Anyone who suffers from chronic pain or depression can probably tell you how much their condition has held them back. Chronic pain and depression can prevent deep, restful sleep, physical activity, work and even interaction with friends and family. The search for a remedy can be a long one, with many options bringing with them the risk of dependency and other side effects.
Researchers have highlighted DL-phenylalanine as a possible remedy for chronic pain and depression, as a more natural way to relieve these conditions.
What Is DL-Phenylalanine?
DL-phenylalanine is different from other products used to treat pain and depression because it's an essential amino acid, not a drug. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein crucial for the body. DL-Phenylalanine supplements combine both L-phenylalanine, which is the naturally occurring form of this amino acid found in foods, with D-phenylalanine, which is produced by scientists in a laboratory.
DL-Phenylalanine for Pain Management and Depression
So, how can DL-phenylalanine help with chronic pain and mental health? The body needs to get DL-phenylalanine from food to maintain health, which is why those suffering from a deficiency of this amino acid may lead to symptoms like depression, confusion and a lack of energy, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM). Once ingested, this amino acid is converted into tyrosine, another amino acid whose actions within the body include the production of norepinephrine and serotonin. This action may be the key to reduced pain and improved mood and mental wellness.
The connection between this production of "happy hormones" the reduction of pain and depression with DL-phenylalanine was most recently looked at in a 2000 study of patients being treated with opiates for chronic pain, published in the journal Medical Hypotheses. A previous study, conducted in 2007 and published in the Journal of Neural Transmission found daily treatment with DL-phenylalanine reduced depressive symptoms in study participants after a treatment period of 20 days. It was a small study, but served as a starting point for future research.
More Ways to Combat Chronic Pain
It's important to note the evidence to support DL-phenylalanine for pain management is still very limited and more widespread and random trials involving humans will need to be conducted in order to make a definite recommendation on dosage and length of treatment. The facts surrounded taking this supplement for depression are more well founded due to this amino acids known impact on mental wellness.
If you suffer from chronic pain, here are some more suggestions of how to manage your condition for a more active, comfortable life:
- Use therapeutic massage with a topical arnica product.
- Exercise daily, strengthening and stretching the body.
- Take a bath with essential oils and epsom salts.
- Consult a naturopathic physician about alternative treatments like acupuncture and magnet therapy.
- Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet like turmeric and ginger.
If you're interested in taking a DL-phenylalanine supplement to manage your chronic pain, be sure to speak with your doctor first, especially if you're currently being treated for a medical condition or take daily painkillers. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't take DL-Phenylalanine. This supplement may interact with certain medications, such as MAOIs.
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