Discover how isoleucine can help improve your health and wellbeing
Isoleucine Health Benefits
- Isoleucine is involved in the production of hemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin is made up of four subunits, each containing a heme group and a protein chain called a globin. The globin chain is made up of a specific sequence of amino acids, including isoleucine.
Hemoglobin must maintain a specific shape in order to effectively bind oxygen and transport it throughout the body. Isoleucine, along with other amino acids, helps to maintain this shape by forming hydrophobic interactions with other molecules.
- Isoleucine plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulate the uptake of glucose by cells, thus keeping blood sugar levels within a normal range.
One of the ways in which isoleucine helps to regulate blood sugar levels is through its involvement in the process of gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as proteins and fats. During periods of low carbohydrate intake, the body can use isoleucine and other amino acids as a source of glucose to maintain blood sugar levels.
- Isoleucine also has the ability to stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas, which helps to lower blood sugar levels by promoting the uptake of glucose by cells. This is a unique property of isoleucine and other branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) like leucine and valine. Studies have shown that consuming a diet high in BCAA can lead to increased insulin sensitivity and a reduction in blood glucose levels.
- Isoleucine, along with the other two branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine and valine, plays a role in energy metabolism by providing energy to muscles during exercise.
- Isoleucine also plays a role in muscle recovery after exercise. The breakdown of muscle tissue during exercise can lead to muscle damage, which can cause inflammation, pain, and delayed muscle recovery. Isoleucine helps in the repair and growth of muscle tissue by providing the necessary building blocks for protein synthesis. Studies have shown that supplementation with BCAA, including isoleucine, before or after exercise can reduce muscle damage and promote muscle recovery.
Foods rich in Isoleucine
- Animal sources of isoleucine include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. High-quality sources include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef and fish, as well as eggs and dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt.
- Plant-based sources of isoleucine include legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas, nuts, and seeds such as soybeans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sesame seeds, and whole grains like wheat germ, quinoa, and amaranth. Some fruits and vegetables like avocados, spinach, and kale contain isoleucine.
Recommended daily intake
- Isoleucine is named after the Greek word “isos” meaning “equal” and “Leucos” meaning “white”, referring to the fact that this amino acid is chemically similar to leucine.
- Isoleucine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) along with leucine and valine. BCAAs are unique in that they are metabolized in the muscle, rather than in the liver.
- Isoleucine’s ability to form hydrophobic interactions with other molecules helps to stabilize the three-dimensional structure of proteins, making them more resistant to changes in temperature and pH.
- Isoleucine has been used in some studies as a treatment for some diseases such as Phenylketonuria, which is a genetic disorder that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body.
- Isoleucine is also important for bodybuilders, isoleucine supplement has been found to be beneficial for muscle strength and endurance.