L-Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, which performs as an antidepressant and pain reliever with many therapeutic roles. Besides helping to control depression, it helps improve memory and fight migraines.
Sometimes called DLPA, Phenylalanine is found naturally in the breast milk of mammals and manufactured for food and drink products, but is also sold as nutritional supplements.
Phenylalanine is not produced by the body but is necessary for human health. Thus, it needs to be obtained through the diet. Some foods rich in phenylalanine include beef, asparagus, chicken, eggs, fish, flax seed, dairy products, seafood, sesame seeds, soy milk and walnuts.
The thyroid gland requires amino acid to stimulate the production of the hormone thyroxin. This hormone contributes to healthy nerve function and mental equilibrium.
Phenylalanine is also credited for improving mental alertness, which would include the stimulation of learning and memory capacities, because it is used by the brain to make norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters that send signals between the nerve cells and brain.
Phenylalanine is highly concentrated in the human brain and plasma. Research has shown that it acts as strong pain relief for chronic pain such as headaches, arthritis, and sports injuries and has an antidepressive effect. Some of the most commons symptoms of Phenylalanine deficiency are apathy, confusion, decreased alertness, lack of energy, loss of muscle and memory troubles.