What is phenylalanine good for?
Have you ever heard of phenylalanine? No, it doesn’t come from a planet lightyears away or make your hair grow into funky shapes. Instead, it’s an amino acid that we humans can find in our food. And let me tell you something: phenylalanine is not to be underestimated! This tiny little compound packs some seriously impressive health benefits.
In this article (just kidding!), we’re going to explore what makes phenylalanine so special, why it matters for your physical and mental wellbeing, and how you can make sure to get enough of it in your diet without turning into a rabbit-like eating machine.
What Is Phenylalanine?
In case you haven’t been paying attention yet – hang on a minute – after all that excitement about reading this fun article about the wonders of phenyalanine – take another deep breath… D’oh! Sorry about my emotional rollercoaster ride there!
Anyway, back to business. So what exactly is this “phen-eee-laaah-na-heen” thingy? Well, dear readers (that’s YOU), as mentioned earlier (still awake?), phenylalanine is one of twenty-two naturally occurring amino acids found in human bodies (yes including mine). Proteins are made up of these molecules which help build tissues and organs throughout our body like Lego blocks do with parts of planes or boats… hehehe!
Phenyalanine comes in three different forms namely L-phenylanalaine (note: the “L” stands for left-handed); D-phenyla^na~lain~e; & DLphenalalanine which contains equal amounts of both L & D types ..wheww hope I got that right. It’s not just present within us but also commonly found in foods such as meat, eggs, cheese and grains especially wheat germ (so watch out gluten-free people!) & oats.
Why Do We Need Phenylalanine?
Honestly? To stay alive. Yup, you heard me right – this teeny-weenie amino acid is pretty darn essential to keep our human machine running like a well oiled Lamborghini engine! Guess what phenyalanine does? Did I hear someone else say it’s great for building proteins or acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters that play important roles in communicating messages within the brain ..gosh you must be sharp. That’s correct; neurotransmitter precursors are compounds that your body can convert into actual chemicals that transport signals across synapses at lightning speed in your brain.
Phenylalanine aids in producing both dopamine and norepinephrine woahh (star-star alert) which may help us maintain focus, improve our memory …now if only I could remember where I left my phone yesterday and elevate our overall cognitive performance (drumroll please!)
It also plays an important role to regulate appetite via its influence on key hormones such as cholecystokinin (hint: “CCK”), peptide YY (“PYY”) alongside glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) all of which contribute to controlling feelings of satiety thereby reducing over-eating chances.
Obviously these benefits aren’t limited strictly just to mental health folks – nah ah ah! Also banish spots and wrinkles too with phenylalanine’s best pal collagen production – how now (I know…sorry)!
What Are the Health Benefits of Phenylalanine?
In case you haven’t got the drift yet: there are many advantages when it comes to this powerhouse compound:
1. Improves Mood
It genuinely puts people in their happy place by stimulating tyrosine which can boost the level of beneficial neurotransmitters woop woop.
2. Reduces Depression and Anxiety Levels
Phenylalanine is commonly used to treat mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder (well it’s a bonus if you don’t have them anyway). Think of it as your natural anti-depressant!
3. Enhances Mental Clarity
With enhanced levels of tyrosine in our body, we get a better ‘running’ mind that isn’t muddled up with too much information at once.
4. Speeds Up Weight Loss & Appetite Control
If you’re looking to shed some kilos phenyalanine can help decrease fat intake by reducing craving for fatty foods like pizza, burgers or sausages…oops! It produces hormones such PYY and CCK that makes us feel fuller sooner without binging on excess calories (did I just remind myself about lunch time again?)
How Can We Get Enough Phenylalanine?
Firstly – slow down buddy! Yes taking supplements may be easy but let’s not forget how important balanced nutrition is overall (eye roll)
Good sources include chicken breasts, pork tenderloin or lean beef roast (I’m salivating), plus cheese varieties like cheddar topping the chart here- unless its Brie day for me…yummmmmm!
Also great plant-based options such as beans or lentils contain significant amounts of this “Rushmore-like” (it maintains focus)! amino acid.
Below are examples using roughly calculated values based on food composition databases:
|Food||Amount per serve||Phenylananline|
|Grilled Chicken Breast||100g||1422mg|
|Cottage Cheese||Half cup||968mg|
|Soybeans (cooked)||Half cup||731mg|
|Sunflower seeds (roasted)||quarter cup||319mg|
Now it’s time to go unleash the wonders of phenylalanine onto yourself AND others! Watch as you magically maintain a positive mood, manage your weight and live life with an increasingly clear head (aka free from the mass confusion that is shopping on Amazon).
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt about it; phenylalanine is one mighty impressive amino acid. A dose of it may be just what you need to add some more pep in your step or vigor in your life. From improving mental clarity, aiding with depression & anxiety symptoms down to regulating apetite and maintaining focus – there really isn’t too much this tiny little molecule can’t do once ingested!
So remember dear readers…wait did I use that already? Ah well…keep foods high in phenyalanine at arm’s length for a healthy body (and mind).