Alanine or or L-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. 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 is vital for the production of protein, essential for proper function of the central nervous system and helps form neurotransmitters. Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. An important source of energy for muscle tissue, the brain and central nervous system; strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies; helps in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids.
Function and Benefits of Alanine
- Alanine is present in prostate fluid, and it may play a role in supporting prostate health. One study, involving 45 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, found that 780 mg of alanine per day for two weeks and then 390 mg for the next two and a half months, taken in combination with equal amounts of the amino acids glycine and glutamic acid, reduced symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia; this work has been independently confirmed.
- Alanine plays a major role in the transfer of nitrogen from peripheral tissue to the liver.
- 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
- helping in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids
- is required for the metabolism of tryptophan
- strengthening the immune system by producing antibodies
- in the case of hypoglycaemia, alanine has been used as a source for the production of glucose in order to stabilise blood sugar levels over lengthy periods
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. However, it may occur in people that have a diet that is highly deficient in protein.
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 vegetarian sources foods also supply alanine which include avocado, beans, bran, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, corn, legumes, mushrooms(white, raw), nuts, seeds, watercress, whole grains and sea vegetable like spirulina and laver