L-PhenylalanineL-Phenylalanine is an essential nine-carbon amino acid that is one of the most commonly found aromatic amino acids that exhibit ultraviolet radiation absorption properties. L-Phenylalanine can be converted to L-tyrosine by a complex biochemical process which takes place in the liver. L-Tyrosine in turn is used to synthesize two important neurotransmitters; dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones are depleted by stress, overwork and certain drugs. By replenishing norepinephrine in the brain, mental energy levels are enhanced and a feeling of contentment often occurs. In addition, the conversion step from L-tyrosine to norepinephrine may be enhanced if the cofactors vitamins B6 and C are present.
Phenylalanine is available in three different forms, L-, D-, and DL-. The L- form is the most common and the type in which it is incorporated into the body's proteins. The D- form acts as a painkiller and the DL- acts as a combination of the two. L-Phenylalanine is used in elevating the mood since it is so closely involved with the nervous system. This amino is also said to help with memory and learning, and some people use it as an appetite suppressant. Toxicity is rare but large amounts of L-Phenylalanine may affect your blood pressure and cause headaches, nausea and heartburn.
By contributing to the synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine, Phenylalanine may also help to regulate appetite by promoting a healthy mood.
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