An amino acid formed from the conversion of pyruvate (a common compound formed during carbohydrate metabolism) or the breakdown of DNA or the dipeptides carnosine and anserine, (this latter process requires a zinc-dependent enzyme) found in large amounts in chicken and turkey.
Alanine helps to prevent exercise-induced ketosis and may reduce the ketosis of diabetes. It can be converted quickly in the liver to usable glucose, thus acting as a major energy source, and by triggering the release of glucagon from the liver, it can stimulate an increase in blood sugar.
Alanine also acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is important in the body’s production of lymphocytes (white blood cells). According to environmental medicine expert Dr William Rea, it is frequently deficient in chemically sensitive individuals, resulting in a slow ability to conjugate toxins.
Information compiled by Linda Lazarides
Naturopathic Nutritionist, Author, Educator