L-phenylalanine: Precursor of Dopamine

phenylalanineL-phenylalanine is a type of essential amino acid, the basic building blocks of our body that help make up our protein structure. Our body cannot work without the presence of these amino acids and they need to be supplied in our diet. It is a type of non-polar amino acid which is hydrophobic in nature. This means that it repels water and this property is attributed to the presence of benzyl side chain in the structure of this amino acid.

It is a precursor of dopamine which is a monoamine chemical, essential for the production of various signalling molecules such as dopamine, nor-epinephrine, epinephrine, thyroid hormone and the pigment responsible for the skin colour called melanin. This amino exists naturally and artificially in three forms, D-phenylalanine which exists naturally, L-phenylalanine which is made artificially in the laboratory and DL-phenylalanine which is a combination of the two.

The dietary sources of L-phenylalanine include protein in meat products such as beef, poultry, pork and fish. Many dairy sources like milk, yogurt, eggs and cheese are also rich in this amino acid. Soy products like soy protein isolate, soybean flour, and tofu are also rich sources. This amino acid is also present commonly in certain nuts and seeds.

The body uses L-phenylalanine to make chemical messengers as mentioned above. It is this reason why its commonly used to support conditions like depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s disease, and alcohol withdrawal. It has been observed that individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are often deficient in this specific amino acid. So there is a possibility that this supplement may help with the relief of symptoms.  L-phenylalanine can also be used as a mild antidepressant. This is because it can be used to make many neurotransmitters which work in the brain. It helps lift the mood and increases mental alertness. It also stimulates the release of a hormone which may help stimulate the appetite.

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NOW Foods L-Phenylalanine 500mg

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