The Amino Acids Section
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Serine is a non-essential amino acid derived from the amino acid glycine. It is important to overall good health, both physical and mental. Serine is especially important to proper functioning of the brain and central nervous system.
Serine helps form the phospholipids needed to make every cell in your body. It is also involved in the function of RNA and DNA, fat and fatty acid metabolism, muscle formation, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. The proteins used to form the brain, as well as the protective myelin sheaths that cover the nerves, contain serine. Without serine, the myelin sheaths could fray and become less efficient at delivering messages between the brain and nerve endings in the body, essentially short circuiting mental function.
Serine is also needed to produce tryptophan, an amino acid that is used to make serotonin, a mood-determining brain chemical. Both serotonin and tryptophan shortages have been linked to depression, insomnia, confusion, and anxiety. Research suggests that low levels of serine may contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).
Serine helps produce immunoglobulins and antibodies for a strong immune system, and also aids in the absorption of creatine, a substance made from amino acids that helps build and maintain all the muscles in the body, including the heart.
In order for serine to be manufactured in the body, sufficient amounts of vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, and folic acid must be present. Meat and soy foods, dairy products, wheat gluten, and peanuts are all good natural sources of serine, but today’s Western diet includes so much processed convenience food—amino acid supplementation may be needed more often than most people realize.
Serine supplementation is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms. It can be purchased as a stand-alone supplement or, more commonly, in combination amino acid supplements and sports drinks. Serine is a constituent of phospholipids, which help seal in moisture, so it is also often included as a natural moisturizing agent in many cosmetics and skin care preparations.
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