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What is L-Valine?

L-valine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA). Other branched chain amino acids are isoleucine and leucine. Valine is an aliphatic amino acid that is closely related to leucine and isoleucine both in structure and function.

Valine differs from threonine by replacement of the hydroxyl group with a methyl substituent. Valine is often referred to as one of the amino acids with hydrocarbon side chains, or as a branched chain amino acid. A German scientist, Emil Fischer discovered Valine in 1901.

It is an essential amino acid and can not be prepared by the body. Valine is a constituent of fibrous protein in the body. Valine contributes to the structure of proteins into which it has been incorporated by the tendency of its side chain to participate in hydrophobic interactions.

Valine is incorporated into proteins and enzymes at the molar rate of 6.9 percent when compared to the other amino acids.

Valine functions, uses, and health benefits:
As a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), valine has been found useful in treatments involving muscle, mental, and emotional upsets, and for insomnia and nervousness.

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen (a storage form of carbohydrate that can be converted into energy).

BCAAs serve as important fuel sources for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress. BCAAs may promote protein synthesis, suppress protein catabolism and serve as substrates for gluconeogenesis. The BCAAs valine and leucine play an important role in stress, energy and muscle metabolism.

These two amino acids are used directly by skeletal muscle as energy sources and are thought to have anabolic properties. This means they help promote protein production, storage and muscle growth.

Valine may help treat malnutrition associated with drug addiction. Valine is also helpful in synthesis of glucose in liver especially during anaerobic activities (activities without proper amount of oxygen intake).

Dietary sources of valine:
Food sources of valine include soy flour, cottage cheese, fish, grains, mushrooms and peanuts, meats, and vegetables.

Valine dosage, intake:
Valine supplements should be taken together with leucine and isoleucine, the other two branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Young adults need about 23 mg of this amino acid per day per kilogram (10 mg per lb) of body weight.

Valine deficiency:
Valine deficiency results in negative hydrogen balance in the body, deterioration of muscle function and mental health, insomnia, and skin hypersensitivity.

Low level of valine and other branched chain amino acids it can result in maple syrup urine disease. Some symptoms of valine deficiency include loss of balance during locomotion, changes in the ventral horn and susceptibility to irritation allergens.

Toxicity, side effects, interactions, and contraindications:
Valine overdose leads to hallucination and crawling sensation on skin, headaches, and emotional agitation. People with kidney or liver disease should not consume high amounts of amino acids without consulting their doctor.


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