L-alanine is “one of the 20 amino acids common in proteins” (Zhuan-Ping and Wen-Hui, 2012). It is manufactured in the muscles with lactic acid acting as its primary raw material. Consequently, it is converted to pyruvate, an important molecule in the production of sugar (glucose). L-alanine is categorized under the α-class of amino acids and also classed as a non-essential amino acid. Structurally, this amino acid has a chemical formula CH3CH (NH2) COOH and forms an integral part inthe building blocks of proteins. The unique structure of l-alanine plays an important role in its application in many fields. To this end, l-alanine finds application in medicine, pharmaceutical industries, food industries and chemical industries among other fields.
L-alanine finds application mostly when utilized as nutrition supplements in the field of medicine. This is particularly important in cases of hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by low blood sugar levels. As such, the supplement boosts the body with rapid energy, vital in stimulating the liver to replenish the blood with glucose. In addition, l-alanine is important in orthomolecular medicine, a practice whereby doctors achieve treatment by ensuring that the body is supplied with the optimal amounts of natural elements. Deficiency of l-alanine can adversely affect our body. This can occur due to poor diet that is characterized by inadequate proteins, or can be due to environment or stress. In such cases, l-alanine supplements help in restoring the normal functioning of the body. A body’s response in cases of deficiency is witnessed when the muscles exhibit atrophy (shrinkage), experiences fatigue and cannot endure stress. With l-alanine, a body can tolerate rigorous training regime, and it enhances muscle formation. Moreover, “l-alanine boosts the immune system of the body and also helps to stop the occurrence of kidney stones” (Zhuan-Ping and Wen-Hui, 2012).
Still in medicine, l-alanine is also applied in radiotherapy. To this end, this amino acid comes in handy in dosimetric measurements. The detail of the processes and reactions that enhances this application is quite intricate. In summary, alanine molecules are modified through a deamination process to form free alkyl-based radicals that are chemically represented as CH3CHCOO–. Ideally, to form these free radicles, the alanine molecules are irradiated with radioactive rays. The resulting radicles are stable and can easily be detected by paramagnetic resonance, revealing the intensity of radiation absorbed by the alanine molecules. As such, radiotherapists are anticipating the use of alanine pellets on patients to reveal the radiation patterns in order to monitor whether the intended dosage of radiation has been administered.
In the cosmetic industry, l-alanine is counted among the important substances that positively contribute to forming a healthy body. L-alanine is the primary element that forms the Alanine Cycle. This cycle reutilizes carbon skeletons and also helps in the excretion of ammonium by “transporting it to the liver where it is converted into urea” (Zhuan-Ping and Wen-Hui, 2012). Moreover, l-alanine comes in handy in energy metabolism. To this end, cosmetic industries incorporate this compound in their products in order to realize these benefits. These products can be helpful to the athletes who engage in rigorous exercises.
L-alanine is an important element in food industries. This element is widely used as a sweetener in food products. Furthermore, it enhances the flavor of food products e.g. in pickles. In juice manufacturing companies, l-alanine acts as a preservative, extending the shelf-life of juice.
The pharmaceutical industry is another area where l-alanine is applied. To this end, l-alanine always acts as an intermediate product in the manufacture of drugs.
In a conclusion, l-alanine is an important compound in our body. As such, it finds application in many fields including medicine, food industries, cosmetic industries and pharmaceutical industries among others. With its unique structure, l-alanine presents opportunities for further research that can help discover other areas where it can be useful.
Zhuan-Ping, Z ., &Wen-Hui, F. (2012). First principles investigation of L-alanine in terahertz region.J.Biol. Phy.,38, 405-413.