- Proteins in our diet contain amino acids that are released in our gut
- They are then used by our bodies to build new proteins
- L-norvaline amino acid is not normally used to make proteins in humans
The protein supplement might be harming your body more than you know. According to a recent study people taking the protein supplement L-norvaline should be aware of its potential for harm.
L-norvaline is an ingredient widely used in bodybuilding supplements and is promoted as a compound that can boost workouts and aid recovery. According to the research, even at relatively low concentrations, the amino acid L-norvaline could make cells unhealthy and eventually kill them.
Proteins in our diet contain amino acids that are released in our gut and then used by our bodies to build new proteins. L-norvaline is one of the hundreds of amino acids that are not normally used to make proteins in humans.
In recent years the popularity of dietary supplements to enhance body strength and muscle performance has meant that many now contain lots of unusual amino acids that can do harm.
"Protein requirements are higher in very active individuals and proteins are considered to improve and increase performance. The demand for amino acids in supplements has expanded but in addition to the normal protein-building amino acids other 'non-protein' amino acids are being taken," said one of the researchers.
According to researchers, some non-protein amino acids are toxic because they can mimic protein amino acids and deceive the body into making faulty proteins; a property used by some plants to kill predators.
The findings were published in the Journal of Toxicology in Vitro.
Some plants can even release non-protein amino acids into the soil to kill other plants so that they can have access to all the nutrients. Chemical warfare among plants is a well-known phenomenon. Since there was evidence that L-norvaline has an anti-microbial and herbicidal activity we examined its toxicity in human cells.
According to the lead author of the study Ken Rodgers, the study revealed that L-norvaline while, it might initially allow cells to produce more energy, after a while the machinery of the cell that generates the energy is damaged. People are taking supplements such as this without really knowing much about what the long-term consequences might be.