The Pro Creator By Hany Rambod As seen in Muscular Development (December 2010) Hany, I have been hearing a lot about L-Leucine being a valuable supplement for bodybuilders to use before, during, and after training. Why should I use it, and what's the best source? If you've been reading my column for a while, you know that I'm a big believer in BCAA's, but especially the amino acid L-Leucine. Numerous studies have now shown it to be an 'anabolic trigger' of sorts. Perhaps more importantly, studies show that L-Leucine exerts powerful anti-catabolic properties, preventing muscle loss during periods of hard training, stress, and when dieting to lose bodyfat, all of which pretty much describes the typical bodybuilder's contest prep phase. You do need to know that all L-Leucine is not created equally, as there are different ways to derive it. Most of the L-Leucine on the market comes from China, and is extracted from either human hair or chicken feathers - really. The downside to those sources is that they tend to contain higher amounts of contaminants. Basically, traces of those will remain in the hair or feathers. If you're familiar with current drug-testing procedures such as often seen in the workplace, hair samples are now used to detect recent drug use. An alternate method of deriving L-Leucine is the fermentation process. A bacteria, which itself is often so specialized as to produce a specific amino acid chain that it's patented, feeds off an animal or vegetable source and multiplies. The amino acid is then separated. Many pharmaceutical-grade drugs are produced in this way, such as GH, insulin, and IGF-1. In the case of L-Leucine production, the bacteria is usually introduced to sugar cane, as this has been found to speed up the process. I've overly simplified this process due to space limitations and for the sake of brevity, but this is how the pharmaceutical-grade L-Leucine used in most research studies is produced. It has far less risk of impurities or contaminants. I would personally only trust L-Leucine sources made with the fermentation process, which is why it's the source I used for the L-Leucine in both EVP and Cell K.E.M. by Evogen Nutrition. It is a little more expensive, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for with supplements. Our L-Leucine has actually gone through an additional step, an ultra-solubility process that speeds up the absorption rate. I'll explain why that's critical in an upcoming column.