Some interesting facts about phenylalanine:
- Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. This means the body cannot make it at all, or not in sufficient amounts for good health and it needs to be eaten as part of the diet every day.
- Phenylalanine functions as a building block of protein in the body
Phenylalanine, just like all the other amino acids, is one of the building blocks of all proteins in the body, which not only include muscles, but also all the other proteins required for normal function of the body.
Phenylalanine is used by the body to make the non-essential amino acid tyrosine
- Phenylalanine is available in several forms
Phenylalanine is available in various forms - L-Phenylalanine, D-Phenylalanine and DL-Phenylalanine. The L-Phenylalanine form is the most common and the type in which it is incorporated into the body's proteins. The D-Phenylalanine form acts as a painkiller and the DL-Phenylalanine is a combination of the two
- Phenylalanine is used to make tyrosine
Phenylalanine is used by the body to make the non-essential amino acid tyrosine.
- Phenylketonuria is an inability to metabolise phenylalanine
People who have the genetic disorder phenylketonuria cannot metabolise phenylalanine, so they accumulate too much of this amino acid in their body. The only treatment for this genetic disorder is to put people on a diet that is low in protein and especially protein that contains a lot of phenylalanine.