Valeric acid overview
Valeric acid or valeric acid is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA). SCFAs, such as valeric acid and acetic acid (acetate), are carboxylic acids with short aliphatic tails. Valeric acid is extracted from the roots of the perennial flowering plant Valeriana officinalis. It can also be produced by some bacterial species in the intestinal microbiota, such as Clostridium and Megalococcus massei. This process occurs through anaerobic fermentation of carbon sources in indigestible foods.
Valeric Acid and Gastrointestinal Health
Valeric acid is one of many energy sources for the gut microbiota and is critical for gastrointestinal (GI) health. Valeric acid has a strong gastrointestinal protective effect. A study involving mice receiving high doses of radiation showed that valerate supplementation increased survival, improved gastrointestinal health, and enhanced tissue integrity in irradiated mice.
Valeric acid and neuroscience
Valeric acid also modulates brain function; it has recently been shown to play a role in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Several studies have reported altered gut microbiome composition in AD patients compared with healthy individuals. One potential mechanism is through the production of SCFA in the intestine. One study showed that two SCFAs, valerate and acetate, increased proinflammatory cytokine expression and endothelial damage in the brain. Increases in these two SCFAs compromise the integrity of the blood-tissue barrier, induce low-grade systemic inflammation, and promote the AD pathological cascade. 3 Therefore, interventions that modulate the gut microbiome and promote beneficial bacteria and bacterial metabolism may help prevent, slow down, or ameliorate neurodegeneration in AD.
Valeric acid and cosmetics
Industrially, valeric acid is mainly used in the synthesis of its esters. Esters are organic compounds formed by the reaction of alcohols and carboxylic acids. This reaction is called esterification. The ester of valerate is called valerate. Valerates tend to have a pleasant smell and are used in perfumes and cosmetics. Some valerates are used as food additives because of their fruity flavor.
How is valeric acid used in the food industry?
Valeric acid is a dietary supplement used as a flavoring in the food industry. It is used to add a sour, acidic flavor to foods such as candies, baked goods and beverages. It is also used as a preservative to help extend the shelf life of certain foods.
Valeric acid and drug development
Valerate (valerate) is also commonly used in medicines. Valerate is often combined with certain steroid drugs to increase their solubility and improve their absorption in the body. For example, a common steroid drug that uses valerate is betamethasone valerate, which is used to treat a variety of inflammatory and allergic conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. Another example is estradiol valerate, which is a form of estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy. Adding valeric acid to these steroid drugs helps improve their stability and enhance their therapeutic effects. Overall, valeric acid is an important ingredient in many steroid drugs, helping to increase their solubility and effectiveness, making them better able to treat a range of conditions.
What are the dangers of valeric acid?
Valeric acid is a dietary supplement extracted from the valerian plant. It is commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and other sleep disorders. However, it can also have some serious side effects. These symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea and stomach upset. It can also interact with certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, sedatives, and antidepressants. Long-term use of valerate can cause liver damage and can also cause irregular heartbeats. It is important to consult a doctor before taking any dietary supplement, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Examples of products containing valeric acid:
Capsules, tablets, powders, drops, chewable gummies.
How is valerate regulated around the world?
Valeric acid is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a dietary supplement. In the EU, it is regulated as a food supplement by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In Canada, it is regulated as a natural health product by Health Canada. In Australia, it is regulated as a food supplement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). In India, it is regulated as a dietary supplement by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).