-7. PMID: 2243122.
  3. Deibert P, König D, Schmidt-Trucksaess A, et al. Weight loss without losing muscle mass in pre-obese and obese subjects induced by a high-soy-protein diet. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1349-52. PMID: 15303108.
  4. Layman DK, Walker DA. Potential importance of leucine in treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):319S-23S. PMID: 16365106. PDF
  5. Zanchi NE, Nicastro H, Lancha AH Jr. Potential antiproteolytic effects of L-leucine: observations of in vitro and in vivo studies. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Jul 17;5:20. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-20. PMID: 18637185. PDF
  6. Tappy L, Jéquier E, Acheson K. Thermic effect of infused amino acids in healthy humans and in subjects with insulin resistance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Jun;57(6):912-6. PMID: 8503362.
  7. Churchward-Venne TA, Breen L, et al. Leucine supplementation of a low-protein mixed macronutrient beverage enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis in young men: a double-blind, randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb;99(2):276-86. PMID: 24284442.
  8. Lynch CJ, Gern B, Lloyd C, Hutson SM, Eicher R, Vary TC. Leucine in food mediates some of the postprandial rise in plasma leptin concentrations. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;291(3):E621-30. Epub 2006 Apr 25. PMID: 16638821. PDF
  9. Deibert P, König D, Schmidt-Trucksaess A, et al. Weight loss without losing muscle mass in pre-obese and obese subjects induced by a high-soy-protein diet. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1349-52. PMID: 15303108.
  10. Westcott W, Varghese J, DiNubile N, et al. Exercise and Nutrition More Effective than Exercise Alone for Increasing Lean Weight and Reducing Resting Blood Pressure. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online. 2011, 14(4). PDF

Tips to BURN FAT and Not Muscle

We want to maintain a healthy weight –or, we’d just like to get to a healthy weight.  Either way, MUSCLE MASS is an important tool.

Muscle burns 2x as many calories as fat and takes up much less space.

Fat vs Muscle

The challenge, with many diets, is that when we lose weight, we lose it from fat loss AND muscle loss.  As we lose more muscle mass, we lose our calorie burning machine.

Here are a few tips to assist you in maintaining that muscle mass.

  • Workouts – research is showing that burst workouts can assist the body in burning more fat and less muscle mass, all while ramping up the metabolism for the entire day to burn additional calories throughout. Did you know: you can burn as many or more calories in an intense 3 minutes than you can with 30 minutes of aerobics?
  • Waterdrinking 500 ml of water increases metabolic rate by 30% in both men and in women. The increase in metabolic rate was observed within 10 min after completion and reached a maximum 30–40 min after water drinking. –source JCEM
  • ProteinNew research suggests that many of us may need more protein than we realize. The current RDA is 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, but several studies have found that 1 to 1.2 g may be more protective against age-related muscle loss. I begin EVERY morning with a protein smoothee
    • Leucine specifically – Whereas total protein is important in providing substrates for gluconeogenesis, leucine appears to regulate oxidative use of glucose by skeletal muscle through stimulation of glucose recycling via the glucose-alanine cycle. – SourceThe Journal of Nutrition
    • 1/4 plate – the protein on your plate boosts calorie burn by 25-30%
  • Fruits & Veggies – 7-9 per day. There are many sources to build muscle and boost metabolism. A rainbow of these babies gives a multitude of vitamins & nutrients – solid building blocks to build healthy new muscle and to maintain what you already have.  Here are a few resources outlining specific metabolism boosting foods.
  • Whole Grains – Fiber is so important when building healthy muscle and then maintaining that muscle.  Fiber assists the body in moving things through, allowing the digestive system to work properly, absorb the nutrients needed and to not stay too long and absorb things NOT needed by the body. Stay away from the processed foods and look for whole grains or raw nuts. 

Using solid building materials to build a strong body/foundation will assist you in the long run! 

Keep on keeping on. ~Zig Ziglar

When you work to maintain a healthy body and a strong muscle mass in your body it will:

    • Create a leaner physique
    • Reduce your risk of injury
    • Increase strength, stability, power and endurance
    • Improve balance and mobility
    • Improve the way you feel about yourself
    • Increase energy and vitality
    • Improve athletic performance
    • Create metabolic reserve in times of traumas such as (car accidents and burns)
    • Increase your metabolic efficiency
    • Improve insulin sensitivity and improve blood glucose control

The system that I used to lose my 55 pounds and maintain that weight loss for over 7 years is based on the principals above.  If you would like more information on how a Shaklee 180 could assist you in building a FAT BURNING machine of a body – contact me.

Get “Ripped” for the New Year! (How about you get healthy)

Since we’ve been home more over the holidays, we’ve had the boob tube on more than normal.  I’ve been amused at some of the… well a lot of the commercials.

“Get Ripped” “Drop 16 dress sizes in 16 DAYS!” “Look like me just by taking this magic pill”

It IS the New Year – at least at midnight it will be. It is another chance for a NEW start and a healthy new you!

I’ve noticed one thing missing from all these ads. How to stay there.  All these companies are offering magic pills, tools, foods, machines and the like to help you LOSE the weight, to get into better shape and such however… None of them offer maintenance to stay there.

I want to offer you the opportunity to not only begin to shed some pounds, if that is what you need, but also the chance to KEEP it off for the long term. 

When we say “Feel Good Fast” it’s a relative term. Relative to how fast you want to get there and how long you want to STAY there. I’ve been there done that– lost and gained, and finally, almost 6 years ago lost and maintained that loss. I’ve lost the prescriptions, the weight, the depression, the asthma, and the need to yo-yo diet repeatedly!

We’ve got the vehicle, if you have the drive.

HGM_Happy_New_You_2013

(Taken by my 5 yr old at Busch Gardens)

Happy New Year and Healthy New You!