What is Valine

Chemical Name: (S)-2-amino-3-methylbutanoic acid

Molecular Weight: 117.1

Structrual Formula:

Nitrogen Content: 11.96%

Valine (13,14)

  • L-Valine is a neutral, genetically coded amino acid. It is essential in human nutrition
  • Valine is an amino acid obtained by hydrolysis of proteins
  • Valine i s not only an essential amino acid but is also a branched-chain amino acid BCAAs (the others are isoleucine and leucine) found in high concentration in the muscles
  • It has a stimulating effect and is needed for muscle metabolism, repair and growth of tissue and maintaining the nitrogen balance in the body
  • Since it is a branched-chain amino acid, it can be used as an energy source in the muscles, and in doing so preserves the use of glucose
  • Many amino acids become deficient with drug addiction, and here Valine also plays an important role
  • There are indications that it may also be beneficial in treating or reversing hepatic encephalopathy, or alcohol related brain damage, as well as degenerative neurological conditions

Valine in Food

Valine can be found in dairy, meat, grain, mushrooms, soy and peanuts

Valine and muscles tissues (322)

  • Valine is needed for muscle metabolism, tissue repair, and the maintenance of a proper nitrogen balance in the body
  • Valine is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue. It is one of the branched-chain amino acids, which means that it can be used as an energy source by muscle tissue, and in doing so preserves the use of glucose
  • Valine is often used by bodybuilders, (in conjunction with leucine and isoleucine), to promote muscle growth, tissue repair and energizer, although little scientific evidence supports these claims
  • Studies have however shown that these three substances might be useful in restoring muscle mass in people with liver disease, injuries, or who have undergone surgery


Valine and hepatic encephalopathy (323, 324)

  • It has been theorized that some of the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy are due to the accumulation of false neurotransmitters in the brain resulting, in part, from alterations in plasma levels of BCAAs
  • Valine is one of the Branched Amino acids , may improve encephalopathy symptoms in some by decreasing the accumulation of these false neurotransmitters and perhaps other substances involved in the encephalopathy
  • The pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy is very complex and still poorly understood.

Deficiency of Valine (325)

  • Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) is caused by the inability to metabolize leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The disease is so named because urine from affected people smells like maple syrup. A deficiency may affect the myelin covering of the nerves
  • During period of Valine deficiency, all of the other amino acids (and protein) are less well absorbed by the GI tract

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake (61)

  • Very high levels of valine can cause symptoms such as a crawling sensation on the skin, as well as hallucinations
  • Individuals with kidney or liver disease should be careful in consuming high intakes of amino acids without consulting their doctor


  • 322) Gore DC, Wolfe RR. Metabolic response of muscle to alanine, glutamine, and valine supplementation during severe illness. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2003 Sep-Oct;27(5):307-14.
  • 323) Blomstrand E, Ek S, Newsholme EA. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on plasma and muscle concentrations of amino acids during prolonged submaximal exercise. Nutrition 1996;12:485—90.
  • 324) Grungreiff K, Kleine FD, Musil HE, Diete U, Franke D, Klauck S, Page I, Kleine S, Lossner B, Pfeiffer KP. Valine and branched-chain amino acids in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy. Z Gastroenterol. 1993 Apr;31(4):235-41.
  • 325) Farran MT, Thomas OP. Valine deficiency. 2. The effect of feeding a valine-deficient diet during the starter period on performance and leg abnormality of male broiler chicks. Poult Sci. 1992 Nov;71(11):1885-90.
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