What you will learn...
L-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is mostly synthesized by the muscle cells from lactic acid and plays a crucial role as a building block of important proteins.
It is considered the most important nutrient for the amino acid metabolism in the blood together with L-Glutamine. Once synthesized, L-alanine is absorbed via the liver and converted to a pyruvate, a compound that is critical for the production of glucose and hence blood sugar management.
L-alanine supplements are therefore often used in cases of hypoglycemia to prevent the organism from suffering low blood sugar or insulin shocks since they enable rapid energy delivery by stimulating the immediate release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Functions of L-Alanine in the Body
- Promote muscle growth with L-alanine: L-alanine is a vital player in the body’s protein biosynthesis and also plays certain regulatory functionality. Muscle protein consists of approximately 6% of L-alanine, while 30% of the L-alanine in the blood is synthesized by muscle, which demonstrates its importance to the overall metabolism.
- The L-alanine is absorbed from the blood in the liver and then converted to pyruvate, enabling a faster and more effective supply of energy when it is needed so that the body can perform longer at increased levels of intensity. This is why athletes often supplement with L-alanine in order to reach personal objectives.
- Cahill Cycle and Nitrogen Balancing: The Cahill cycle, also known as the glucose-alanine cycle, is a set of processes where carbon groups and amino acids are transported from muscle tissues to the liver, making this cycle of chemical reactions, integral for balancing glucose and nitrogen levels throughout the body.
The cycle is as follows:
a. Muscle cells degrade amino acid chains to produce energy.
b. Nitrogen is released as a byproduct.
c. Nitrogen is changed into pyruvate.
d. Pyruvate is converted to L-alanine.
e. L-alanine is transported to the liver.
f. The liver extracts the nitrogen from L-alanine.
g. Some alanine is converted back to pyruvate and utilized for glucose synthesis.
h. Excess nitrogen is then converted to urea and subsequently expelled from the body.
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The alanine cycle is an important process because it helps to maintain a steady supply of pyruvate to be used for glucose and amino acid biosynthesis.
Deficient alanine levels have been noted in those with diabetes, hepatitis, and hypoglycemia, but it is not understood if low alanine levels triggered these conditions or vice versa.
- Healthy immune system and kidneys: Another important of L-Alanine is the support of the immune system and prevention of kidney stones. L-alanine is able to chemically neutralize insoluble toxic compounds that cause this disease. L-alanine may, therefore, be used preventatively against kidney stones by individuals with a family history.
- Healthy prostate: Studies have shown that prostate fluid has a high concentration of L-alanine. This means that it can protect the prostate gland itself from an irregular enlargement. A symptom of enlarged prostate is usually severe pain and problems during urination, but can usually be reduced by the consumption of dietary supplements containing L-alanine. It is therefore widely believed that L-alanine can reduce the swelling of the gland’s tissue and even be used to treat prostate cancer.
- L-alanine combats illnesses: L-alanine has been successfully used to treat certain illnesses as several studies have shown that L-alanine also stimulates the immune system, reduces inflammation and therefore helps to balance the human system as a whole.
L-Alanine Side Effects and Safety
No serious adverse effects have been reported because of proper L-alanine use, and there are no known interactions with herbal supplements, medications, laboratory tests or foods.
Some side effects of L-Alanine can include muscle atrophy, faintness or fatigue, but it is only for those who do not observe proper dosage of alanine.
Use extra thoughtfulness if taking L-alanine in conjunction with other supplements that have hyperglycemic potentials. L-alanine is known to stimulate glucagon release and increase the concentration of glucose in the blood in people with diabetics, and its use may cause or exacerbate high blood glucose levels. Always ask your doctor about the best dose to begin at.
Dosage of Alanine Supplement
3 to 6 grams of beta-alanine per day is the endorsed dosage if you weigh anywhere between 100lbs to 200 lbs.
L-Alanine Food Sources
L-alanine is seen as a non-essential amino acid because the body can synthesize it internally. Thus, it is not essential to get this amino acid in your diet.
Its deficiencies are rare in humans who receive adequate protein intake, but there may be cases where supplemental L-alanine can have health benefits.
The best foods for increasing L-alanine include:
- Lean meat cuts,
- Eggs and certain dairy products.
- Beans and
- Green leafy vegetables are also good sources.
Alanine plays a major role in the different metabolic processes that take place in the body. It does a great job in regulating blood sugar levels and can be used to treat against low sugar shocks since it is able to increase insulin excretion from the pancreas.
Alanine is also known to keep in check uncontrolled growth of the pancreatic tissue, which can lead to cancer.