Nutrition and DietAlanine: non-essential amino acid

Alanine: non-essential amino acid

Alanine: what it is, functions, rich foods, consequences of its deficiency and contraindications of alanine, a non-essential amino acid but very important for the functioning of the body.

If we take into account that proteins are macromolecules composed mainly of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon (although the vast majority also contain phosphorus and sulfur), being formed by the union of several amino acids through peptides; the amino acids are the constituent elemental units of these macromolecules.

They are known as amino acids, and they are divided into two types:

  • Essential amino acids: phenylalanine, leucine, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
  • Non-essential amino acids: aspartic acid, alanine, cysteine, cystine, glycine, glutamic, hydroxyproline, proline, serine and tyrosine.

Therefore, what is known as alanine is a non-essential amino acid. They receive this name not because they are not essential or fundamental for our body, but because our body is capable of synthesizing them, and they do not need to be consumed daily from the diet.

What is Alanine?

It is one of the non-essential amino acids that make up the proteins of living beings.  However, it becomes one of the most important amino acids.

The alanine synthesized by the body eventually leaves the bloodstream and is stored by the liver, where it will be metabolized. Through a process of gluconeogenesis, it is transformed into glucose, finally being used by the brain, muscle, skin, retina and renal medulla, among others.

Alanine functions

Power source

Alanine is used as an energy source for the brain, nervous system, and muscles. Hence its importance as a non-essential amino acid.

Useful in metabolization

In addition to its benefits as a natural energy source, it helps metabolize both organic acids and sugar.

It also tends to be involved in both the metabolism of vitamin B6 and tryptophan.

Control of blood glucose

Another of its interesting basic functions happens because it helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it is useful in stimulating the different antibodies that protect the body.

Alanine rich foods

  • Plant-based foods: protein-rich vegetables, legumes, nuts and cereals.
  • Foods of animal origin: eggs, beef, fish, chicken and dairy.

Consequences of alanine deficiency

The lack of alanine has certain consequences in our body:

  • Problems of prostate origin.
  • Predisposition to suffer infections.
  • Glucose disturbance
  • Nervous disorders.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Muscular weakness.

Alanine contraindications

Those with kidney or liver disease should not eat large amounts of amino acids. It is best to always consult your doctor.



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