The Amino Acids Section
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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 is especially effective for treating brain disorders because it is able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective barrier formed by the red blood cells and the glia of the brain that protects the brain from any toxins, bacteria, and viruses, etc., that are circulating through the bloodstream. Only chemicals that are able to cross this barrier can directly affect brain function.
The body needs phenylalanine to make epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters that basically control the way you perceive and interact with your environment. Phenylalanine supplementation may help you feel happier, less hungry and more alert; it has also to treat chronic pain and improve memory and concentration. Recent research indicates that phenylalanine, which aids in melatonin production, may be effective for treatment of vitiligo, a condition that causes white patches on the skin. Subjects treated by these researchers took 50 to 100 milligrams oral L-phenylalanine and applied topical 10 percent phenylalanine gel each day and reported an average improvement rate of 83 percent.
There are three different kinds of phenylalanine: L-phenylalanine, D-phenylalanine, and DL-phenylalanine. Each type of phenylalanine is used to treat different symptoms. D-phenylalanine is more effective for controlling pain, while L-phenylalanine is more effective for regulating mood, appetite, and mental alertness; DL-phenylalanine affects both pain sensitivity and mental state.
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 has also been used to treat Parkinsonís 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.
Anyone with high blood pressure or migraines should not take phenylalanine or even eat foods high in this amino acid, as it may aggravate their condition. People with a condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU), in which phenylalanine cannot be broken down, should not take phenylalanine supplements or eat foods containing large amounts of this amino acid. Do not take phenylalanine supplements in conjunction with prescription antidepressants, particularly monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, as this may lead to life-threatening spikes in blood pressure. Large doses of phenylalanine may cause nerve damage.
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