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October 06, 2020 3 min read
By Sean Lake

What do you know about what’s in your protein?

Protein is one of the most important macronutrients, especially for people who want to burn fat and build up muscle. The body uses protein to build muscle...but it also uses amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and can be found in most of the food we eat. However, they are most abundant in animal products such as meat and collagen.

This amino acid packs a punch, in terms of pure protein creation and muscle retention alike. When we say you really can’t live without it, we’re actually telling the truth.

What Isoleucine is Doing for Your Body, Right Now

Like other amino acids, isoleucine is necessary for the body to build proteins. It’s especially known for its role in helping your body heal wounds, support overall immunity, regulate blood sugar and produce necessary hormones.

Isoleucine is one of three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAS). These amino acids are popular among athletes and bodybuilders and are particularly valuable after a workout. Studies have found that people who consume BCAAS such as isoleucine while working out see an increase in muscle protein synthesis. If you are trying to make the most of your workout routine, you need your amino acids. You need isoleucine.

As we age, we’re more susceptible to isoleucine deficiency. If you’re not getting the essential amino acids you need, you’ll likely experience low muscle mass. In particular, being low in isoleucine can cause muscle weakness and shaking, among other side effects. One study found that sourcing dietary amino acids are critical for the bedridden elderly. You can lose a lot of muscle mass when bedridden, but supplementing even a small portion of your diet with a protein-rich intake can soften some of the damage.

If you’re worried that you might not be receiving all of the isoleucine you need, take a breath before you jump for the nearest supplement. Make sure you speak with your doctor, or with a licensed health professional before you begin taking any sort of new supplement. In most cases, taking single amino acids also isn’t good for children - and in any case, it’s better to take them together in a well-rounded diet than to supplement amino acids individually.

Where Can I Find Isoleucine?

Isoleucine is one of the nine essential amino acids, meaning that the body cannot make it on its own. It must be retrieved from an outside source.

Amino acids, especially the BCCAs, are better taken together than on their own. These amino acids do their best work when collaborating in tandem with all nine essential amino acids. Luckily, most major sources of protein, such as eggs and meat, are complete proteins, offering all the amino acids we need.

As with other amino acids, isoleucine is found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, soy and beans. It is also found in collagen peptides. Collagen peptides are rich in seven of the nine essential amino acids and have been shown to promote joints and gut health.

Complete proteins are proteins that contain all nine of the essential amino acids. Soy is one of a few plant sources to offer complete proteins. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you’ll need to be sure to eat a variety of plant-based proteins since so few are actually complete. However, eating a wide variety of plant-based proteins should ensure that you receive the proteins you need. And just because you eat animal products doesn’t mean that you are necessarily consuming complete proteins. Not all animal products are complete proteins: even collagen is not a complete protein, though it remains rich in amino acids.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If you feel like you need an extra boost of protein and amino acids, check out collagen peptides. BUBS Naturals Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed cows and are full of amino acids, including seven of the nine essential amino acids, including isoleucine (with up to 300 mg).

You don’t need to buy a fancy isoleucine supplement to source the isoleucine your body needs to build muscle and fight disease. Adhering to a well-rounded diet, one rich in protein from a variety of sources, will more than likely pump you full of the amino acids you need, isoleucine included.