Valine - Definition, Function, Uses, Health Benefits, Top Foods, and Side Effects

It is an essential amino acid, which activates in synergy with isoleucine and leucine, three compounds that are considered the most important amino acids. It has the chemical formula HOOC-CH(NH2)CH(CH3)and is abbreviated as V or Val.

This amino acid differs from threonine by replacement of the hydroxyl group with a methyl substituent. It is usual referred to as one of the amino acids with hydrocarbon side chains or as a branched chain amino acid. L-Valine was isolated in 1901 by Emil Fischer, using hydrolysis of proteins.

Health benefits and uses of valine

It is an amino acid used by bodybuilders because in association with other two amino acids – isoleucine and leucine – can help increase muscle mass.

Prevents muscle loss

Also, it provides extra energy in the body, rebuilds muscle tissue, contributes to the healing process of wounds, helps maintain an appropriate level of nitrogen in the blood, fights against states of nervousness, stress and insomnia, improves physical strength, adjusts the level of nitrogen in the body, improves the body’s metabolism and immune system.

In addition, supplements of leucine, valine, and isoleucine help reduce muscle pains. They are used by athletes after hard training or by those who have done strenuous exercise for long periods of time. More importantly, it is known for inhibiting the transport of tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier and is a precursor in the penicillin biosynthetic mechanism.

The most benefit of this amino acid is for people who have a low-protein diet, practice physical exercise excessively, or are looking to gain muscle mass overall at a faster rate.

Gallbladder | Liver support 

It is recommended especially in cases of gallbladder and liver diseases, but also muscular disorders. It also has the ability to correct an amino acid deficiency, especially that are caused by drug addiction and alcoholism.

Boosts the immune system

It is widely accepted that essential amino acids play an important role in regulating the body’s immune response, plus, they have been found to have other important functions.

Improves cognitive function

According to some studies, consuming foods high in BCAAs restores the cognitive abilities and may set the stage for the 1st truly effective treatment for cognitive impairments suffered by patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Deficiency

If it is insufficient, there is a decrease in the absorption of nutritional principles from all food sources, a misuse of calories, muscle weakness, emotional lability, movement coordination problems, hypertension. Furthermore, a deficiency of this amino acid may affect the myelin covering of the nerves which may lead to life-threatening degenerative neurological disorders.

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In addition, a deficiency of this amino acid is usually found in elevated levels of insulin, hunger, Kwashiorkor, neurological disorders, and obesity. More importantly, a severe deficiency of this amino acid may result in the MSUD – maple syrup urine disease that causes the impairment in the metabolism of this amino acid along with the isoleucine and leucine.

In conclusion, this amino acid is essential for health, but also a good remedy in the treatment of various diseases.

Dosage

According to the WHO – World Health Organization, an adult requires a daily intake of 26 milligrams of this essential amino acid for each kilogram of body weight. Supplements with this amino acid should be taken together with isoleucine and leucine, the other 2 BCAAs – branched-chain amino acids. It is considered that for optimum absorption, you need two parts L-Valine and two parts L-Leucine for every 1 part L-Isoleucine.

Food sources

It is an essential amino acid that can not be biosynthesized by the body. It can only be obtained from food and nutritional supplements. The commercial production of this amino acid usually consists of fermenting a carbohydrate source.

If you don’t follow an intense training, there is no need to consume supplements unless a specialist advises you. Moreover, you should see a specialist if you have kidney problems (a high protein diet may worsen the condition).

The most important sources of this amino acid are – leafy greens, soy, grains, peanuts, lentils, mushrooms, nuts, beans, sesame seeds, spirulina, dried parsley, lentils, beans, chickpeas, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, dairy products, fish, eggs, etc.

Side effects of valine

Individuals with liver and/or kidney disease should not take this supplement. It should not be consumed in excess, as it can cause even hallucinations in severe cases.

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