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Valine (HO2CCH(NH2)CH(CH3)2)

Valine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids (the other two being leucine and isoleucine). Valine also falls into the category of essential amino acids, which means the human body cannot synthesize valine therefore we must gain all valine through dietary means. Valine, and other branched-chain amino acids, is found in the human body in high concentrations in muscles. It is obtained by the hydrolysis of proteins, during protein digestion. It was first isolated from casein in the very early 1900’s. Since then, we have found valine is a pretty important nutrient when it comes to repairing and healing the body.

Valine has a stimulating effect and is needed for muscle metabolism, repair and growth of tissue and maintaining the nitrogen balance in the human body. Valine, because it is a branched-chain amino acid, can be used as an energy source in the muscles. In doing so, the use of glucose is preserved for other important tasks in the body.

Valine is great for supplementing alone or with leucine and isoleucine. Taking a supplement containing all three BCAA’s gives the entire package rather than just the benefits of valine. It is usually recommended that all BCAA’s be taken together for this very reason.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids are almost always given to patients after surgery and during chronic illness to improve healing and recovery. They are also used to help burn victims heal and recover due to their ability to help the skin heal. Valine plays a key role in regenerating muscle and skin tissue.

All three BCAA’s are metabolized in muscle tissue. They are highly anabolic (muscle-building) as well as anti-catabolic (prevent the breakdown of muscle). Athletes typically supplement their workout program with BCAA’s to delay fatigue and improve athletic performance. It is also beneficial to take BCAA’s when trying to build lean muscle mass as BCAA’s are found in protein and do not carry along unneeded fats or carbohydrates.

BCAA’s are a good supplement to take pre and post-workout as they help supply energy to the muscles before a work out and aid in muscle recovery after a good workout. They help improve mood and the performance of challenging tasks following an intense bout in the gym.

Good whole food sources for valine include dairy, meat, grain, mushrooms, soy and peanuts. As stated, valine can also be taken supplementally in the form of a capsule or a powder mixed in a medium. Look for valine alone, in a branched-chain amino acid supplement, or in a pre and post workout protein shake.