We talked about phenylalanine in class today, yet i thought it was interesting to know in a little more detail about phenylalanine and what kinds of food products it is found in. It can be found in foods such as eggs, milk, bananas, meat, along with most types of fish. It has a negative effect on the body in high doses, yet it can do a great deal of good for the body.

Phenylalanine is a known essential amino acid (which means it should be obtained from dietary sources) that is needed for normal functioning of the central nervous system. It helps control symptoms of depression and chronic pain, as well as other diseases linked to a malfunctioning central nervous system.

Phenylalanine is especially effective for treating brain disorders because it is able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective barrier formed by the red blood cells and the glia of the brain that protects the brain from any toxins, bacteria, and viruses, etc., that are circulating through the bloodstream. Only chemicals that are able to cross this barrier can directly affect brain function.

The body needs phenylalanine to make epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters that basically control the way you perceive and interact with your environment. Phenylalanine can help you feel happier, less hungry and more alert; it has also to treat chronic pain and improve memory and concentration.

-Colin Schroeder

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