With today’s hectic lifestyle and busy work schedules, people are looking for ways to improve their overall health. Individuals will usually look for ways to improve their general condition through increased physical activity, consumption of healthy food items and the use of more natural and alternative treatment options for various illnesses. People, however, also look for supplements or compounds that can help them achieve a better quality of life and enhanced health. One such health supplement is Phenylalanine. People who want to take in the said supplement, however, may ask “What is Phenylalanine for and what are some food items that have phenylalanine?”. In this article, we will look at what Phenylalanine is, its uses, and the phenylalanine in foods.
Phenylalanine: A Brief Overview
Phenylalanine is a form of essential amino acid that comes in three (3) different types of compounds namely DL-Phenylalanine, L-Phenylalanine, and D Phenylalanine. D-Phenylalanine is the variant that is synthesized making it ideal for use as a supplement. DL-Phenylalanine, on the other hand, is the phenylalanine variant that 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 this amino acid 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 downside to phenylalanine 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.
Further research is needed to establish the exact mechanism of phenylalanines on the aforementioned illnesses. Listed below are some of the possible health benefits of Phenylalanine:
1. 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 have been issued on the actual use of Phenylalanine supplements for multiple sclerosis.
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.
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.
4. Parkinson’s Disease
While further research is needed to confirm this specific health benefit of Phenylalanine, 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 a defect in the way the body of Parkinson’s patients converts Phenylalanine to tyrosine.
5. Pain relief
A number of studies also looked at the possibility of using phenylalanine as a form of pain reliever. Phenylalanine was used to check if the aforementioned amino acid can extend painkiller effect or acupuncture analgesic effects This was due to phenylalanine’s supposed critical role in the production of neurotransmitters and messengers within the human body responsible for suppressing feelings of pain. This means that experts were looking to phenylalanine to help improve and enhance the overall effect of pain relievers.
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 of depression. In this connection, taking phenylalanine 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.
What Kinds Of Food Items Contain Phenylalanine?
Enumerated below are some of the food items that have significant levels of Phenylalanine:
- Roasted Soybeans (Soyfoods): 2066 milligrams
- Parmesan Cheese: 1922 milligrams
- Pumpkin Seeds and Nuts: 1733 milligrams
- Roast Beef and Lean Lamb: 1464 milligrams
- Cooked Chicken Breast and Turkey: 1,294 Milligrams
- Cooked Lean Pork Chops: 1,288 milligrams