Know Your Nutrients: Valine

So far we have gone over some of the amino acids responsible for things like fat metabolism and keeping mental function going. Today we will go into one of the most important amino acids for keeping another aspect of your body running: your muscles.

Muscle Metabolism and Nitrogen Balance

As a branched chain amino acid, Valine plays a very important role in muscle metabolism. It is estimated that roughly 33% of the amino acids present in muscle tissue are valine. Long story short, you will have a very hard time recovering from any physical activity without an ample supply of valine.

As we know, one of the key elements of a protein is nitrogen. The ability to metabolize nitrogen within the body becomes very important for the maintenance of the proteins which make up the muscles and connective tissues in the body. In addition, excess nitrogen is processed by the liver which can be very taxing. Valine helps shuttle amino acids (and thus nitrogen) effectively in the body which prevents nitrogen balance. Studies have concluded that it is metabolically essential in this role.

In addition to helping the body recover from physical stress, valine helps out with tissue repair in general. This has been shown in burn victims as well as a number of other applications.

Mental Effects

Valine is important for the mind as well as the body. Deficiency in valine has been shown to cause the breakdown of the elastic layer surrounding nerves, myelin. Without proper protection of nerves, there are a number of negative effects. Lack of coordination has been observed in a number of studies after depletion of valine for a number of weeks. A common side effect reported in humans is insomnia, hyperexcitability and irritability. Due to it’s role in the maintenance of myelin, it is critical to the mental development of young children and infants.

Survival implications

We all know that maintaining physical fitness is critical to being able to bug out properly and defend oneself. The ability to regroup as quickly as possible will ensure you are covering as much ground as possible. After all, getting out of dodge is a time sensitive issue and there can be serious consequences to not leaving in time.

Considering raiders, looters and undesirable aspects of human nature following a collapse, repair is essential. In the unfortunate event of taking a hit in self defense, amino acids like valine are essential to getting back into fighting shape as soon as possible. Regardless of the outcome, self-defense is physically taxing as well – and will require the repair of muscles if nothing else.

Finally, the mental benefits of valine cannot be overlooked. A post-collapse world is going to be stressful to begin with, adding in insomnia and hyperexcitability will not make it any better for you or your group. In stressful situations it pays to be easy to get along with when it comes to keeping a group together.


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by JP Martin