Never heard of Phenylalanine? Well, don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone, so here’s your chance to find out all about it.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid chain that is nonpolar and is most commonly found in the breast milk of most mammals. Phenylalanine is commonly used in the production or manufacturing of food and drink products while also being packaged and sold as a supplement product in order to help treat depression or act as a minor pain reliever.
Phenylalanine is also classified as an essential amino acid, which means that our body cannot produce it naturally, meaning we must consume it via food or supplementation in order to obtain adequate amounts. Some foods that contain Phenylalanine would be milk/dairy products, oats and wheat germ.
What Supplements Contain Phenylalanine?
✓ DL Phenylalanine – this is phenylalanine in its pure form. Just add 2 servings to your everyday protein shake and consume.
✓ Impact Whey Protein – whey protein comes from milk, meaning phenylalanine is prominent in this supplement. Impact whey also contains 21g of protein per serving, alongside 4.5g of BCAAs to help muscle recovery and growth.
✓ Soy Protein Isolate – if you’re a vegan or vegetarian then dairy products may not be an option, but don’t worry because you can still get phenylalanine in your diet through soy protein.
✓ Instant Oats – you can easily add instant oats into your daily diet. Oats are one of the healthiest carbohydrate sources and the main benefit of instant oats is that they come in powder form, meaning they can easily be mixed with milk or water in a shaker and then consumed.
How Does The Body Use Phenylalanine?
The body used Phenylalanine and converts this amino acid into L-tyrosine, which is another amino acid. From here, the L-tyrosine will convert a few more times and eventually we will be left with 3 catecholamine’s which is a combination of: dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.
These are essentially adrenaline related catecholamine’s that are responsible for our fight or flight response, which are a major part of our nervous system. This is all done by increasing the amount of blood flow into the muscles.
There are a number of positive side effects associated with Phenylalanine. The benefits include:
✓ Improved mood and relief from anxiety
✓ Sharper focus and concentration
✓ Increase in energy and greater productivity
Phenylalanine is one of the few amino acids that can enter into the brain and nervous system, which is why we see an increase in function and other neuro related improvements when we consume it.
When Phenylalanine enters into the brain, it helps with improving memory, heightened levels of alertness, and even allows for greater concentration, which can make learning and retaining information easier. You may even be able to understand things more quickly, which can make it very useful for school or university if you are revising for exams.
As a pain reliever, evidence has shown that Phenylalanine has helped treat issues such as migraines and headaches, while also showing effectiveness towards neck and back pain and even cramps.
When it comes to dosing, research has shown that anywhere from 100mg to as high as 5000mg a day can lead to positive results. The general opinion about the average daily dose to really feel the effects is to take around 1000-2000mg per day. Since it is a nootropic, it does mean that the effects of Phenylalanine will be temporary and eventually the body will break down this amino acid and the effects will eventually wear off.
When Should You Take Phenylalanine?
It’s completely up to you and your personal preference. There are no recorded negative side effects associated with taking phenylalanine. The effectiveness it could have for you depends on your body’s chemical response to Phenylalanine as everyone is different. If you are someone who suffers from constant pain, then this is a supplement that may be beneficial to you since it does act as a pain reliever by blocking the pain receptors in the brain temporarily.
It’s also possible to help with treating anyone with depression, however, in regards to trying to treat depression with Phenylalanine, I strongly recommend seeking proper consul and seeing a medical specialist before trying to use this supplement for any depression related issues either for yourself or someone else.
If you are on a low protein diet, most likely you aren’t consuming enough Phenylalanine so supplementation may be beneficial to you, especially if you are someone who is a vegan or vegetarian.
Take Home Message
Make sure you’re eating enough protein and you will be consuming enough phenylalanine. Since phenylalanine has been shown to show very strong effects with regards to mood, its recommended to only take this supplement if given proper medical guidance beforehand.