Amino Acids

Building blocks for key neurotransmitters and hormones, and agents that are part of the processes of cellular energy production, osmoregulation, signaling, antioxidation, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection.


Amino Acids - Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Overview:
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an acetylated form of L-carnitine with anti-aging, neuroprotective and nootropic effects. It decreases fatigue and improves attention, memory, learning and executive function.

Scientific Name:
(R)-3-Acetyloxy-4-trimethylammonio-butanoate/p>

Mechanisms:

  • The acetylated version of L-Carnitine can cross the blood brain barrier thereby providing better cognitive benefits[1]
  • In the brain, it originates Acetyl-CoA that can bind to choline to increase the production of Acetylcholine[1]
  • Synergistic with choline donors
  • Can increase the release of Noradrenaline and Serotonin[2]
  • Increases synaptic plasticity[3]
  • Potent cerebral antioxidant activity – can prevent and repair oxidative damage to neurons[4]
  • Increases energy production by mitochondria[5]
  • Can decrease toxicity associated with excessive excitatory neurotransmitter release and cellular waste accumulation[4]
References

[1] Nałecz KA, et al (2004). Carnitine: transport and physiological functions in the brain. Mol Aspects Med, 25(5-6):551-67. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2004.06.001
[2] Smeland OB, et al (2012). Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice. Neurochem Int, 61(1):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.04.008
[3] Laschi R, et al (1990). Ultrastructural aspects of aging rat hippocampus after long-term administration of acetyl-L-carnitine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res, 10(1-2):59-63. PMID: 2201657
[4] Zanelli SA, et al (2005). Mechanisms of ischemic neuroprotection by acetyl-L-carnitine. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1053:153-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2005.tb00021.x
[5] Reuter SE & Evans AM (2012). Carnitine and acylcarnitines: pharmacokinetic, pharmacological and clinical aspects. Clin Pharmacokinet, 51(9):553-72. doi: 10.2165/11633940-000000000-00000

Amino Acids - N-Acetyl Tyrosine

N-Acetyl Tyrosine

Overview:
Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is an acetylated form of the amino acid L-Tyrosine with nootropic effects. It increases attention, motivation and concentration, and improves memory and learning.>

Scientific Name:
(2S)-2-(acetylamino)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propanoic acid

Mechanisms:

  • Increases the bioavailability of Tyrosine[1]
  • Tyrosine is a Dopamine precursor – increases the synthesis of dopamine[2]
  • Increases the synthesis of noradrenaline from dopamine and balances the levels of Serotonin and GABA[1]
  • Antidepressant and anxiolytic activity[3]
  • Improves neuronal communication
  • Melanin precursor – can reduce neurotoxicity by removing quinones and toxic metals[4]
References

[1] Topall G & Laborit H (1989). Brain tyrosine increases after treating with prodrugs: comparison with tyrosine. J Pharm Pharmacol, 41(11):789-91. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1989.tb06368.x
[2] Fernstrom JD & Fernstrom MH (2007). Tyrosine, phenylalanine, and catecholamine synthesis and function in the brain. J Nutr, 137(6 Suppl 1):1539S-1547S. PMID: 17513421
[3] Banderet LE & Lieberman HR (1989). Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. Brain Res Bull, 22(4):759-62. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(84)91207-1
[4] Miyazaki I & Asanuma M (2009). Approaches to prevent dopamine quinone-induced neurotoxicity. Neurochem Res, 34(4):698-706. doi: 10.1007/s11064-008-9843-1

Amino Acids - DL-Phenylalanine

DL-Phenylalanine

Overview:
DLPA is a mixture of two forms of the essential amino acid phenylalanine, the naturally occurring L-phenylalanine and the synthetic D-phenylalanine with nootropic effects. DLPA enhances mood and can increases alertness and improve memory and learning.

Scientific Name:
DL-Phenylalanine

Mechanisms:

  • DL-Phenylalanine crosses the blood-brain barrier easily
  • Increases the production of dopamine and noradrenalin – mood enhancer
  • Decreases chronic pain by blocking the action of enkephalinase[1]
  • Binds to Glutamate AMPA receptors improving synaptic communication –memory and learning enhancement[2]
References

[1] Russell AL & McCarty MF (2000). DL-phenylalanine markedly potentiates opiate analgesia – an example of nutrient/pharmaceutical up-regulation of the endogenous analgesia system. Med Hypotheses, 55(4):283-8. doi: 10.1054/mehy.1999.1031
[2] Hill RA, et al (1997). Structure–activity studies for alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropanoic acid receptors: acidic hydroxyphenylalanines. J Med Chem, 40(20):3182-91. doi: 10.1021/jm950028z

Amino Acids - Taurine

Taurine

Overview:
Taurine is an organic amino sulfonic acid with nootropic and neuroprotective actions. It can improve memory and has anxiolytic effects.

Scientific Name:
2-aminoethanesulphonic acid

Mechanisms:

  • Neuroprotective through antioxidant and toxin removal activity[1]
  • May improve memory by increasing long-term synaptic potentiation[2]
  • Activates GABA and Glycine receptors – anxiolytic effect[3]
  • Decreases the affinity of NMDA glutamate receptors to Glycine, needed for their activation[4]
  • Central nervous system depressant – has a sedative effects and promotes sleep and relaxation
  • May have antidepressant effects by modulating GABA and BDNF signaling[5]
  • Cell membrane stabilizer
References

<[1] Aruoma OI, et al (1988). The antioxidant action of taurine, hypotaurine and their metabolic precursors. Biochem J. 1988 Nov 15;256(1):251-5. doi: 10.1042/bj2560251
[2] del Olmo N, et al (2004). Role of taurine uptake on the induction of long-term synaptic potentiation. Eur J Neurosci, 19(7):1875-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03309.x
[3] Zhang CG & Kim SJ (2007). Taurine induces anti-anxiety by activating strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor in vivo. Ann Nutr Metab, 51(4):379-86. doi: 10.1159/000107687
[4] Chan CY, et al (2013). Direct interaction of taurine with the NMDA glutamate receptor subtype via multiple mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol, 775:45-52. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6130-2_4
[5] Caletti G, et al (2015). Antidepressant dose of taurine increases mRNA expression of GABAA receptor α2 subunit and BDNF in the hippocampus of diabetic rats. Behav Brain Res, 283:11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.01.018

Amino Acids - L-Theanine

L-Theanine

Overview:
L-Theanine is an amino acid analog of glutamate and glutamine found in green tea from Camellia sinensis with neuroprotective effects. L-Theanine has anxiolytic activity and studies suggest that it may improve memory.

Scientific Name:
L-gamma-glutamylethylamide

Mechanisms:

  • Increases alpha brain waves – promotes attention and relaxation without sedation[1, 2]
  • Synergistic with caffeine in promoting concentration, motivation and memory
  • Can modulate the release of Dopamine, improving mood[3]
  • Weak antagonist of NMDA Glutamate receptors
  • Antioxidant effects and protects neurons from damage and hypoxia[4]
  • May upregulate the production of proteins associated with neuronal growth[5]
References

[1] Gomez-Ramirez M, et al (2007). The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine. Clin Neuropharmacol, 30(1):25-38. doi: 10.1097/01.WNF.0000240940.13876.17
[2] Rao TP1, et al (2015). In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. J Am Coll Nutr, 34(5):436-47. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.926153
[3] Yokogoshi H, et al (1998). Effect of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on brain monoamines and striatal dopamine release in conscious rats. Neurochem Res, 23(5):667-73. doi: 10.1023/A:1022490806093
[4] Sumathi T, et al (2016). l-Theanine alleviates the neuropathological changes induced by PCB (Aroclor 1254) via inhibiting upregulation of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress in rat brain. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol, 42:99-117. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2016.01.008
[5] Takeda A, et al (2011). Facilitated neurogenesis in the developing hippocampus after intake of theanine, an amino acid in tea leaves, and object recognition memory. Cell Mol Neurobiol, 31(7):1079-88. doi: 10.1007/s10571-011-9707-0