I follow several health, fitness, and nutrition websites and magazines to keep abreast of new research, as well as common practices. Today I came across an interesting article demonstrating that plant-based protein such as wheat can easily be made as anabolic (muscle growth promoting) as whey protein with the addition of the amino acid L-Leucine. In the fitness industry one reason animal proteins are widely consumed in whole food and supplement form is their track record for causing the greatest increase in protein synthesis per gram of protein consumed. This may be entirely due to Leucine content, which is higher in animal proteins than plant proteins. When you add leucine to make the total concentration in each protein the same, plant and animal proteins show the exact same increase in muscle protein synthesis. What this means is that those using supplements can add a vegan Branched Chain Amino Acid supplement (active ingredient is leucine) to their regimen – or protein supplements which already contain added BCAAs such as Plant Fusion and Vega Sport - , and those eating whole foods only should try to include food sources with the highest levels of Leucine per calorie in their diet. According to nutritiondata.com, these are soy beans/products, oat bran, fava beans, and lima beans, although all grains, beans, nuts and seeds are good sources. Mmmm beans!
My favorite quote from the article was: “Norton’s findings are interesting for the growing number of vegan bodybuilders. If they are able to find vegan leucine, they would be able to boost considerably the anabolic effect of the plant-based proteins they consume. The same is true for foresighted sports food manufacturers, who are already working on plant-based protein supplements.
Time will tell, but in a hundred years we may all well be vegan.”
Check out the article in full Here.