Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering…
Once a small industry and not well known to the general population, bodybuilding has become a mass market within the health and fitness world. When it first started gaining popularity, the main focus was packing on size and mass. As the industry has evolved, it’s focus has shifted from only attempting to reach maximum gains into holding precedence for attaining both functional looks, and by doing so in a healthy and well-rounded way. Bodybuilders spend years working to achieve the perfect physique through intense training and discipline. What once was all about time spent in the gym over the years has changed up the focus to be more well-rounded, incorporating dietary and supplemental means of achieving that ideal physique. One such supplement that has become more popular among this group of people is L-norvaline.
What is L-Norvaline?
L-norvaline is a uniquely structured and water-soluble essential amino acid that is derived from the branch chain amino acid, valine (x). It is an isomer that branches out from valine and is commonly taken to aid in fueling muscle growth. L-norvaline supports the body’s arginine concentrations. Arginine is an enzyme that is key to forming nitric oxide (NO). The primary purpose of L-norvaline is to assist in the regulation of NO and blood flow (x).
So, how does this apply to lifting? When you lift, the blood vessels dilate and cause blood pressure to reduce. This is what many know as vasodilation (x). With L-norvaline in the mix, it increases vasodilation and allows for greater pumps that will last longer. By increasing vasodilation, more nutrient-dense blood flows throughout the muscles for extended periods, giving more oxygen and energy to get extra lifts, while also affecting your recovery in a positive way. All of this together aids in producing better long-term results.
There are certain checks and balances within the body to ensure proper function of all our necessary systems. The body is a fantastic symphony that, when healthy, works in harmony to create an ideal melodic tone. These checks and balances work specifically for L-norvaline as well. While the body is creating NO, at the same time, enzymes are being produced to inhibit and cap off the levels of NO within the body. L-norvaline, however, can step into this counteraction and block the NO from being capped off, allowing more NO to be created and released into the body. With these increases in NO, you can expect heightened muscle pumps, enhanced muscle recovery and overall improved athletic performance.
Sources of L-Norvaline
Like all essential amino acids, the body is not able to produce it on its own, which means that L-norvaline needs to be obtained through food and supplementation. Because L-norvaline is part of aline, adequate protein intake is necessary for proper L-norvaline consumption. However, if you are a bodybuilder or highly athletic individual, there may be a good reason for upping your L-norvaline intake (within doctor recommended limits).
One can find L-norvaline in many pre-workout supplement mixes, drinks and powders. Some blend it with other compounds and supplements show beneficial effects to those with athletic lifestyles. These pre-workout mixes typically utilize arginine to enlarge veins and also to create NO to encourage a surge in blood and oxygen to the various muscle groups. This process bolsters the ‘pump,’ which is usually what individuals are looking to get out of taking pre-workout supplements.
Aside from the bodybuilding benefit mentioned above, there are other benefits that come with taking L-norvaline. Although the excess blood flow is one of the top reasons for taking this essential amino acid, it is good to understand how else this compound can improve your day-to-day life.
Increases Energy and Blood Flow
Already mentioned, when NO production increases, blood vessels become dilated for extended periods. When this occurs, extra blood flows throughout the body and enables core body temperature to remain more balanced. If the core body temperature is higher than usual, the body’s natural response is to cool itself down. Good blood flow makes that process easier and utilizes less energy to cool the body down. When your body uses less energy in one area, it can use it in other areas, such as pushing the intensity of your workouts and extending energy levels and stamina.
L-norvaline is able to synthesize perindopril, which is an ACE inhibitor. ACE stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme and is part of one class of antihypertensives (x). These medications are taken regularly to aid in lowering blood pressure by encouraging blood vessels to relax and widen, which stimulates the free flow of nutrient-rich blood. ACE inhibitors are commonly prescribed to patients who have hypertension to lower blood pressure and encourage healthy flow throughout the body.
Because nitric oxide production aids in blood flow, it is also critical in creating pathways within the blood flow for penile erections (x). When the male body can produce more NO, this increase in blood flow enters the penis and the blood sinuses found in much of the penis volume. This increase in the blood sinuses then acts to compress the veins, which drains the blood from the penis. This uptick of inflow and outflow are what causes an erection and assists it in lasting longer.
Norvaline and Bodybuilding
L-norvaline is a benefactor for the body’s arginine concentration levels. Its primary purpose within the body is to assist in the regulation of NO and blood flow. From a bodybuilding perspective, it’s easy to see how this essential amino acid is beneficial for an individual with an active lifestyle.
Strength training and exercise, in general, can create inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation levels are even higher in individuals who are just starting their lifting regimine. L-norvaline may have certain anti-inflammatory capabilities that could help combat the inflammation caused by lifting (x). By increasing NO production and widening the blood vessels, the extra blood flow it brings lessens inflammation at a quicker rate, making recovery time faster and less painful. While L-norvaline doesn’t assist in the actual rebuilding of muscle tissue process, it can play a beneficial role for those who are looking to build muscle.
Where to get L-Norvaline
As mentioned previously, L-norvaline is an essential amino acid and the body is not able to produce it on its own. It needs to obtain it via foods and supplementation. L-norvaline is often present in a wide variety of foods. Here is a list of some of those foods:
Norvaline Side Effects
There is a significant lack of studies on L-norvaline versus its other essential amino acid counterparts. Because of this, there have not been any research-based reports on its side effects. With the small amounts of it that are present in foods, and because the levels of it in supplements are also within a healthy number, you do not have to worry much about side effects when taking it. However, it is good to note that those with blood pressure problems need to be careful when taking L-norvaline since it can potentially elicit negative symptoms due to its ability to increase blood flow. These symptoms to be aware of are:
- Light headedness
Overall, there is no need to be concerned by any of the potential side effects; but if you do have a history of blood pressure issues, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before beginning any L-norvaline supplementation.
Although L-norvaline is present in many of the foods that we eat, the amounts are very small. Because of this, many take it in supplemental form if there is a desire to increase its levels. When taking L-norvaline powder, take 400 mg once daily.
Of course, not everyone’s body works the same. Doses may vary. A low dose of L-norvaline may not do much of anything for you, but a higher dose could become detrimental to your health. Be sure to talk to a doctor before adding this supplement to your regimen to determine an optimal dosage.
The Bottom Line
Unlike many other essential amino acids, L-norvaline is only necessary in minimal amounts for our bodies to get their daily intake. It would more than likely not even be noticed by an individual if their L-norvaline levels were lower than average, or higher than average. A trickier essential amino acid to track, and even more delicate due to its limited research studies, it’s a case of “the more you know” to ensure that you are consuming adequate levels of L-norvaline for your specific lifestyle and medical history. If you are a bodybuilder looking to improve your regimen, consult with your health professional and research different pre-workout supplements to see which ones will work best for you.
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.