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High Leucine Intake may Help Seniors With Muscle Strength and Mass

Leucine is an essential amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis in muscles. Foods high in leucine include chicken, beef, pork, tuna fish, beans, milk, cheese, and eggs. A new study suggests that leucine may help maintain muscle strength and muscle mass in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 67 adults with an average age of 69. They completed 3 food frequency questionnaires that were used to determine daily leucine intake. Participants also performed a series of exercises to measure muscle strength. Magnetic imaging was used to evaluate muscle mass.

Participants with the highest intake of leucine had better muscle strength and more muscle mass compared to those with the lowest leucine intake. The benefits derived from leucine were found to plateau at approximately 8 grams per day. This is much higher than the currently recommended 4.4 grams per day.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of São Paulo. It was published online ahead of print on October 9, 2021, in the journal Nutrients.

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