What is Phenylalanine?

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

For a couple of years I chewed a lot of gum and noticed that one of the listed ingredients was phenylalanine. At the time, I figured it probably wasn’t something healthy but didn’t think about it too much. However, is it actually something unhealthy, or is it harmless?

According to the Mayo Clinic website (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/phenylalanine/AN01552), phenylalanine is harmless for most people but can cause problems for those who have a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria. Phenylalanine is naturally present in many foods that contain protein, but foods that contain aspartame–like many brands of gum–also have phenylalanine in them. Aspartame can cause many health problems in any dosage size, but if you consume too much aspartame, it can raise the level of phenylalanine in your brain quickly. This situation can be detrimental to your health if you are on certain medications, have anxiety problems, have a sleep disorder, or have the disorder tardive dyskinesia (with tardive dyskinesia, you cannot control certain facial movements, like a protruding tongue or making faces–see http://bipolar.about.com/od/sideeffectslibrary/f/tardivedyskines.htm).

So, basically, phenylalanine is considered “safe” for most people.

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