Alanine - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources
What is Alanine?
Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is used by the body to build protein. It is not essential to the diet, but can be made by the body from other substances. Alanine was discovered in protein in 1875. The alpha-carbon in alanine is substituted with a levorotatory (l)-methyl group, making it one of the simplest amino acids with respect to molecular structure and is one of the most widely used in protein construction. In the liver alanine may be transaminated with alpha keto glutarate to produce glutamat. Also in the liver alanine may be converted to glucose.
Uses and Benefits of Alanine
Alanine plays a major role in the transfer of nitrogen from peripheral tissue to the liver. It aids in the metabolism of glucose, a simple carbohydrate that the body uses for energy. It also guards against the buildup of toxic substances that are released in the muscle cells when muscle protein is broken down to quickly meet energy needs, such as happens with aerobic exercise. Epstein-Barr virus and chronic fatigue have been associated with excessive alanine levels and low levels of tyrosine and phenylalanine. One form of alanine, beta alanine, is a constituent of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and coenzyme A, a vital catalyst in the body. Research has found that for people with insulin-dependent diabetes, taking an oral dose of L-alanine can be more effective than a conventional bedtime snack in preventing nighttime hypoglycemia.
Deficiency Symptoms of Alanine
Since alanine is synthesized in the body and is also provided by most foods that are sources of protein, deficiencies are unlikely to occur.
Rich Food Sources of Alanine
As with the other amino acids , excellent sources of alanine include meat and poultry , fish , eggs , and dairy products . Some protein-rich plant foods also supply alanine.
Alanine does not have many side effects, but people with kidney or liver disease should not consume high intakes of amino acids without consulting a health care professional.
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