BCAA with Leucine


Tap into leucine’s anabolic power with a 12:1:1 BCAA supplement

Our bodies need amino acids to create new proteins and repair and rebuild muscles after hard training sessions. 

To get these amino acids, our bodies break down complete proteins from our meals and supplements into these constituent building blocks. These amino acids then circulate throughout our bodies to build muscle and drive other important biological processes. 

All the aminos

There are 20 standard amino acids that are most relevant to gym-goers, nine of which are considered essential because the body cannot produce them from other compounds.

As such, we need to meet our body’s essential amino acid (EAA) requirements from whole-food and supplements.

Among these EAAs, there are the three with a branch-like structure, namely leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. You can get all of these amino acids in intelligently-formulated supplements like Primal BCAA 12:1:1.

The 12:1:1 ratio

The 12:1:1 refers to ratio of 12 parts leucine to one part isoleucine and valine. Research¹ shows that leucine is a potent activator of muscle protein synthesis compared to other BCAAs.

Higher leucine levels indicate to the body that there is sufficient dietary protein to create new muscle. This signals a specific gene to create more of an anabolic cell signalling messenger called mTOR, which is why many BCAA supplements include higher leucine contents in various ratios.

This research laid the groundwork for prioritising leucine in BCAA formulations, with products aimed at the hardcore bodybuilding market opting to leverage the anabolic potential of leucine with a 12:1:1 ratio.

While isoleucine and valine offer some muscle-building properties, their primary role in this context is to support the function of leucine.

Muscle-sparing benefits

BCAAs play important roles in limiting tissue damage during intense exercise, and help to repair and build muscle tissue. The muscle-sparing effect you get from BCAAs is an important attribute that makes these products ideal for use before and during training.

These supplements provide free-form amino acids, which offer a high bioavailability because the digestive system doesn’t have to break down complete proteins to get them. As such, BCAAs reach muscle cells quicker and get to work faster.

The energy factor

Once in the muscle cell, they are preferentially metabolised over other amino acids and converted into glucose to provide energy. This limits the body’s need to break down muscle tissue to access amino acids when glycogen levels run low, which is especially beneficial for endurance athletes.

A study² conducted at the School of Human Biology at University of Guelph in Canada, confirmed that ingesting BCAAs (up to 4g) during and after exercise could reduce muscle breakdown during exercise.

Better recovery

By limiting muscle tissue damage, supplementing with BCAAs may also blunt cortisol release, which is a powerful stress hormone that can hamper your recovery.

As such, BCAA supplements can reduce our recovery demands after exercise by limiting the damage caused, which may help ease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after training and could also help to boost performance at your next training session.


  1. Rehman SU, Ali R, Zhang H, Zafar MH, Wang M. Research progress in the role and mechanism of Leucine in regulating animal growth and development. Front Physiol. 2023 Nov 17;14:1252089. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1252089. PMID: 38046946; PMCID: PMC10691278.
  2. MacLean DA, Graham TE. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation augments plasma ammonia responses during exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1993 Jun;74(6):2711-7. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1993.74.6.2711. PMID: 8365971.

BCAA 12:1:1 Cherry Berry – 384g