Leucine

 Most people understand how amino acids are the 'building blocks' of proteins but many may not be aware of how the biosynthesis of these amino acids can follow different energy pathways. The graphic below displays this nicely, showing glucogenic amino acids, ketogenic amino acids, and amino acids which rely on both energy substrates. When amino acids are broken down inside the liver the alpha amino group is removed 

 

 

What is Leucine specifically and why put a spotlight on this specific amino acid? Leucine is an essential amino acid, meaning that the body cannot synthesise it and humans must obtain it from the diet. 

There is evidence to suggest that Leucine, a ketogenic amino acid, could potentially benefit brain cancer patients in the form supplementation on a restricted ketogenic diet for brain cancer management. Evidence has already been established relating to its anti-convulsant benefits.