Isoleucine is a type of amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 amino acids in total, and nine of them are considered ‘essential’ amino acids. This is because it’s essential that we get them from our diet as the body cannot manufacture them itself. Isoleucine is one such essential amino acid.
The body requires isoleucine to manufacture lean muscle mass as it’s a branched chain amino acid that helps to form muscle tissue. It also helps to regulate energy use, plays a role in the manufacture of red blood cells and helps to support a healthy immune system.
Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are known as complete protein foods. Most animal-based foods including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products contain complete protein. Complete plant-based protein foods that contain isoleucine include soya products such as tofu, grains including quinoa and buckwheat and the blue-green algae, spirulina.