Isoleucine (amino acid)

Isoleucine has the second most important role in the branch chain amino acids combination. The others being leucine and valine. This amino acid is beneficial to the repair of muscles and increases endurance. It is broken down within muscle tissue making it available to the muscle as needed. This amino acid also assists in keeping blood sugar levels normal and aids in blood clot formation.

Deficiency can prevent the body from utilising protein efficiently as it is consumed. Signs of a deficiency are dizziness, fatigue, headache and irritability. Deficiency may be caused by Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) which is the inability to metabolise leucine, isoleucine and valine. The disease is so named because urine from affected people smells like maple syrup.

Isoleucine, leucine and valine are three amino acids which are often taken as a supplement to help to build muscles in body-builders. They can also have a beneficial effect upon individuals suffering from fatigue and depression.

Highest natural sources of isoleucine in milligrams per 100 grams

Spirulina (dried) 3209 mg

Chlorella (dried) 2300 mg

Pumpkin and squash seeds 1698 mg

Whelks 1655 mg

Cheddar cheese 1546 mg

Pheasant 1369 mg

Lamb’s liver 1316 mg

Calf’s liver 1274 mg

Quail 1233 mg

Tuna (tinned) 1175 mg

Beef (lean mince) 1171 mg

Caviar (fish roe) 1142 mg

Sunflower seeds 1139 mg

Lamb 1090 mg

Mackerel  (tinned) 1069 mg

Cod 1057 mg

Mussels 1036 mg

Rabbit (wild) 1034 mg

Salmon (Atlantic farmed) 1018 mg

Shrimp/prawns 1014 mg

Lobster 994 mg

Peanuts 978 mg

Black beans 954 mg

Venison 929 mg

Flaxseeds 896 mg

Crab 887 mg

Turkey 876 mg

Chicken 851 mg

Crayfish (wild) 847 mg

Soya beans 807 mg

Crayfish (farmed) 718 mg

NOTE: The intake of isoleucine must be balanced with foods containing the amino acids leucine and valine which are also protein rich foods.

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