Is Phenylalanine Bad for You?

Phenylalanine is a form of amino acid that is essential which means the body creates some amount of it but does not produce enough required amount which means it needs to be complemented through food intake.

phenylalanine supplement spilling from bottle

Phenylalanine is a form of amino acid that comes in three (3) different types of compounds:

  • D-Phenylalanine is the variant that is synthesized making it ideal for use as a supplement.
  • DL-Phenylalanine is a combination of L-Phenylalanine, and D Phenylalanine which can also be developed in a laboratory setting and utilized as a form of a supplement as well. 

While phenylalanine may have been used to address several different health conditions, further research is being conducted to establish the specific health effects and benefits of the said amino acid is used as a supplement. As such, it is safe to assume that not a lot of evidence is available to give solid credence on what phenylalanine supplements actually do for overall health and wellness.

Experts agree, however, that further research can eventually identify the specific beneficial properties of Phenylalanine and what other health benefits it may provide to individuals who may take it as a supplement. One of its downside to treatment is that it tends to be pricey and most individuals may shy away from additional costs of supplementation if there are specific medications that are already being taken for a specific medical condition. 

Phenylalanine Health Benefits

As stated earlier, this amino acid may be used to address certain health conditions. However, further research is needed to establish the exact mechanism of phenylalanines on the aforementioned illnesses. Listed below are some of the possible health benefits:

1. May help patients with ADHD or Attention Deficit- hyperactivity disorder

Patients with ADHD or Attention Deficit- hyperactivity disorder will usually have individuals that may have trouble focusing their attention and individuals that are impulsive. This disorder is more commonly observed in children but adults have been diagnosed with ADHD as well. Research conducted on ADHD causes showed that one possible reason for the above-mentioned disorder may be due to patients lacking amino acids. As such, it is theoretically posited that supplementing with phenylalanine may help people with their ADHD.

2. Pain reliever

A number of studies also looked at the possibility of using phenylalanine as a form of pain reliever. This was due to a supposed critical role in the production of neurotransmitters and messengers within the human body responsible for suppressing feelings of pain.

3. Help alleviate the symptoms of depression

Dopamine, an amino acid believed to play a critical role in managing mood and emotion, is developed by the body through phenylalanine. When dopamine levels drop below the recommended amount or if it gets depleted, patients are believed to possibly develop some form or depression. In this connection, taking this amino acid as a supplement was proposed to have positive effects on the mood especially since depression is commonly linked with low and irregular levels of dopamine. WIth phenylalanine, the body should theoretically improve its capacity to produce dopamine.

Phenylalanine may help address Parkinson’s Disease

While further research is needed to confirm this specific health benefit, there may be some connection between the amount of this amino acid present in the patient’s body. It was observed that people with Parkinson’s disease had low counts of tyrosine in their blood but higher levels of phenylalanine in their system. This means that there may be a defect in the way the body of Parkinson’s patients converts it to tyrosine.


A skin condition that is unpredictable, vitiligo can make white patches appear on the skin due to pigmentation loss of the individual. There are some studies that show the possibility of having phenylalanine supplements work hand in hand with Ultra Violet treatment to help address Vitiligo. However, further research is needed to establish this supposed health benefit. Suffice it to say, Phenylalanine for topical use has been quite effective in terms of vitiligo treatment particularly when taken together with phototherapy. 

May help patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Studies show that combination treatment for Multiple Sclerosis which include taking in phenylalanine supplements and the use of transcutaneous electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS. The said studies, however, are in its experimental stages and no formal recommendations yet.

So, Is Phenylalanine Bad for you?

Phenylalanine may have a number of health benefits that can help people achieve certain health benefits. However, as indicated earlier, these supposed health benefits require further research and studies to confirm their actual effectiveness. It has also been shown to be tolerated and generally safe for most individuals.

Pregnant Women though are cautioned from using Phenylalanine supplements without any recommendation from their medical healthcare professional. People with PKU or phenylketonuria should avoid taking supplements of phenylalanine as the said supplement may be dangerous for their health condition. 

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