Quest Vitamins LTD,
L- & DL-Phenylalanine
L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, which means the body needs a regular dietary supply of it. DL-phenylalanine (DLPA) is a mixture of the naturally occurring L- form together with the mirror image D- form of phenylalanine. Whilst D- form Amino Acids do not normally have uses in the human body, D-phenylalanine is a notable exception.
L-phenylalanine is a component of dietary proteins and is also the precursor of many non-essential Amino Acids in the body. A number of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) are derived from L-phenylalanine; this amino acid also stimulates the release of a hormone that controls the appetite.
D-phenylalanine has certain unique properties, the major one of which is Pain relief. D-phenylalanine is thought to be able to relieve pain by slowing the breakdown of the body’s own morphine-like pain killing substances called endorphins.
Endorphins also have a slight euphoric effect and are thought to be produced after eating - hence the desire to binge in many depressed people.
For people with food cravings, DLPA supplements can also be very useful, because endorphins stimulated by DLPA bring a feeling of satisfaction and decrease the desire to binge.
The uses of L-phenylalanine and DLPA obviously overlap quite a lot, but in the case of pain or food cravings (as opposed to sheer over-eating) DLPA is the supplement of choice.
Up to 6g per day of L-phenylalanine or DLPA per day is regarded safe, but only 500-1500mg per day is normally recommended for self-administration. Higher levels should be taken under medical supervision.
MAO inhibitor anti-depressant drugs:
Both Amino Acids should also be avoided by pregnant women, schizophrenics and those with high blood pressure.
1. "The Healing Nutrients Within", E R Braverman & C C Pfeiffer, Keats, 1987.