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 can occur both forms of the substance, which then form the so-called racemic mixture of DL-aspartic acid.
The highest concentration of a substance found in brain cells. By acting on the central nervous system, it increases concentration and learning ability. At the same time, the researchers say that the increased concentration of amino acids is found in the brain of people suffering from epilepsy, but in those with depressions, on the contrary, it is 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.
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.
- Important for the transportation of minerals necessary for the formation and functioning of DNA and RNA.
- Strengthens the immune system, promoting the production of antibodies and immunoglobulins.
- A positive effect on the work of the central nervous system, maintains concentration, sharpens the work of the brain.
- They contribute to the elimination of toxins from the body, including ammonia, which extremely negatively affects the functioning of the brain, nervous system and liver.
- Under stress, the body needs additional doses of amino acids.
- It is an effective remedy for depression.
- Promotes the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.
Differences between Forms
On the labels of bioadditives, the amino acid L and D forms are often referred to by the common name – aspartic acid. But nevertheless structurally both substances differ from each other, and each of them plays its own role in the body.
L-form is represented in our body more abundantly, helps to synthesize proteins and cleanse the body of excess ammonia. D-form of aspartic acid in small quantities found in the body of adults, is responsible for the production of hormones and the functioning of the brain.
Despite the fact that both amino acid variants are made up of identical components, the atoms inside the molecule are connected in such a way that they make the L and D shapes mirror each other. Both have a central core and a group of atoms attached to the side. In the L-form, the group of atoms is attached on the left, and on its mirror reflection – on the right. It is these differences that are responsible for the polarity of the molecule and determine the functions of the amino acid isomers. True, the L-form, entering the body, often transformed into the D-isomer. Meanwhile, as experiments have shown, the “transformed” amino acid does not affect the testosterone level.
The role of the L-isomer
Almost all amino acids have two isomers – L and D. L-amino acids are primarily 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 formation of urine and helps excrete ammonia and toxins. In addition, like other amino acids, this substance is important for glucose synthesis and energy production. Also, L-form aspartic acid is known to be involved in the creation of molecules for DNA.
Use of D-isomer
D-form aspartic acid is primarily important for the nervous and reproductive systems. It concentrates mainly in the brain and genitals. It is responsible for the production of growth hormone, and also regulates the synthesis of testosterone. And on the background of increased testosterone, endurance increases (this property of the acid is actively used by bodybuilders), and libido also increases. 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 D-isomer of an amino acid over 12 days. Scientists argue whether the D-form of this substance is needed as a bioadditive for 21 people of the year, but there is no consensus yet.
In addition, studies have shown that the level of D-aspartic acid in the brain tissues steadily increases 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 contained in cartilage and enamel, can accumulate in brain tissues, and is also present in red blood cell membranes. At the same time in the brain of the embryo the amount of this amino acid in 10 is more than in the brain of an adult. Also, scientists compared the composition of the brain of a healthy person and those 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 elderly people, the concentration of D-isomer in the hippocampus (dentate gyrus of the brain) is significantly lower than in the young.
Scientists continue to study the effects of aspartic acid on humans.
312 mg of a substance per day is called the safe norm, dividing it into 2-3.
Amino acid based supplements are recommended for approximately 4-12 weeks.
D-form is used to increase testosterone levels. The study showed that in men who consumed D-aspartic acid for 3 g over 12 days, testosterone levels increased by almost 40 percent. But after a day of 3 without supplements, the figures dropped by about 10 percent.
Who needs higher 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 not only of aspartic acid, but also other beneficial substances. Amino acid deficiency is manifested by severe fatigue, depression, frequent infectious diseases.
The question of the consumption of aspartic acid in the form of food is not so acute, since a healthy organism 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 meat, dairy food, fish, eggs.
Sources of plant origin: asparagus, sprouted seeds, alfalfa, oatmeal, avocado, asparagus, molasses, beans, lentils, soybeans, brown rice, nuts, brewer’s yeast, tropical fruit juices, apple juices (from 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.