Alanine: what functions it performs and reference values

Alanine: what functions it performs and reference values

L’alanine it’s a amino acid which derives from the metabolism of other amino acids, especially branched-chain amino acids, such as valine, leucine e isoleucine. Like the other members of this large family, also in this case we are faced with one of the fundamental bricks for the construction of the proteins.

Alanine, in particular, is known as “non-essential amino acid”, As it can be synthesized by our body and, consequently, it does not necessarily have to be consumed through food.

Nevertheless, alanine is still one of the amino acids present in greater quantities in protein foods.

It contributes to the development of numerous processes in our body, supplies energy to the muscles, brain and central nervous system, helps to treat numerous conditions, such as liver diseasehypoglycemia, the high cholesterolbenign prostatic hypertrophy and several other conditions.

Alanine: what is it for?

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But exactly what is alanine for? We have seen that this amino acid performs many essential functions for the proper functioning of our body. It is involved in the glucose-alanine cyclewhich takes place between the tissues and the liver, and plays a crucial role in the conversion of sugar into energy.

In addition, alanine helps support the immune system, contributes to the processing of B vitamins and protects the health of the prostate, helping to prevent enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, reducing the pain associated with any prostate disease.

As we have anticipated, alanine serves to provide energy to the brain and central nervous system, contributes to the improvement of liver health and protects cells from oxidative damage. Also, when taken together with other amino acids, such as arginine and glycine, this amino acid helps to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Alanine: where is it?

But where is alanine found? We already know that our body is naturally able to produce this amino acid autonomously, however alanine is also present in many protein foods. The list includes foods such as:

All you need to do is follow a balanced diet, which contains all of those foods rich in alanine, to get extra supplies of this important amino acid. In addition, on the market it is possible to find Beta-alanine supplements and other amino acids.

Often these products are recommended to optimize performance and endurance during more challenging workoutsto improve aerobic capacity and reduce fatigue.

What is alanine in the blood?

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When we talk about “alanine in the blood“, We actually refer to thealanine aminotransferase (ALT), a particular enzyme found mainly in the liver and in smaller quantities in the heart, muscles and kidneys. Enzymes are substances of a protein nature that play the role of catalysts, that is, they favor certain biological reactions in our body.

When the liver is damaged, tests generally show a high value of alanine aminotransferase. In such situations, the latter is in fact released into the blood in high quantities, a phenomenon that can occur even before the subject manifests the first symptoms of a liver disease.

The values ​​of alanine aminotransferase will instead be low in healthy subjects, while they can increase in case of liver damage.

The test is usually ordered as a liver function screening test in people who may have contracted a hepatitis virus, in people with a family history of liver disease, and in those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

Reference values

I reference values ​​for alanine they can vary significantly from one testing laboratory to another. In the study of the results it is also important to take into account the age and sex of the subject, as well as other factors that we will see shortly and that could alter the result. In principle, a normal reference range ALT is the one between 7 and 56 U / L (units per liter).

The evaluation of the results will still be carried out by the doctor, who will take into account all possible individual factors.

High or low alanine aminotransferase: meaning

What does it mean to have high alanine aminotransferase? We know that elevated values ​​are often associated with a liver condition or disease. Based on the levels found, the subject could suffer from aacute or chronic hepatitis. In addition, values ​​significantly higher than the reference values ​​may indicate damage caused by exposure to drugs, medications or other substances harmful to the liver.

In case of Alanina Bassa, in most cases the value should not be of particular concern. If the values ​​were to be much lower than the reference values, the subject could suffer from one vitamin B6 deficiency or a kidney disease.

When to worry?

If the alanine values ​​are outside the reference ranges, you should be aware that several individual factors must be taken into account in evaluating the results that could skew the results.

For example, recent strenuous exercise may cause ALT values ​​to increase, as may the use of certain medications, the menstrual cycle, or even the person’s body mass index. Gender also plays an important role: ALT tends to be higher in men than in women, possibly due to hormonal factors.

In general, encounter a abnormal value in the results testing could certainly be stressful, but keep in mind that a high level of alanine transaminase (ALT) does not always indicate the presence of a serious medical condition. Refer the results for your doctor’s attention so that you know the causes of this result and, if necessary, any treatment.

Source: GreenStyle by

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