Valine


Valine is found in substantial quantities in most foods and is an essential part of many proteins. Other functions of valine are not really known, though it is thought to be somewhat helpful in treating addictions. A deficiency may affect the myelin covering of nerves. Valine can be metabolized to produce energy, which spares glucose. Like leucine and isoleucine, valine is a branched-chain amino acid with similar metabolic pathways. A potentially deadly hereditary disease, commonly called the “maple syrup urine disease,” blocks the metabolism of these three amino acids. In children affected with this disease, keto acids are dumped into the urine, making it smell like maple syrup. The amino acid deficiencies that result cause problems with the nervous system, seizures, and a failure to thrive. Valine supplementation may be helpful in muscle building (along with isoleucine and leucine) and in liver and gallbladder disease.

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Elson M. Haas MD Written by Elson M. Haas MD

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