What Is Norvaline?
Norvaline is a water soluble amino acid which is an isomer of a the branched chain amino acid (BCAA), Valine. Isomers are simply molecules with the same chemical composition but different structure. Norvaline is a common ingredient in pre workout supplements thanks to their ability to support improved blood flow and thus the pump.
Where Does Norvaline Come From?
Norvaline is said to be found naturally in foods such as meats, dairy, grains, legumes and nuts. Supplemental Norvaline is produced synthetically, however it can also be produced by bacteria such as E. coli, which are often present in the normal flora of the gut.
Very little research has been performed on Norvaline, however it is most well known for its ability to inhibit arginase. This enzyme is what breaks down and removes arginine by transforming it into urea. Arginine is considered a precursor to nitric oxide and Norvaline helps to preserve the amount of arginine in the body. This can help to improve blood flow, but can also aid in the health of those suffering chronic conditions and illnesses such as hypertension and type II diabetes. This is because these conditions will often lead to an increase in the amount of the enzyme arginase.
Norvaline Benefits for Bodybuilding
Norvaline’s ability to increase endogenous levels of arginine is why it is often found in pre workout supplements. As previously mentioned, arginine helps to increase nitric oxide levels in the body, which can boost blood flow around the body. This can help to supply our muscles with vital oxygen and nutrients to help benefit performance and training. Norvaline can also help support the ‘Pump’, which is a much sought after cosmetic effect of using some pre workout supplements.
Norvaline Side Effects, Negatives & Safety
Due to the lack of studies regarding Norvaline, there are no purported negative side effects to its use. The levels found in supplements are definitely safe to use however and no negative issues have ever been reported. As the ingredient can increase blood flow, it may elicit symptoms such as light headedness or dizziness, but again, these have never been shown.
Norvaline Recommended Dosage & Ingredient Timing
There are no official recommendations for supplementing with Norvaline. However, theoretically it should be taken around 30-45 minutes prior to training and at a dose of at least 100mg per serve.
Norvaline can easily be found in pre workout supplements, especially ones that focus on supporting pump. These include popular pre workouts such as Pro Supps Dr Jekyll, iForce Nutrition Hemavol, RSP Regen, Giant Sports Giant Pump and Dedicated Nutrition Unstoppable.
1. Chang, C., Liao, J.C., Kuo, L. (1998). Arginase modulates nitric oxide production in activated macrophages . American Journal of Physiology , 274(1), 342-348.
2. Ming XF, Rajapakse AG, Carvas JM, Ruffieux J, Yang Z. ‘Inhibition of S6K1 accounts partially for the anti-inflammatory effects of the arginase inhibitor L-norvaline.’ BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2009 Mar 13;9:12.