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L-Leucine Helps Diamond–Blackfan Anemia

By David Liu, PHD

Sunday July 15, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking a dietary supplement called L-leucine may help Diamond-Blackfan anemia, according to a new study released July 12, 2012 in the journal Blood.

The study led by P. Jaako of Lund University in Lund, Sweden and colleagues showed administration of L-leucine significantly improved the anemia in Rps 19-deficient Diamond Blackfan Anemia mice. Specifically leucine supplementation improved the hemoglobin concentration by 19 percent and increased the number of erythrocytes by 18 percent.

Diamond–Blackfan anemia (DBA), also known as Blackfan–Diamond anemia and Inherited erythroblastopenia, is a congenital erythroid aplasia that usually hits babies. DBA patients have low red blood cell counts (anemia), according to wikipedia.

The study also found "the therapeutic response to L-leucine appeared specific for Rps19-deficient hematopoiesis and was associated with downregulation of p53 activity."

The researchers concluded "Our study supports the rationale for clinical trials of L-leucine as a therapeutic agent for DBA."

L-leucine is a naturally occurring amino acid, which is found in foods with animal or plant proteins and also available as a dietary supplement.  It is commonly used to help maintain muscle, weight loss and boost good cholesterol levels.