DLPA

(DL-phenylalanine)

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

DLPA appears to help increase and prolong the body’s ability to naturally kill pain because it produces and activates hormones called endorphins, which have an almost “morphine-like” effect.

Other names for DLPA

DL-phenylalanine

Where to find DLPA

DLPA does not occur naturally, but phenylalanine can be found in protein-rich foods.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use DLPA

As a potentially powerful pain reliever, DLPA is used by a variety of people — both active and sedentary. It may help relieve pain from whiplash, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, migraines, muscle cramps and soreness, as well as postoperative pain. What’s more, it’s been shown to be effective for boosting emotional enthusiasm for life and fighting depression.

Ways that DLPA can enhance Fat Loss:
  • Support fat loss by helping curb sugar and carbohydrate cravings

Ways that DLPA can enhance Energy & Endurance:
  • Increase and prolong the body’s ability to naturally kill pain by activating endorphins
Ways that DLPA can enhance Mental Functioning:
  • Fight depression by increasing positive attitudes and emotional enthusiasm

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of DLPA deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for DLPA

Research indicates that DLPA may be useful in the treatment of:

  • ALS
  • Leg cramps
  • Obesity
  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Alcohol damage (hangovers!)

DISCUSSION

More about DLPA

DLPA is a form of the essential amino acid phenylalanine. It’s made up of equal parts of D, or synthetic, and L, or natural, phenylalanine. It appears to help increase and prolong the body’s ability to naturally kill pain because it produces and activates hormones called endorphins, which have an almost “morphine-like” effect. DLPA is doubly attractive because it appears to be effective for long-term pain relief without affecting the body’s mechanisms for acute pain, such as burns, deep cuts, etc.

Unlike many drugs, this non-addictive amino acid actually appears to become more effective over time. But, the pain relief may not occur immediately. It can take anywhere from four days to four weeks before relief is noticed. Interestingly, often people who do not respond to conventional prescription painkillers, such as Valium, report positive results with DLPA supplementation.

A 1991 study indicated that DLPA used in combination with morphine allowed the dosage of morphine to be lowered and also lessened the undesirable effects of the drug, including dependence.

Some researchers contend that this nontoxic substance has antidepressant actions and is beneficial when combined with other therapies, without adverse interactions. It appears to increase positive attitudes and emotional enthusiasm for life in addition to its powerful pain-relieving effects.

Mood elevator

L-Phenylalanine, one half of DLPA, is converted into the amino acid tyrosine in the body through some complex chemical reactions in the liver. L-Tyrosine, in turn, is a brain messenger that can be converted into dopamine and norepinephrine. Through these conversions, L-phenylalanine may be able to help relieve stress and depression and help suppress appetite.

Phenylalanine has also been shown to increase the concentrations of a chemical messenger in the brain known for its importance in generating romantic feelings and increasing libido — phenylethylamine. Research has shown that individuals who have become disinterested in sex appear to have low levels of phenylethylamine in their brains.

In conclusion

Athletes use DLPA for many of its effects — to improve focus for a workout, to help relieve post-exercise soreness, and to suppress appetite when needed. It is also used by a variety of individuals to relieve pain, improve memory, and lift depression. In other words, this amino acid-like supplement has a wide variety of effects that may interest active and non-active individuals alike.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

A total of 6 tablets or 2,250 mg per day is reportedly sufficient when starting to supplement with DLPA. Pain relief is usually reported after one week of use.


Timing

Two tablets taken 15 minutes before meals 3 times daily is typically recommended.

Tip

If no substantial pain relief is noticed after three weeks, double the initial amount for two to three more weeks. If it is still not effective, discontinue use. You are most likely one of the few non-responders to this supplement.

Synergists of DLPA

DLPA combined with tyrosine and 5-HTP is believed by some experts to help curb sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

Vitamin B6 and C are reportedly needed in the blood for phenylalanine to be used.

DLPA may help enhance the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture.

Safety of DLPA

DLPA rarely leads to occasional headaches or jitteriness.

Do not use if you have phenylketonuria.

It is not recommended during pregnancy.

Because it may elevate blood pressure, please discuss any DLPA use with your personal health-care practitioner if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

Toxicity of DLPA

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Beckmann, H., et al., “DL-Phenylalanine in Depressed Patients: An Open Study,” J Neural Transm 41.2-3 (1977) : 123-34.
  • Beckmann, H., et al., “DL-Phenylalanine Versus Imipramine: A Double-Blind Controlled Study,” Archiv Psychiatr Nervekr 227.1 (1979) : 49-58.
  • Wood, D.R., et al., “Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder with DL-Phenylalanine,” Psychiatry Res. 16.1 (1985) : 21-26.