Leucine is one of the 8 essential amino acids that needs to be supplied from dietary sources.
Evidences from several studies, mostly conducted on rats, suggest that leucine is involved in protein synthesis in skeletal muscles, and can inhibit protein degradation in skeletal muscles and liver. It is also an important component of hemoglobin.
Leucine rich food sources include legumes such as soy beans and cowpea and animal products such as beef and fish. Below is a list of select food sources which contain leucine with estimates of their leucine content. The foods are ordered from high to low content.
|Leucine food sources||Leucine content (grams/ 100 grams food)|
|Soybeans, mature seeds, raw||
|cowpea, catjang, mature seeds, raw||
|Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, raw||
|Beef, top sirloin, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, raw||
|Peanuts, all types, raw||
|Salami, Italian, pork||
|Fish, salmon, pink, raw||
|Crustaceans, shrimp, mixed species, raw||
|Chicken, broilers or fryers, thigh, meat only, raw||
|Egg, yolk, raw, fresh||
|Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, raw||
|Seeds, sesame butter, tahini, from raw and stone ground kernels||
|Chicken, broilers or fryers, wing, meat and skin, raw||
|flax seed, raw||
|Nuts, walnuts, english||
|Egg, whole, raw, fresh||
|Egg, white, raw, fresh||
|Sausage, Italian, pork, raw||
|Milk, sheep, fluid||
|Pork, fresh, separable fat, raw||
|Milk, goat, fluid||
|Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat||
|Soy milk, fluid||
|Snap beans, green, raw||
|Milk, human, mature, fluid||
|Amino acid symbols|
|Essential amino acids||Non-Essential amino acids|
Food sources of protein: animal and vegetable protein sources and content.
Protein requirement: for kids, adults and pregnant and lactating women.
Soybean/tofu: nutritional value and health benefits
Essential and non essential amino acids: Definitions and Functions
L-Arginine: Food Sources, Health Benefits and Side Effects
Garlick, P. J. The Role of Leucine in the Regulation of Protein Metabolism. J. Nutr. 135:1553S-1556S, 2005.
Data source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19 (2006).