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Phenylalanine

The amino acid phenylalanine is required in the diet, it is therefore considered to be an essential amino acid as its synthesis does not occur in the body. This amino acid can be converted into another amino acid called tyrosine in the body. At the same time, phenylalanine is also the precursor molecule for the synthesis of two key neurotransmitters which are essential to sustain levels of mental and physical alertness - these two neurotransmitters are dopamine and norepinephrine. The amino acid phenylalanine can enhance mood and affect various processes in the body, and due to its relationship to the actions taking place in the central nervous system, it can elevate mood, reduce the intensity of pain, serve as an aid to the processes involving memory and learning and also suppress the appetite of a person. The amino acid is used as a supplement to treat various disorders such as arthritis, mental disorders like depression especially if it is long term, as well as menstrual cramps in women, the amino acid is also used to treat migraines, problems like obesity, diseases such as Parkinson's disease and mental disorders like schizophrenia.

Supplements of the amino acid phenylalanine are used in three different forms, these are designated the L-, D-, and DL- forms of phenylalanine. The most commonly occurring form of phenylalanine is the L- form. This form of phenylalanine is the form in which phenylalanine is incorporated into the proteins in the human body. A painkilling or analgesic effect is attributed to the D-phenylalanine. While the DL-phenylalanine is a combination of the D- and the L- forms and combines their actions in the body. The DL-form of phenylalanine is similar to the D-form, and is very effective at controlling pain in the body; this is particularly relevant in cases of painful arthritis and similar disorders. The DL-form also functions like the L- form, and serves as a building block for proteins in the body. It tends to boost levels of mental alertness while suppressing the appetite, it is therefore extremely helpful for people affected by Parkinson's disease and related disorders. The DL-form of phenylalanine is often utilized to alleviate the physical symptoms seen during premenstrual syndrome - PMS - and different kinds of chronic pain affecting patients on a long term basis.

Phenylalanine supplements must not be used by pregnant women or even by individuals affected by sudden attacks of anxiety, such supplements must not be taken by those suffering from diabetes, by those who suffer from high blood pressure and related symptoms, by those who are affected by phenylketonuria (PKU) or even those who have a pre-existing case of pigmented melanoma - a form of skin cancer in men and women.

Good food sources of the amino acid phenylalanine include nuts like almonds, dairy products like cottage cheese, plant foods like lima beans and peanuts, all protein rich foods including meats and poultry to soy products, foods like the pumpkin seeds, foods like powdered skim milk and sesame seeds.

Usual dosage

Phenylalanine supplements in tablet form are available in various sizes including 250 and 500 mg tablets. These tablets are not addictive. Such supplements are good for increasing the vitality and mental alertness. Doses should preferably be consumed between meals and should be taken along with juice or water, but not with protein. The supplements of phenylalanine can be used to control appetite, and must ideally be taken an hour before meals with some water or juice. For your information: Metabolization and digestion of phenylalanine is not hastened if the person has a deficiency in the vitamin C levels found in the body.

Side effects and cautions

Pregnant women must not use supplements of phenylalanine. Such supplements must also be avoided by people with skin cancer - this amino acid is contraindicated for people affected by pigmented malignant melanomas. Supplements of phenylalanine are also to be avoided at all cost by people affected by phenylketonuria - PKU. Supplements of phenylalanine must also be avoided by all persons suffering from high blood pressure or those with a heart problem. A qualified medical doctor must be consulted before this supplement is used as it may increase the blood pressure of even individuals with otherwise normal blood pressures. The ideal time for supplementation with phenylalanine is to take the tablets half an hour following meals even if the doctor permits its use. The use of phenylalanine supplements must not be combined with the use of anti-depressants or with MAO inhibitors. Supplemental phenylalanine must also be avoided with herbal medicines made from the St. John's wort and licorice root herbs.

DL-Phenylalanine

The DL-phenylalanine form of the amino acid phenylalanine does not occur naturally and is not a normal component of proteins. Even so, the DL-phenylalanine is another chemical variant of phenylalanine produced by a combination of equal amounts of the synthetic D- and natural L-phenylalanine forms. The presence of DL-phenylalanine aids in the production and activation of endorphins - compounds that serve as the body's natural pain killers and mood enhancers. Endorphins are much more potent than drugs which are opium derivatives - like morphine. Certain enzyme systems in the human body are involved in the constant degradation of endorphins as and when they are formed. DL-phenylalanine can inhibit these enzyme systems, this can result in a pool of endorphins - which now have much longer periods of activity. The DL-form of phenylalanine is quite selective as far as its pain relieving qualities are concerned, people with chronic pain are benefited by supplements of DL-phenylalanine - as the compound does not interfere with the natural short term acute pain relieving actions of the body, actions which are helpful in dealing with the pain of minor cuts, with burns and scrapes or bruises.

The supplements of DL-phenylalanine can help alleviates back pain in the lower back, it can bring relief from muscle and leg cramps, as well as migraines, it can bring relief from osteoarthritis, it can be used to reduce post-operative pain especially after major surgery, it can be used to bring relief from rheumatoid arthritis and disorder such as whiplash. The supplemental DL-phenylalanine is a powerful and potent anti-depressant. Even without the use of additional mediations and pain relieving drugs, the pain relief gained from DL-phenylalanine tends to get more effective the longer it is used. It is also useful in that there is no build up of a tolerance to the compound in the body even if it is used continually for up to a month. The supplements of DL-phenylalanine help the person by curbing strong addictive cravings and addiction. It is considered to be a potent stimulant for the sexual urge. The DL-phenylalanine is not known to possess any adverse interactions with other drugs or chemical based therapies and actually increase the beneficial effects of pain killing medications.

Usual dosage

Pain is a very personal experience and the perception of pain differs from one individual to the other. DL-phenylalanine as a pain relieving supplement may be considered for use by people who are not able to achieve pain relief using traditional prescription medications - even when they have supplemented continuously using one type of drug or the other. Supplements of DL-phenylalanine tend to work in the event of failing at gaining relief from pain using standard prescription medications. The condition of the person and their state of health will determine the ideal dosage. Dosage regimen can be started under the supervision of a qualified health care provider, initial doses at 375 mg to 750 mg, can be taken thrice daily, each dose must be taken half an hour before each meal of the day. Relief from chronic pain may occur within four to twenty-one days of continuous dosage at the prescribed doses. The doses may be doubled for another 21 days after this initial dosage regimen if no relief from pain is forthcoming. The dosage can be continuously reduced once a workable dosage has been reached so as to achieve the optimal amount needed for pain relief.

Side effects and cautions

Pregnant women must avoid the use of supplemental DL-phenylalanine. Individuals affected by hypertension or heart conditions, unless under medical supervision must also avoid using supplements of DL-phenylalanine - In case a supplement is recommended by the doctor, it is normally prescribed to be used following meals. The use of DL-phenylalanine is also contraindicated for those affected by phenylketonuria, this disease is an inherited inability of the body to oxidize one metabolic product of phenylalanine and it if is not controlled can lead to the exhibition of severe mental retardation and developmental abnormalities in the person. Supplements of DL-phenylalanine must also not be used by individuals affected by malignant melanoma and should be avoided by those using anti-depressants that contain the chemical agent called monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

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