Category: Natural chemicals



Introduction and description

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Isoleucine (abbreviated as Ile or I) is an essential α-amino acid – that is it cannot be made by the body, so it must be ingested - eaten. The iso- in its name refers to it being an isomer of leucine.

Its chemical formula is HO2CCH(NH2)CH(CH3)CH2CH3. Together with threonine, isoleucine is one of two common amino acids that have a chiral side chain.

Isoleucine is both a glucogenic and a ketogenic amino acid. After transamination with alpha-ketoglutarate the carbon skeleton can be converted into either Succinyl CoA, and fed into the TCA cycle for oxidation or converted into oxaloacetate for gluconeogenesis (hence glucogenic). It can also be converted into Acetyl CoA and fed into the TCA cycle by condensing with oxaloacetate to form citrate. In mammals Acetyl CoA cannot be converted back to carbohydrate but can be used in the synthesis of ketone bodies or fatty acids, hence ketogenic.

So there you go.

Biotin, or Vitamin B7 is needed for the full catabolism of isoleucine (as well as leucine). Without adequate biotin, the human body is unable to fully break down isoleucine and leucine molecules. This can lead to numerous physiological problems including muscle problems and problems with protein synthesis, lipid metabolism, and fatty acid metabolism.  It can also result in "cognitive issues resulting from general metabolic pathway failure" and “the irritating effects of hydroxyisovalerate, a byproduct of incomplete isoleucine catabolism”.


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