It’s a common belief that carbohydrates are necessary for insulin release. This is true, carbohydrates do stimulate insulin release, but they are not the only compounds that do so.
Most people know that Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and specifically Leucine are important physiological regulators of metabolism and have an effect on muscle and muscle growth, but something that is not so well known is the effect that Leucine and the branched chain amino acids have on Insulin secretion. Leucine can stimulate insulin secretion from the beta cells in the pancreas.
Did you know that after an overnight fast even 1 gram of BCAA’s (containing 0.5 grams of leucine) can cause a small, temporary increase in insulin levels, peaking 15 to 30 minutes after intake.
This insulin increase is enough to decrease Plasma Free Fatty Acid concentrations, however it’s only able to slightly decrease blood glucose levels at this dosage.
Therefore even relatively small doses of the branch chain amino acids and leucine are able to signal for an increase in insulin in the human body.