Aspartic acid is a non-essential acidic amino acid. This endogenous substance plays an important role for the proper functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems, and also contributes to the production of certain hormones (growth hormone, testosterone, progesterone). Contained in proteins, the body acts as an exciting neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. In addition, it is used as bioadditives, an antibacterial agent, and is a part of detergents. Bred in 1868 from asparagus.
Natural aspartic acid with the formula C4H7NO4 is a colorless crystal with a high melting point. Another name for the substance is amino succinic acid.
All amino acids used by humans for protein synthesis (except glycine) have 2 forms. And only the L-form is used for protein synthesis and muscle growth. D-form can also be used by humans, but it performs several other functions.
Aspartic amino acid also exists in 2 configurations. L-aspartic acid is more common and is involved in many biochemical processes. The biological role of the D form is not as diverse as its mirror isomer. The body as a result of enzymatic activity is able to occur both forms of matter, which then form the so-called racemic mixture of DL-aspartic acid.
The highest concentration of a substance is found in brain cells. By acting on the central nervous system, it increases concentration and learning abilities. At the same time, researchers say that an increased concentration of amino acids is contained in the brain of people suffering from epilepsy, but in people with depression, on the contrary, much less.
Aspartic acid, reacting with another amino acid, phenylalanine, forms aspartame. This artificial sweetener is actively used in the food industry, and acts on the cells of the nervous system as an irritant. For this reason, doctors do not recommend the frequent use of aspartic acid supplements, especially for children whose nervous system is more sensitive. Against the background of asparaginates, they may develop autism. The amino acid can also affect women's health and regulate the chemical composition of follicular fluid, which affects the reproductive potential. A frequent consumption of asparaginates by pregnant women can adversely affect the health of the fetus.
The role in the body:
- Aspartic acid is important in the formation of other amino acids, such as asparagine, methionine, isoleucine, arginine, threonine and lysine.
- Relieves chronic fatigue.
- It is important for the transportation of minerals necessary for the formation and functioning of DNA and RNA.
- Strengthens the immune system, contributing to the production of antibodies and immunoglobulins.
- It positively affects the functioning of the central nervous system, maintains concentration, and exacerbates the work of the brain.
- They contribute to the elimination of toxins from the body, including ammonia, which has an extremely negative effect on the functioning of the brain, nervous system and liver.
- Under stress, the body needs additional doses of the amino acid.
- It is an effective remedy for depression.
- Promotes the conversion of carbohydrates to energy.
Differences between forms
On the labels of dietary supplements, the amino acids L and D forms are often indicated by the common name - aspartic acid. But still, both substances are structurally different from each other, and each of them plays a role in the body.
The L-form in our body is more abundant, it helps to synthesize proteins and cleanse the body of excess ammonia. D-form of aspartic acid in small amounts is found in the body of adults, it is responsible for the production of hormones and the functioning of the brain.
Despite the fact that both variants of the amino acid are created from identical components, the atoms inside the molecule are connected in such a way that they make the L and D forms mirror images of each other. Both have a central nucleus and a group of atoms attached to the side. In the L-form, a group of atoms is attached on the left, and at its mirror reflection, on the right. It is these differences that are responsible for the polarity of the molecule and determine the function of the amino acid isomers. True, the L-form, entering the body, is often transformed into the D-isomer. Meanwhile, experiments have shown that the "transformed" amino acid does not affect the level of testosterone.
The role of the L isomer
Almost all amino acids have two isomers - L and D. L-amino acids are mainly used for the production of proteins. The same function is performed by the L-isomer of aspartic acid. In addition, this substance contributes to the process of urine formation and helps to remove ammonia and toxins from the body. In addition, like other amino acids, this substance is important for glucose synthesis and energy production. L-form aspartic acid is also known to be involved in the creation of molecules for DNA.
The benefits of the D-isomer
The D-form of aspartic acid is primarily important for the functioning of the nervous and reproductive systems. It is concentrated mainly in the brain and genitals. It is responsible for the production of growth hormone, and also regulates the synthesis of testosterone. And against the background of increased testosterone, endurance increases (this property of acid is actively used by bodybuilders), and libido is also enhanced. Meanwhile, this form of aspartic acid in no way affects the structure and volume of muscles.
Studies have shown that testosterone levels increase significantly in people taking the amino acid D-isomer for 12 days. Scientists argue whether the D-form of this substance is needed as a dietary supplement for people under 21 years of age, but there is no consensus yet.
In addition, studies have shown that the level of D-aspartic acid in brain tissue steadily rises to 35 years, then the reverse process begins - a decrease in the concentration of the substance.
Although D-aspartic acid is rarely associated with protein structures, it has been found that this substance is found in cartilage and enamel, can accumulate in brain tissues, and is also present in red blood cell membranes. Moreover, the amount of this amino acid in the brain of the embryo is 10 times greater than in the brain of an adult. Scientists also compared the brain composition of a healthy person and individuals with Alzheimer's disease. It turned out that in patients the concentration of aspartic acid is higher, but deviations from the norm were recorded only in the white matter of the brain. It is also interesting that in the elderly, the concentration of the D-isomer in the hippocampus (dentate gyrus of the brain) is significantly lower than in young people.
Scientists continue to study the effect of aspartic acid on humans.
A safe norm for now is called 312 mg of the substance per day, dividing into 2-3 doses.
Amino acid based dietary supplement is recommended for approximately 4-12 weeks.
D-form is used to increase testosterone levels. The study showed that in men who consumed 3 g of D-aspartic acid for 12 days, testosterone levels increased by almost 40 percent. But after 3 days without supplementation, the indicators decreased by about 10 percent.
Who needs high doses
Undoubtedly, this substance is extremely necessary for people of all age categories, but in some cases the need for aspartic acid increases sharply. First of all, this applies to people with depression, poor memory, brain diseases, mental disorders. It is important to regularly take the amino acid for people with reduced working capacity, cardiac diseases, and vision problems.
In addition, it is important to know that high blood pressure, elevated testosterone levels, and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels of the brain are the reason for reducing the intensity of the substance intake.
Amino Acid Deficiency
Persons whose diet does not contain enough protein foods are at risk of developing a deficiency of not only aspartic acid, but also other beneficial substances. Amino acid deficiency is manifested by severe fatigue, depression, frequent infectious diseases.
The issue of consumption of aspartic acid in the form of food is not so acute, since a healthy body can independently provide itself with the necessary portions of the substance (in two forms). But, nevertheless, you can also get the amino acid from food, mainly high protein.
Sources of animal origin: all meat products, including smoked meats, dairy food, fish, eggs.
Sources of plant origin: asparagus, sprouted seeds, alfalfa, "hercules", avocado, asparagus, molasses, beans, lentils, soybeans, brown rice, nuts, brewer's yeast, fruit juices from tropical fruits, apple juices (from the Semerenko variety), potatoes .
Aspartic acid is an important component in maintaining health. Meanwhile, taking dietary supplements, it is important to remember the recommendations of doctors so as not to harm your body.