Stacking Leucic Acid (HICA) With BCAAs to Fight Muscle Catabolism
Editor’s note: This article by Bob Kupinewski originally appeared at Machine Muscle.
HICA, or leucic acid, stands for “Alpha-Hydroxy-Isocaproic Acid”. Many readers may not understand what HICA is and what it does, and that is why I wanted to write this article.
Supplements are always evolving. There are always new things being thrown into the mix. This is why I wanted to touch upon on the ingredient leucic acid, which has magical properties that really do make a difference to body composition. It is best utilized best in BCAA products, because they are a leucine activator.
HICA aids with leucine metabolism in human tissues. Many PubMed studies show this. they will be referenced later in this article.
It also aids other anti-catabolic substances. When stacked with BCAAs, such as Machine fuel from MTS Nutrition, HICA has been shown to aid body composition, delay of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which can happen during training and also increase physical performance.
These anti-catabolic benefits are also found in creatine, beta-alanine, and citrulline malate. Stacking HICA with each of these supplements may be wise.
Should You Stack Leucic Acid?
Would HICA be a good ingredient to stack with other supplements? Absolutely.
If you are an athlete or gym rat that wants to see benefits, I would suggest looking into a HICA-based BCAA or a thermogenetic like Alphamine by PES. Alphamine contains Cor-BCAAs as well (it also has some stims in there which is around 125mg of caffeine) but is a very effective product for weight loss and body composition.
Bulk HICA may not taste great, as many bulk products don’t, but it can best be utilized either pre-workout or intra-workout with your BCAA beverage. It would also be beneficial to stack with your BCAAs intra-workout or post-workout.
6 grams of citrulline malate (CM) pre-workout with 5g of creatine thrown into the mix will aid ATP levels and help with muscle saturation. Mix in 10g of BCAA, or a product such as Cor-Performance BCAAs by Cellucor that already give you 4g of citrulline malate and 3.2 grams of BCAAs, and you are pretty much set by adding 1.5g of HICA.
Science behind HICA
Now that you understand the benefits of HICA and how to set up the dosing, let’s move into the science behind it and what it can truly do.
A 2010 study performed in Finland examined athletes and their overall performance with the inclusion of HICA into their supplement stack. This study took 15 male soccer players during a 4-week study of intensive workout and measured their overall performance and endurance.
The dosing they used was 1.5g of HICA spread it into 3 separates drinks during the sessions. The final output was that body composition was evaluated before and after the 4 week period. The Lean Body Mass (LBM) of the individuals increased by over 400g. The overall DOMS was reduced by the 3rd workout in the first week, and both muscle and strength increased slightly during the HICA group compared to the placebo group.
When HICA is studied in more detail, we learn that an amino acid called “Alphic Kic” stands tall. In essence, KIC is the keto acid of leucine (HICA is the prime metabolite). The data on HICA is a lot more convincing, as it improved body composition, but there is evidence that KIC improves recovery and nitrogen retention as well when confounded by HMB.
I have run Labrada HICA Max at 4 caps a day for 2 tubs. I highly recommend that dosage based on both HICA content and the incredible taste.
I am not sure it is fair to quantify lean body mass gain, but my body composition was fairly good during that period and regressed afterwards through a combination of stress and diet.
While HICA is not a well-known supplement, or involved in many supplements, it does have its benefits. In my opinion it will be a breakthrough ingredient in the future.
Since it is currently only in a few supplements, given their blends, I am confident it will make its way into others given time and more research. Research is still being done, and our opinion of leucic acid will continue to evolve.
I am hopeful that this article will enlighten not only those who are new to HICA, but also people who are currently taking supplements with HICA.
If you are looking for a great way to amplify your BCAAs, add HICA or use a product containing HICA. This addition will be a great way to increase leucine activation, which has been shown by Layne Norton to benefit muscle protein synthesis when meals are eaten 4-6 hours apart.