Alanine - L-Alanine

An amino acid. Keywords: energy, blood sugar, immune response, thymus.

L-Alanine is found in large concentrations in muscular tissue, but neither in the bloodstream, liver, kidney, nor brain. It is a non-essential amino acid. The body can synthesize alanine from pyruvic acid, from the decomposition of DNA or the dipeptides carnosine and anserine, catalyzed by zinc and a specific enzyme.

Very little is known about the metabolization of alanine, but it is likely that - like glutamine - it is one of the most important amino acids in muscular tissue, and that it can be transformed into energy in the shape of glucose. It is possible that alanine supplements, like BCAA, can build muscular tissue.

Alanine lowers the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in the bloodstream of diabetics, and raises the blood sugar level in case of hypoglycemia by stimulating the release of glucagone in the liver.

Alanine counteracts ketosis in diabetics and among athletes that are under maximum load.
Alanine is an inhibiting neurotransmitter and may be part of the future treatment of epilepsy, like taurine, glycine and GABA (gamma-amino butyl acid).

In alcoholic hepatitis there is generally a low amount of plasma alanine, probably due to the very low amounts of active vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate)which is characteristic for these patients. B6 deficiency impedes the transformation of several amino acids.

Alanine stimulates thymus growth, which promotes the production of lymphocytes. Therefore, research on alanine in treatment of immuno deficiency should be considered.

Tests performed on experimental animals have shown that alanine promotes the decomposition of calculi made of oxalate and phosphate. A diet with a high amount of alanine is therefore likely to help prevent kidney stones. One should make sure to include a sufficient amount of vitamin B6 and magnesium to such a program.

Alanine produces pyruvic acid which is a vital factor in the metabolic Kreb's cycle and promotes the blood sugar balance and the storage of glycogen in the muscles and the liver.

Very high doses given to experimental animals showed no signs of side effects or toxic reactions. However, the research into alanine and its metabolism leaves much to be desired.

A general amino acid profile should be the base of any treatment, especially because a high alanine intake can block the transportation of taurine in the body.

Therapeutic dosage
Up to 600 mg a day. To be taken late in the morning and in the afternoon between meals.