Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. It is the only form of phenylalanine found in proteins. D-phenylalanine is not an essential amino acid, and its role in the body is not currently understood. DL-phenylalanine is made in a lab.
People use phenylalanine for a disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo). It is also used for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic pain, aging skin, depression, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
Possibly Ineffective for
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Taking phenylalanine by mouth doesn't seem to help ADHD.
- Chronic pain. Taking D-phenylalanine by mouth does not seem to reduce pain.
When applied to the skin: Phenylalanine cream is possibly safe when used short-term.
Special Precautions and Warnings
When applied to the skin: Phenylalanine cream is possibly safe when used short-term. Pregnancy: L-phenylalanine is commonly consumed in foods. But having too much phenylalanine during pregnancy can increase the chance of birth defects. For patients who process phenylalanine normally and have normal levels, it is fine to consume phenylalanine in typical food amounts, but supplements containing phenylalanine should be avoided. For pregnant patients who have high levels of phenylalanine, such as those with a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), even normal food amounts are unsafe. For these patients, experts recommend a low phenylalanine diet for at least 20 weeks before getting pregnant. This should reduce the risk of birth defects.
Breast-feeding: L-phenylalanine is commonly consumed in foods. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if any form of phenylalanine is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine while breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) and other conditions that cause high levels of phenylalanine: Some people have inherited disorders, such as PKU, that cause their bodies to build up too much phenylalanine. This can cause developmental delay, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other serious health issues. If you have one of these disorders, avoid phenylalanine supplements.
Schizophrenia: Some people with schizophrenia have a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. Phenylalanine might make this movement disorder worse.
Levodopa interacts with PHENYLALANINE
Levodopa is used for Parkinson disease. Taking phenylalanine along with levodopa can make Parkinson disease worse. Do not take phenylalanine if you are taking levodopa.
Do not take this combination
Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with PHENYLALANINE
Phenylalanine can increase a chemical in the body called tyramine. Large amounts of tyramine can cause high blood pressure. Some medications used for depression stop the body from breaking down tyramine. This can cause there to be too much tyramine and lead to dangerously high blood pressure.
Some common MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
Baclofen interacts with PHENYLALANINE
Phenylalanine might decrease how much baclofen the body absorbs. This might decrease the effects of baclofen.
Be cautious with this combination
As medicine, L-phenylalanine, D-phenylalanine, and DL-phenylalanine have been used in varying doses. L-phenylalanine has most often been used by adults in doses of 250 mg or 100 mg/kg by mouth daily for up to 3 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what form and dose might be best for a specific condition.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.