Valine was discovered in 1901 by a German scientist named Emil Fischer. It is known as a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) along with leucine and isoleucine, and is one of 10 essential amino acids that our bodies require. Although our bodies are not able to synthesize valine, we are able to get our daily recommended intake from dietary sources or via vitamin supplements.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests a daily intake of 26 milligrams of valine for each kilogram of body weight per person. Some excellent dietary sources of valine are beans, beef, brown rice, cheese (cottage cheese in particular), eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, poultry, seaweed, sesame seeds and soy. Although fruits and vegetables are not really considered to be good sources of valine, some do have higher amounts than others, such as potatoes, broccoli, and (to a lesser degree) bananas and oranges.
Why Is Valine Important
Valine is an essential amino acid that is crucial for maintaining proper cell and organ functioning. It is particularly important for gall bladder and liver function, as well as balancing nitrogen levels in the body. Valine is also valuable for cognitive, immune and nervous system functioning. In addition, it acts as a stimulant, maintains blood sugar levels and promotes muscle growth and repair. A deficiency in valine could lead to myelin sheath damage, muscle deterioration, declined cognitive functioning, decreased absorption of proteins by the gastrointestinal tract, insomnia and hypersensitive skin; however, a valine deficiency is quite uncommon.
Potential Valine Health Benefits
Valine has been shown to have numerous health benefits. It promotes muscle growth and repair, helps to decrease stress and sleeplessness, and can act as an appetite suppressant. It has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and has been used in treatment of brain trauma. In addition, it can be used as part of a treatment regimen for gall bladder and liver disease. In particular, valine can be helpful in treating liver damage due to alcohol and drug abuse; however, be sure to consult your physician prior to starting any kind of treatment plan.