Alanine is a nonessential amino acid produced in the body from mostly pyruvate and also BCAA (branched-chain amino acids). Known also as L – alanine, alanine is different from beta- alanine. Chemically and functionally, they are different.
Athletic Benefits of Alanine:
Alanine is made from pyruvate in the muscles and then is shuttled to the liver. Alanine converts through hepatic deamination process into pyruvate again. Then pyruvate changes into glucose in the liver and is transferred via blood stream to the muscles wherein can change into pyruvate. This is called “alanine – glucose cycle”, which serves to conserve energy in the form of glycogen.
For more information about alanine – glucose cycle, see “Alanine Cycle” under the section of “Energy Map”.
Potential benefits of alanine in athletes are:
- Protein synthesis.
- Rebuilding Glycogen storage.
- Endurance enhancer.
- Anti – catabolic agent during prolonged and intense training sessions.
Non – Athletic Benefits of Alanine:
- Alanine may support prostate health. Along with glycine and glutamic acid, helps reduce symptoms of enlarged prostate or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
- Alanine may be helpful in prevention of epileptic seizures by acting as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
L - alanine is available in the forms of capsule and powder. In people with BPH and epileptic seizures, it is recommended 500 – 1000 mg a day.
As a sport – performance enhancer, it is usually taken 5 – 10 grams starting from 30 minutes before exercise and continuing during exercise. Supplementing with pyruvate and BCAA could also increase alanine level. Caution: there are few studies that have linked high levels of alanine to high blood pressure and diabetes type II. This product is not recommended in people with liver and kidney diseases.