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Leucine kinetics during three weeks at submaintenance-to-maintenance intakes of leucine in men: adaptation and accommodation


Leucine kinetics during three weeks at submaintenance-to-maintenance intakes of leucine in men: adaptation and accommodation



Human Nutrition. Clinical Nutrition 41(1): 1-18



ISSN/ISBN: 0263-8290

PMID: 3570858

Previous results of short-term diet studies of leucine kinetics have suggested that the currently accepted requirement value for the amino acid in adults is too low. In the present study the effects of a more prolonged diet period at low leucine intakes on leucine kinetics and nitrogen balance (NB) were explored in healthy young men. They (4 or 5 subjects per group) received an adequate leucine intake (80 mg/kg/d) for 1 or 2 weeks (Period 1) followed by either 7, 14 or 30 mg/kg/d for 3 weeks (Period 2) with a return to 80 mg/kg/d for 1 week (Period 3). Estimates of leucine fluxes (LF), oxidation (LO) and balance (LB) were based on a constant intravenous infusion of L-[1-13C]leucine, at end of Period 1, at 1 and 3 weeks of Period 2 and on days 1 and 3 of Period 3. At all three intakes LF and LO, during the fed state, fell between 1 and 3 weeks of Period 2. LB was negative at 1 week of Period 2 for all groups but had approached equilibrium by 3 weeks. N balance at 3 weeks was similar for all groups but during Period 3 was significantly higher (P less than 0.05) and markedly positive (+18 mgN/kg/d) for the 7 and 14 mg groups, compared with the 30 mg group (+4 mgN/kg/d), indicating that 'depletion' had occurred at the lower leucine intakes during Period 2. Our interpretation is that LB was approached by an adaptation in the 30 mg group whereas it was achieved in the 7 and 14 mg groups by an accommodation, associated with a reduced and low rate of leucine uptake into protein (LF minus LO). Thus, the leucine requirement was judged to be greater than 14 mg/kg/d, a level currently accepted as the upper range of the requirement for healthy adults. The significance of these findings for assessment of nutrient requirements is discussed, with emphasis on the limitation of NB measurements for evaluation of human amino acid requirements.

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Accession: 001628294

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