Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) Contains Leucine (Essential Amino Acid)

(*) See References and Disclaimer at the bottom of the page. 

Nopal cactus (prickly pear) contains leucine and is one of the three branched-chain-amino-acids (BCAA's); this group also includes valine and isoleucine(1*).

Leucine aids in blood-sugar regulation, production of the growth hormone, energy, regulation, wound healing and the repairing of muscle tissue(2*). Leucine is one of the most important amino acids for building muscle, as it is the only one that can stimulate protein synthesis in the muscle tissue(3*). Dietary intake of leucine in rats has been shown to successfully increase protein synthesis in muscle mass as well as slow the loss of muscle tissue. In other words, the leucine created more muscle and kept it around for longer(4*).

Leucine could also be used as a therapy for people who have phenylketonuria: a condition in which the amino acid, phenylalanine, cannot be metabolized by the body(5*). Leucine deficiency symptoms include hypoglycemia, irritability, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness(6*).

Sources of Leucine

Meat, Nuts, Whole Wheat and Nopal Cactus (Prickly Pear) from Natural Home Cures Freeze Dried Nopal Powder Capsules (Prickly Pear).

     Source References
(1) Wikipedia: Leucine
(2) WebMD: Leucine
(3) Science Daily: Can Leucine Help Burn Fat and Spare Muscle Tissue During Exercise?
(4) The Biology Project: Leucine

(5) "About" Chemistry: Leucine
(6) PubMed: Leucine Supplementation and Intensive Training