Alanine (Non-Essential Amino Acid - Proteins) - Sources Include Red Meats

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Alanine is a small non-essential amino acid in humans and one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the human genetic code. Alanine is one of the most widely used for protein construction and is an important source of energy for muscles and central nervous system, and strengthens the immune system.

ALANINE

Alanine (non-essential amino acid)

Alanine is a small non-essential amino acid in humans and one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the human genetic code. The L-isomer of alanine (left-handed) is the one that is incorporated into proteins.

L-Alanine is one of the most widely used for protein construction, it is second only to leucine in rate of occurrence, accounting for 7.8% of the primary structure in a sample of 1,150 proteins.

Alanine is an aliphatic amino acid, because the side-chain connected to the α-carbon atom is a methyl group (-CH3), making it the simplest α-amino acid except for glycine. The methyl side-chain of alanine is non-reactive and is therefore hardly ever directly involved in protein function.

Important in liver detoxification and regeneration.

Function

Alanine is one of the most widely used for protein construction and is involved in the metabolism of tryptophan and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Alanine is an important source of energy for muscles and central nervous system, strengthens the immune system, helps in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids, and displays a cholesterol-reducing effect in animals

Alanine helps balance glucose and nitrogen in the body. One of alanine’s main functions in the body is a role in the glucose-alanine cycle. When muscles produce lactic acid during times of decreased oxygen, such as in physical exertion, alanine is also produced. Alanine produced in this manner is then transported to the liver, where it is used to make glucose that can be stored as glycogen, which is necessary for energy production (ATP).

Alanine is manufactured in the body from pyruvate and branched chain amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine). It also plays a major role in transferring nitrogen from tissues to the liver; important in liver detoxification and regeneration. Alanine also helps metabolize glucose for energy, especially during physical exertion.

 

In food, alanine is found in a wide variety of foods, but is particularly concentrated in meats.

Sources

Alanine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning it can be manufactured by the human body, and does not need to be obtained through the diet.

Alanine can be synthesized from pyruvate and branched chain amino acids such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine.

In food, alanine is found in a wide variety of foods, but is particularly concentrated in meats.

Foods high in alanine include meats (red meat, fish, chicken, turkey, seafood etc.), dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, soy protein, whey, brown rice and corn.

Alanine is dispensable in humans, it can be synthesized in sufficient amounts.

Deficiency

Five amino acids are dispensable in humans, meaning they can be synthesized in the body in sufficient amounts. These five are; alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid and serine.

In healthy humans, alanine deficiency is extremely rare, however in some cases, alanine levels can be reduced. Alanine deficiency has been identified in some patients with diabetes, alcohol-induced hepatitis and low blood sugar level.

Alanine levels are also decreased in endurance trained distance runners; suggesting supplementation would be of benefit in these individuals and other highly trained athletes.

Since alanine is involved in the metabolism of tryptophan, tyrosine and vitamin B6, deficiencies in alanine can result in deficiencies in these nutrients.



High doses of Alanine can cause flushing and tingling.

Considerations

Infants are unable to effectively synthesize arginine, making it nutritionally essential for infants. Adults, however, are able to synthesize arginine under normal physiological conditions, in the urea cycle.

Depletion of vitamin B6 may lead to alanine imbalances.

High doses of Alanine can cause flushing and tingling.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a medical term for an enlarged prostate. This condition causes discomfort and difficulty while urinating. Possible L-alanine benefits include treatment for this common condition in men.




Amount

Amount

While L-alanine deficiencies are rare, it is possible to take too much. If you are considering L-alanine supplementation, then ask your doctor about the best dose to begin at. However, doses between 3 to 6g are normally well tolerated.





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