By Biplab Das
What is aspartic Acid?
Aspartic acid is one of the non-essential amino acids, meaning it is synthesized in the body, that constitute protein. Aspartic acid exists in two forms: namely, as L-aspartic acid and D-aspartic acid. Aspartic acid has acidic property.
D-aspartic (d-asp) acid acts as a neurotrasmitter or neuromodulator. Aspartic acid is important in the development of nervous sytem. It is also a component of synaptic vesicles, which transmit nerve impulses between nerve cells. Aspartic acid increases cAMP levels (a secondary messenger, signal transporter between the cell surface to inside the cell).
Aspartic acid also plays a role in the neuroendocrine system, as a regulator in the synthesis and release of hormones.
In the pituitary gland, aspartic amino acid stimulates the secretion of the following hormones:
prolactin, a hormone known to stimulate mammary glands and milk production, among other functions.
luteinizing, a hormone which is involved in the reproductive system. In males it plays role in testosterone synthesis; where as in females, it plays role in ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
growth hormone (GH).
Aspartic acid aids the functioning of all cells and RNA and DNA (carriers of the genetic code). Additional benefit of aspartic amino acid is protection of the liver from damages that can be caused by excess ammonia in the bloodstream, by helping in the removal of excess ammonia. Ammonia is toxic when in high levels in the bloodstream. Aspartic acid is involved in the urea cycle, conversion of ammonia into urea (less toxic) and its excretion. This is very important for athletes. Removal of excess ammonia also protects the central nervous system from damage.
Aspartic acid also participates in gluconeogenesis, the synthesis of glucose.
The d-aspartic acid form also plays a role in the development of dentin, a tissue that is an important component of teeth.
Although aspartic acid is considered a non-essential amino acid, it is essential for the productions of other essential and non-essential amino acids and other biochemicals. Among the biochemicals that are synthesized from aspartic acid are asparagine, arginine, lysine, methionine, threonine, isoleucine, and several nucleotides.
Aspartic acid deficiency decreases cellular energy. So, the cardinal symptoms of aspartic acid deficiency are chronic fatigue and reduced stamina. This could lead to depression. As this amino acid helps remove excess ammonia from the body, its deficiency can lead to increase in ammonia levels in the blood, which may cause damage to brain, nervous system and liver.
Dietary sources of aspartic amino acid