Valine belongs to the group of amino acids with a branched molecule structure. These substances make up approximately 70 percent of all proteins in the human body.
However, this amino acid is not produced by the body, so it must be supplied with food or dietary supplements.
In 1901, the German chemist Emil Fischer, by hydrolysis of proteins, first isolated valine from casein. This amino acid owes its name to valerian. Today, this substance is known as an essential amino acid that stimulates the activity of the body, contributes to the formation and maintenance of its structural and functional integrity.
Valine is an aliphatic amino acid with a non-polar character. Closely associated with leucine and isoleucine, with which it has a number of common properties. These hydrophobic substances rarely take part in biochemical reactions, but play a crucial role in determining the three-dimensional structure of proteins. In addition, valine promotes the absorption of other amino acids.
Valine (L and D isomers) is also known as a glucogenic amino acid. That is, if necessary, the liver is able to transform this substance into glucose, which the muscles then use as an additional energy source. In addition, it serves as the starting "material" for the synthesis of vitamin B3 and penicillin.
Role in the body
Valine is an important substance for maintaining the functions of the body, in particular muscle health and the immune system.
Prevents muscle damage and supplies tissues with additional glucose needed to generate energy during physical activity. In combination with isoleucine and leucine, it promotes normal growth, tissue repair, regulates blood sugar and provides the body with energy.
This irreplaceable amino acid is significant for the central and autonomic nervous system, is important for the adequate flow of cognitive functions, is necessary for the proper functioning of the psyche. In addition, it is a substance that inhibits the transport of tryptophan through the blood-brain barrier.
Valine is essential for liver function. In particular, it removes potentially toxic excess nitrogen from the body. It also helps in the treatment of the gall bladder, liver (with cirrhosis, hepatitis C) and other organs affected by alcoholism or drug addiction. It is an effective prophylactic against encephalopathy or brain damage caused by excessive drinking. It has antiviral properties. It is the precursor of penicillin.
Functions and benefits of valine
Valine has many advantages. This amino acid is a real salvation for people suffering from insomnia and nervousness. It has also been proven effective in treating muscles and regulating the immune system. And those who want to lose weight, take this substance as a remedy for excessive appetite.
Other properties of valine:
- An essential amino acid with a stimulating effect is necessary for muscle metabolism, growth, tissue repair and proper coordination.
- Being glucoamino acid, it provides the body with extra glucose.
- Useful for treating the liver and gall bladder.
- Helps to adjust the balance of amino acids in the body (for example, with addiction).
- Promotes mental activity, maintains a calm mood, relieves depression.
- It is important for regulating the concentration of nitrogen in the body.
- Before entering the bloodstream, it is not processed by the liver.
- It is found in high concentration in muscle tissue.
- Any acute physical stress, as well as surgical interventions, is the reason for increasing the daily norm of valine, leucine, isoleucine.
- Facilitates getting rid of alcohol and drug addiction.
- Improves the condition in multiple sclerosis.
- It is necessary for people with increased sensitivity to temperature changes.
Valine for bodybuilders
But, perhaps, the greatest benefits of valine are experienced by athletes, in particular bodybuilders. For athletes, this amino acid is important as a substance to restore muscle tissue, accelerate metabolism and increase stamina. Bodybuilders use valine together with isoleucine and leucine, which contributes to faster muscle growth, the supply of additional energy. In addition, the amino acid helps easy recovery from injuries or overstrain.
The total demand for valine is approximately 2-4 g.
A more accurate individual dosage can be calculated by the formula: 10 mg of amino acid per 1 kg of weight (or 26 mg of substance per 1 kg - when it is necessary to increase the dose).
However, individuals with liver or kidney dysfunction should not use valine in the form of a dietary supplement without consulting a doctor. High doses of amino acids can aggravate the course of diseases. Also, to reduce the intensity of consumption of valine should persons with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and in the presence of sickle cell anemia. But diabetes, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, insufficient production of enzymes, on the contrary, impair the absorption of amino acids by the body.
Amino acid deficiency
Despite the fact that the stocks of valine are easy to replenish from food, cases of amino acid deficiency are known. The lack of this substance affects the quality of myelin (the sheath of nerve cells), and also causes degenerative neurological diseases. A lack of amino acid manifests itself in the form of the so-called "maple syrup" disease (occurs in people whose body is unable to absorb leucine, isoleucine and valine). The unusual name of the disease is explained very simply: in such patients, urine acquires the smell of maple syrup.
In addition, an experiment in rats showed that with a lack of valine, lipid formations appear in the liver tissues. Also, amino acid deficiency can indicate hair loss, weight loss, stunting, leukopenia or hypoalbuminemia (the level of albumin in the blood decreases sharply). Also, damage to the mucous membranes, arthritis, memory problems, depression, muscle atrophy, sleep disturbances, weakened immunity are possible.
People in whose diet there is not enough protein food, as well as people who are professionally involved in sports, in order to avoid valine deficiency should take care of its additional intake in the form of dietary supplements.
Overdose: what is the danger
Consumption of valine in too high doses can lead to hallucinations and a feeling of "goosebumps." Regular overdoses also cause liver and kidney dysfunction, increase the level of ammonia in the body. Minor overdoses of the substance cause allergic reactions, nervousness, indigestion and blood clotting.
Valine is an essential amino acid, which means that there is an urgent need for replenishment of substances with food.
In high concentration, the amino acid is found in foods:
- animal origin: meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken), fish, squid, dairy products, various types of cheeses;
- vegetable origin: lentils, peanuts, soybeans, mushrooms, sesame seeds and pumpkins, greens, whole grains, beans, cornmeal, peas, beans, sea kale.
|Product Name (100g)||Valine (mg)|
|Chicken breast, turkey||1660|
Eating dairy products and eggs, it is easy to get a daily dose of valine. The highest concentration of the substance is in cottage cheese, natural yogurt, in cheeses (Swiss, processed, goat, edam), as well as in milk and eggs. Among the seeds and nuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, as well as sunflower seeds, will be most useful. It is better to stop the choice among fish varieties on salmon, trout, halibut, and among protein-rich legumes - choose beans, lentils or chickpeas. Porcini mushrooms and cherries, as well as wild rice, millet, buckwheat and barley are ideal for vegetarians. But still, perhaps, the most easily absorbed valine from quail eggs and walnuts.
Interaction with other substances
Have you decided to take valine as a dietary supplement? Then it is important to know the rules of use and combinations of amino acids in order to get the most benefit.
First and foremost, valine should always be taken in combination with two other amino acids - leucine and isoleucine. Perfect balance: 2 mg of leucine and valine for every milligram of isoleucine.
The second thing you should not forget: on the way to the blood-brain barrier, valine competes with tyrosine and tryptophan. This means that the higher the level of valine in the body, the less tyrosine and tryptophan are contained in brain cells. Given these amino acid "competitions", tyrosine and tryptophan should be taken no earlier than an hour before or after taking valine.
Third tip. This amino acid goes well with polyunsaturated fatty acids and the "right" carbohydrates (cereals, granola, wholemeal products).
And the fourth rule is the combination of nutrients. Valine deficiency complicates the absorption of all other amino acids necessary for the body.
Adhering to these tips, you can not worry about a possible deficiency of valine.