Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is needed for normal functioning of the central nervous system. It has been used successfully to help control symptoms of depression and chronic pain, as well as other diseases linked to a malfunctioning central nervous system.
Phenylalanine can be converted in the body to tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize two important neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, which means it must be obtained from dietary sources. People that suffer from arthritis, obesity, severe menstrual cramps or mild depression may want to speak to their doctor about trying phenylalanine supplementation. Phenylalanine supplements come in capsule, tablet, and powder form. Phenylalanine diet has also been used to treat Parkinsons disease, and schizophrenia, but anyone with a serious health condition should not take any form of supplementation without first consulting their physician about proper dosage and possible side effects.
Food Sources of Phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is found in abundance in curd, milk, cottage cheese, pulses and legumes, poultry, piyal seeds, groundnuts, pistachio nuts, almonds, leafy vegetables, and whole grains.
Form of Phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is available in three different forms: L-, D- and DL-. The L- form is the most common and the type which is incorporated into the body's proteins. L-phenylalanine is an essential protein amino acid. D phenylalanine is the enantiomer of L phenylalanine. D-phenylalanine is a nonprotein amino acid, meaning that it does not participate in protein biosynthesis. The D- form acts as a painkiller and the DL- as a combination of the two.
L-phenylalanine helps the body build proteins and manufacture the amino acid L tyrosine, among other important substances. Tyrosine is an important precursor in the production of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, low levels of which are linked to depression.
L phenylalanine may help fight symptoms of depression through the synthesis of L-tyrosine. Tyrosine is an important precursor in the production of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, low levels of which are linked to depression.
L-phenylalanine is marketed as a nutritional supplement and used by some for its putative antidepressant activity. L phenylalanine can also be converted to phenylethylamine, a substance that occurs naturally in the brain and appears to elevate mood.
D-Phenylalanine is an amino acid that inhibits carboxypeptidase A, an enzyme that regulates the degradation of enkephalins and other endogenous analgesic-producing compounds in the body. Preventing the enzymatic degradation of these substances means that more pain-relieving compounds will be present in the body for longer periods of time. A study in Japan reported that D phenylalanine effectively increased the level of analgesia when combined with acupuncture in patients being treated two conditions, low back pain and tooth extractions.
The D-form of phenylalanine cannot be converted to tyrosine, but it can be converted to another compound called phenylethylamine which may have effects in elevating mood, treating depression and altering pain sensation.
DL-phenylalanine is a mirror image of the amino acid phenylalanine, it shares a lot of the same benefits as phenylalanine, but in the DL form, its properties for controlling pain naturally are truly amazing. DL phenylalanine enhances production of a compund called cholecystokinin (CCK), which may reduce appetite.
DL phenylalanine has been discovered that the human brain responds to pain by producing and activating morphine-like hormones, called endorphins. These hormones constitute the active portion of a naturally built-in pain relief system. DL phenylalanine (DLPA) operates to protect this pain relief system from certain destructive enzymes (carboxypeptidase A and enkephalinase enzymes). DL phenylalanine (DLPA) consequently allows the pain relief system to exert its powerful pain-relieving influence for an extended period of time.
Benefits of Phenylalanine Diet
Phenylalanine is used to treated depression (elevates mood), rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (decreases pain/inflammation), menstrual cramps, Parkinson's disease (improves speech and rigidity), vitiligo (a skin pigment disorder), and cancer (melanoma, tumor growth). Phenylalanine is part of certain hormones in the body which affect moods e.g., melanotropin and endorphins etc. Phenylalanine is used in different biochemical processes to produce neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Norepinephrine is believed to be in short supply in the brains of people who are depressed. By taking in extra phenylalanine, it is hoped the brain will make more norepinephrine. L phenylalanine can promote high blood pressure in those predisposed to hypertension. In the liver, l-phenylalanine is involved in a number of biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis, the formation of l-tyrosine and oxidative catabolic reactions.