Phenylalanine consists of a nonpolar  neutral aromatic essential amino acid, considered one of the most hydrophobic. It controls the secretion of cholecystokinin. This is a hormone that reduces appetite (that is, the sensation of hunger and, therefore, the need to eat) and controls satiety.

It provides these benefits along with tryptophan . One of its main characteristics lies in its great capacity to block enzymes found in the central nervous system. Phenylalanine counteracts the degradation of endorphins and enkephalins, which act as very powerful endogenous analgesics.

How does phenylalanine influence day to day life?

If you have already read the definition, you will surely think that it is impossible for this amino acid to change your day to day life. Well, yes you can. How or why? Because it can decrease the sensation of hunger and make it possible for a person to eat less. It helps to eat less fat, sugar, calories and, also, to lose weight.

Phenylalanine helps improve the mood of a person (both women and men) young or adult. In turn, some specialists affirm that it plays an important role in memory, alertness and even in the strong feelings that a human being can experience.

Specifically, phenylalanine for weight loss works. And also to change the state of mind and the general development of a person in their daily life. This does not mean that it intervenes in everything; rather,  phenylalanine has effects on metabolism that then positively affect the rest of the body.

Phenylalanine in food

You may be wondering where this amino acid is found in order to supply it to you to demonstrate its positive consequences. The origin of phenylalanine is mainly in foods that are rich in protein. Which? For example, the following:

  • •  Meat, fish, eggs and various dairy products (foods of animal origin)

  • •  Asparagus, legumes, brewer's yeast, soybeans, peanuts and some plants (these have a plant origin)

what foods contain phenylalanine

However, you may find phenylalanine in other diet foods and sweets. Also in soft drinks, since it is part of the sweetener aspartame. In any case, it will appear on the container label, since in many countries products must state that they contain it.

On the other hand, phenylalanine can be supplied in three ways:

  • •  L-phenylalanine as a dietary supplement

  • •  D-phenylalanine for the treatment of depression

  • •  DL; that is, a mixture of both 50 and 50%

What precautions to consider to ingest phenylalanine?

We have already clarified that the properties of phenylalanine make it possible to reduce the feeling of satiety, the desire to eat or excess weight and even improve psychological well-being. However, unlike what happens with a diet food, you cannot eat it separately whenever you want.

This amino acid is a kind of special substance. For this reason, it is never recommended to use it for certain personal goals without first consulting a specialist.

Phenylalanine is generally safe to take as long as the dose is up to 2.3 grams per day . You can also consume it with a protein-type supplement, where it is found in the natural amounts of protein.

On the other hand, if you exceed 2.3 grams per day or supplement it with other substances (even incompatible ones), you will have a high probability of suffering from diarrhea, nausea, fever, vomiting and even vertigo. Of course, all this will be accompanied by a very important discomfort that will prevent you from functioning normally.

How long can phenylalanine be taken for?

This is another more than relevant item. In addition to considering how much or how you take phenylalanine, the best time to take it is between two and three weeks . However, it is always approximate, since the specialist could vary it according to at least four factors:

  • •  The specific need of the patient: It is not the same to have a single and simple ailment as it is to have several simultaneously and urgently, due to the negative consequences that they would cause on a day-to-day basis.

  • •  Evolution over the days: If this is favourable, it is most likely that after two weeks you will be able to stop supplying it. On the other hand, if the results are still insufficient, the period will be extended.

  • •  Existence of diseases or pathologies that limit or even prohibit supplementation with phenylalanine (such as cancer).

  • •  Other unforeseen events (negative and even positive) that could arise during the decision process.

When to avoid phenylalanine supplements?

First of all, it is necessary to expand the information. Other consequences of phenylalanine misuse can include brain damage, intellectual disability, and seizures. Therefore, it is essential to avoid phenylalanine if it is unnecessary. When? For example, in the following three cases:

  • •  Pregnant women

  • •  People with high blood pressure or artery problems

  • •  People with certain genetic disorders

As we discussed, you should never ingest or start a treatment with phenylalanine on your own. In fact, sometimes, they will request blood tests to check if you really do not have pathologies, diseases or harmful health problems with this amino acid.

What are the advantages of phenylalanine for athletes?

If you are a runner or regularly practice sports, phenylalanine can be very useful because it provides you with at least three benefits:

  • •  As it satisfies, it helps to maintain weight (at least, it helps to not gain weight), which is a requirement for certain athletes.

  • •  Helps maintain the good condition of the muscles, which will have greater resistance and, at the same time, less wear after making great efforts.

phenylalanine for athletes

Although it is highly recommended, it is more than essential to take the appropriate doses and for the period of time established by the specialist. Otherwise, the positive effects could turn negative or cause you other problems.

Phenylalanine has  not experienced a wide spread in different countries and regions. However, knowing what it is for and its functions will help you to be clear about whether or not it is a good alternative.

Tags: supplements