The Leucine Threshold
The EAA with the most influence over protein quality seems to be leucine .
To maximize muscle recovery, it might be advantageous to aim for a threshold (aptly named the “leucine threshold”) of at least 3 g of leucine per meal [5, 8].
You can view a list of foods alongside their leucine content in the table below.
- Campbell, B., et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the Int
- Jager, R., et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2017. 14: p. 20.
- Flakoll, P.J., et al., Postexercise protein supplementation improves health and muscle soreness during basic military training in Marine recruits. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2004. 96(3): p. 951-6.
- Markus, C.R., B. Olivier, and E.H. de Haan, Whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids and improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable subjects. Am J Clin Nutr, 2002. 75(6): p. 1051-6.
- Burd, N.A., S.H. Gorissen, and L.J.C. van Loon, Anabolic Resistance of Muscle Protein Synthesis with Aging. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 2013. 41(3): p. 169-173.
- Jeukendrup, A.E. and M. Gleeson, Sport Nutrition. 2019.
- Institute of Medicine, P.o.M.I.o.M.S.C.o.t.S.E.o.D.R.I., Dietary reference intakes : for energy carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. 2006, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
- Tipton, K.D., et al., Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1999. 276(4): p. E628-E634.
- Churchward-Venne, T.A., 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. 99(2): p. 276-86.
- Rogerson, D., Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2017. 14.
- Pinckaers, P.J.M., et al., The Anabolic Response to Plant-Based Protein Ingestion. Sports Med, 2021.
- Pasiakos, S.M., H.R. Lieberman, and T.M. McLellan, Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review. Sports Med, 2014. 44(5): p. 655-70.