Leucine (abbreviated as Leu or L) is a branched-chain α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCH(NH2)CH2CH(CH3)2. Leucine is classified as a hydrophobic amino acid due to its aliphatic isobutyl side chain. It is encoded by six codons (UUA, UUG, CUU, CUC, CUA, and CUG) and is a major component of the subunits in ferritin, astacin, and other ‘buffer’ proteins. Leucine is an essential amino acid, meaning that the human body cannot synthesize it, and it therefore must be ingested.