Amino Acid Valine: Structure, Properties, Function And Benefits

The amino acid valine is one of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). It’s a stimulant so good as a pre-workout supplement. Valine is also effective for muscle repair, which is critical for workout recovery.

Amino acids symbol

Are you looking for a dietary supplement? If so then you should consider the amino acid valine. Fun Fact: A German chemist discovered valine over a century ago in 1901. Valine is one of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have been trending in recent years. When picking amino acid supplements it’s important to know facts like their function, sources, side-effects, etc. This will help you to know the pros and cons of valine. There are 20 amino acids. Valine is one of BCAAs and essential amino acids (EAAs) that makeup about half the total aminos, which also include non-essential amino acids (NEAAs).

The other two BCAAs include Leucine and Isoleucine. Leucine in particular is well-known since the human body requires about 40mg per day. That’s the highest amount among all EAAs. While Valine is less known it’s also an important amino acid that’s one of the BCAAs. These amino acids are named for their structure that branches off to one side. BCAAs are important for various functions including muscle building and repair. So your body must have enough of all amino acids including valine. There are various other possible benefits of BCAAs including weight loss, delayed fatigue, and lower blood pressure.

What Exactly Is Valine?

Valine is one of the “branched-chain” amino acids (BCAAs). These amino supplements have been trending in recent years and are some of the most popular ones for pre/post-workout supplements. That’s because they can fuel muscles and speed up workout recovery when people have sore muscles.

Valine was discovered over a century ago in the early 1900s. It was “isolated” by German chemist Emil Fischer. While many people today are unfamiliar with valine they’ve consumed it in foods/supplements since it’s one of the “essential” amino acids.

You can also consume valine in various foods like:

  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

If you want to boost your intake of valine then you should boost your intake of the above-mentioned foods. One of the main benefits of this option is you’ll be getting the amino acid from real food. This is always a better source versus supplements.

However, you can also boost your valine intake from BCAA supplements. This includes options like tablets/capsules, powders, and liquids.

This also provides more convenience. For example, if you’re out and about then capsules are more convenient. However, at home, you could prepare a smoothie/shake with BCAA powder.  

One main feature of valine is it’s an “essential” amino acid. In other words, the body doesn’t produce it. So we have to consume it through food and supplements.

 Like other amino acids, it’s important to avoid deficiencies. For example, if you do a lot of weight-resistance training or are on a low-fat diet then you’re at a greater risk of a deficiency. A low-fat diet could limit your body’s intake of the amino. Meanwhile, tough workouts could affect your body’s ability to fix muscle tissue.

However, it’s important to avoid consuming too much valine. This can cause various issues like lower liver function and hallucinations, which are side-effects you’ll want to avoid.

Top Uses/Benefits of Valine

Stress Management

This is an important feature due to modern life becoming increasingly complex. Some studies show that valine might help to reduce stress levels. This in turn can provide various health benefits related to blood pressure, heart health, brain function, etc.

Nitrogen

The amino acid valine might help to control the body’s nitrogen levels. This can provide various health benefits. This amino might be especially helpful for endurance athletes like long-distance runners. This is another of the possible benefits of valine so you should consider foods/supplements with valine.

Muscle Building

This is due to valine’s function as one of the BCAAs. These amino acids are critical for building lean muscle mass and muscle repair. So it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough daily valine. This can help to boost “protein synthesis,” which is a fancy term for muscle building.

This process requires enough of all 20 amino acids. However, aminos like BCAAs might be especially critical for building lean muscle mass. It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of all EAAs. That includes BCAAs, which make up one-third of all EAAs.

Muscle Repair

Valine is also important for repairing muscle soreness after a tough workout. It’s normal for you to experience sore muscles within a day or so. The sore muscles tend to take up to three days to repair. This “tear and repair” process is what builds muscle mass.

However, you can speed up the process with amino acids like BCAAs. That’s because they help to repair your muscle tissues.

Immune System

This is the body’s first line of defense against possible health issues like inflammation, infection, illness/disease, etc. Amino acids like valine might help to boost the immune system. So it’s one worth considering if you want to increase your body’s production from free radical molecules that attack healthy cells.

Top Foods with Valine

 Seeds

You get about 85% of your daily value of valine from options like pumpkin and squash. Seeds are also high in protein, vitamins/minerals, and fiber. Make sure to roast them and minimize salt for optimum nutrition. Other options include flax, chia, sesame, sunflower, and safflower.

Chicken

Make sure to go with lean chicken including chicken breast to get the best results in terms of valine. One serving of lean chicken offers about 90% daily value (DV) of the amino acid. In terms of overall health white meat is generally a better option versus red meat like pork and beef.

 Tuna

 This is one of the fatty fish that also include sardines, mackerel, trout, and herring. You get about 85% DV in one serving of tuna. Tuna is a fatty fish with a light taste. You can use it for tuna salad, grilled tuna steak, and oldie-but-goodie tuna salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

Tofu

Make sure to go with firm tofu for higher Valine content. One serving provides about half of the amino acid’s DV. Soybean is one of the few plant-based complete proteins. That’s because it’s higher than a particular amino acid that other beans are lower in. Soy itself can be used for several tasty foods like milk, cheese, and burgers.

Beef

 One serving of beef has over 90% of the amino acid. So with just one beef steak, you get nearly all of the valine you need for the whole day. This makes it one of the best sources of the amino.

To get the most nutrition, it’s best to go with organic and grass-fed beef. It increases the nutritional value. For example, studies show that grass-fed beef provides a higher level of healthy omega-3 fatty acids along with amino acid valine.

Amino acid valine

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