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Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid and the precursor of the amino acid tyrosine. Like tyrosine, phenylalanine is also a precursor for catecholamines including tyramine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Catecholamines are neurotransmitters that act as adrenalin-like substances. Interestingly, several psychotropic drugs (mescaline, morphine, codeine, and papaverine) also have phenylalanine as a constituent. Phenylalanine is highly concentrated in the human brain and plasma. Normal metabolism of phenylalanine requires biopterin, iron, niacin, vitamin B6, copper, and vitamin C. An average adult ingests 5 g of phenylalanine per day and may optimally need up to 8 g daily. Phenylalanine is highly concentrated in a number of high protein foods, such as meat, cottage cheese, and wheat germ. An additional dietary source of phenylalanine is artificial sweeteners containing aspartame. As a general rule, aspartame should be avoided by phenylketonurics and pregnant women. When present in sufficiently high levels, phenylalanine can act as a neurotoxin and a metabotoxin. A neurotoxin is a compound that disrupts or attacks neural cells and neural tissue. A metabotoxin is an endogenously produced metabolite that causes adverse health effects at chronically high levels. Chronically high levels of phenylalanine are associated with at least five inborn errors of metabolism, including Hartnup disorder, hyperphenylalaninemia due to guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase deficiency, phenylketonuria (PKU), tyrosinemia type 2 (or Richner-Hanhart syndrome), and tyrosinemia type III (TYRO3). Phenylketonurics have elevated serum plasma levels of phenylalanine up to 400 times normal. High plasma concentrations of phenylalanine influence the blood-brain barrier transport of large neutral amino acids. The high plasma phenylalanine concentrations increase phenylalanine entry into the brain and restrict the entry of other large neutral amino acids (PMID: 19191004). Phenylalanine has been found to interfere with different cerebral enzyme systems. Untreated phenylketonuria (PKU) can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioural problems, and mental disorders. It may also result in a musty smell and lighter skin. Classic PKU dramatically affects myelination and white matter tracts in untreated infants; this may be one major cause of neurological disorders associated with phenylketonuria. Mild phenylketonuria can act as an unsuspected cause of hyperactivity, learning problems, and other developmental problems in children. It has been recently suggested that PKU may resemble amyloid diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, due to the formation of toxic amyloid-like assemblies of phenylalanine (PMID: 22706200). Phenylalanine also has some potential benefits. Phenylalanine can act as an effective pain reliever. Its use in premenstrual syndrome and Parkinson's may enhance the effects of acupuncture and electric transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS). Phenylalanine and tyrosine, like L-DOPA, produce a catecholamine-like effect. Phenylalanine is better absorbed than tyrosine and may cause fewer headaches. Low phenylalanine diets have been prescribed for certain cancers with mixed results. For instance, some tumours use more phenylalanine than others (particularly melatonin-producing tumours called melanomas).


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Alanine is a non-essential amino acid made in the body from either the conversion of the carbohydrate pyruvate or the breakdown of DNA and the dipeptides carnosine and anserine. It is highly concentrated in muscle and is one of the most important amino acids released by muscle, functioning as a major energy source. Plasma alanine is often decreased when the BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) are deficient. This finding may relate to muscle metabolism. Alanine is highly concentrated in meat products and other high-protein foods like wheat germ and cottage cheese. Alanine is an important participant as well as a regulator of glucose metabolism. Alanine levels parallel blood sugar levels in both diabetes and hypoglycemia, and alanine reduces both severe hypoglycemia and the ketosis of diabetes. It is an important amino acid for lymphocyte reproduction and immunity. Alanine therapy has helped dissolve kidney stones in experimental animals. Normal alanine metabolism, like that of other amino acids, is highly dependent upon enzymes that contain vitamin B6. Alanine, like GABA, taurine, and glycine, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain (http://www.dcnutrition.com/AminoAcids/). L-Alanine has been found to be associated with glucagon deficiency, which is an inborn error of metabolism.


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L-proline is one of the twenty amino acids used in living organisms as the building blocks of proteins. Proline is sometimes called an imino acid, although the IUPAC definition of an imine requires a carbon-nitrogen double bond. Proline is a non-essential amino acid that is synthesized from glutamic acid. It is an essential component of collagen and is important for proper functioning of joints and tendons. Proline is derived from the amino acid L-glutamate in which glutamate-5-semialdehyde is first formed by glutamate 5-kinase and glutamate-5-semialdehyde dehydrogenase (which requires NADH or NADPH). This semialdehyde can then either spontaneously cyclize to form 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid, which is reduced to proline by pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, or turned into ornithine by ornithine aminotransferase, followed by cyclization by ornithine cyclodeaminase to form proline. L-Proline has been found to act as a weak agonist of the glycine receptor and of both NMDA and non-NMDA ionotropic glutamate receptors. It has been proposed to be a potential endogenous excitotoxin/neurotoxin. Studies in rats have shown that when injected into the brain, proline non-selectively destroys pyramidal and granule cells (PMID: 3409032). Therefore, under certain conditions proline can act as a neurotoxin and a metabotoxin. A neurotoxin causes damage to nerve cells and nerve tissues. A metabotoxin is an endogenously produced metabolite that causes adverse health effects at chronically high levels. Chronically high levels of proline are associated with at least five inborn errors of metabolism, including hyperprolinemia type I, hyperprolinemia type II, iminoglycinuria, prolinemia type II, and pyruvate carboxylase deficiency. People with hyperprolinemia type I often do not show any symptoms even though they have proline levels in their blood between 3 and 10 times the normal level. Some individuals with hyperprolinemia type I exhibit seizures, intellectual disability, or other neurological or psychiatric problems. Hyperprolinemia type II results in proline levels in the blood between 10 and 15 times higher than normal, and high levels of a related compound called pyrroline-5-carboxylate. Hyperprolinemia type II has signs and symptoms that vary in severity, and is more likely than type I to involve seizures or intellectual disability.


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Maltose, or malt sugar, is a primary disaccharide in the human diet formed from two units of glucose joined with an alpha (1->4) linkage. It is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains. The addition of another glucose unit yields maltotriose, Further additions will produce dextrins, also called maltodextrins, and eventually starch. Maltose can be broken down into two glucose molecules by hydrolysis in living organisms. At the surface of the small intestine, the brush border enzymes maltase, breaks down maltose. (PMID: 14522745).


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Methylamine occurs endogenously from amine catabolism and its tissue levels increase in some pathological conditions, including diabetes. Interestingly, methylamine and ammonia levels are reciprocally controlled by a semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase activity that deaminates methylamine to formaldehyde with the production of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Methylamine also targets the voltage-operated neuronal potassium channels, probably inducing release of neurotransmitter(s). Semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO) catalyzes the deamination of primary amines. Such deamination has been shown capable of regulating glucose transport in adipose cells. It has been independently discovered that the primary structure of vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) is identical to SSAO. Increased serum SSAO activities have been found in patients with diabetic mellitus, vascular disorders, and Alzheimer's disease. The SSAO-catalyzed deamination of endogenous substrates like methylamine led to production of toxic formaldehyde. Chronic elevated methylamine increases the excretion of malondialdehyde and microalbuminuria. Amine oxidase substrates such as methylamine have been shown to stimulate glucose uptake by increasing the recruitment of the glucose transporter GLUT4 from vesicles within the cell to the cell surface. Inhibition of this effect by the presence of semicarbazide and catalase led to the suggestion that the process is mediated by the hydrogen peroxide produced in the oxidation of these amines (PMID: 16049393, 12686132, 17406961).


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Threonine is an essential amino acid in humans. It is abundant in human plasma, particularly in newborns. Severe deficiency of threonine causes neurological dysfunction and lameness in experimental animals. Threonine is an immunostimulant which promotes the growth of thymus gland. It also can probably promote cell immune defense function. This amino acid has been useful in the treatment of genetic spasticity disorders and multiple sclerosis at a dose of 1 gram daily. It is highly concentrated in meat products, cottage cheese and wheat germ. (http://www.dcnutrition.com/AminoAcids/) The threonine content of most of the infant formulas currently on the market is approximately 20% higher than the threonine concentration in human milk. Due to this high threonine content the plasma threonine concentrations are up to twice as high in premature infants fed these formulas than in infants fed human milk. The whey proteins which are used for infant formulas are sweet whey proteins. Sweet whey results from cheese production. Threonine catabolism in mammals appears to be due primarily (70-80%) to the activity of threonine dehydrogenase (EC that oxidizes threonine to 2-amino-3-oxobutyrate, which forms glycine and acetyl CoA, whereas threonine dehydratase (EC that catabolizes threonine into 2-oxobutyrate and ammonia, is significantly less active. Increasing the threonine plasma concentrations leads to accumulation of threonine and glycine in the brain. Such accumulation affects the neurotransmitter balance which may have consequences for the brain development during early postnatal life. Thus, excessive threonine intake during infant feeding should be avoided. (PMID 9853925).


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Asparagine (Asn) is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids on Earth. It has carboxamide as the side chain's functional group. Asparagine is not an essential amino acid, which means that it can be synthesized from central metabolic pathway intermediates in humans and is not required in the diet. The precursor to asparagine is oxaloacetate. Oxaloacetate is converted to aspartate using a transaminase enzyme. The enzyme transfers the amino group from glutamate to oxaloacetate producing alpha-ketoglutarate and aspartate. The enzyme asparagine synthetase produces asparagine, AMP, glutamate, and pyrophosphate from aspartate, glutamine, and ATP. In the asparagine synthetase reaction, ATP is used to activate aspartate, forming beta-aspartyl-AMP. Glutamine donates an ammonium group which reacts with beta-aspartyl-AMP to form asparagine and free AMP. Since the asparagine side chain can make efficient hydrogen bond interactions with the peptide backbone, asparagines are often found near the beginning and end of alpha-helices, and in turn motifs in beta sheets. Its role can be thought as "capping" the hydrogen bond interactions which would otherwise need to be satisfied by the polypeptide backbone. Glutamines have an extra methylene group and have more conformational entropy, and thus are less useful in this regard. Asparagine also provides key sites for N-linked glycosylation, modification of the protein chain with the addition of carbohydrate chains. A reaction between asparagine and reducing sugars or reactive carbonyls produces acrylamide (acrylic amide) in food when heated to sufficient temperature (i.e. baking). These occur primarily in baked goods such as french fries, potato chips, and roasted coffee. Asparagine was first isolated in 1806 from asparagus juice, in which it is abundant--hence its name--becoming the first amino acid to be isolated. The smell observed in the urine of some individuals after their consumption of asparagus is attributed to a byproduct of the metabolic breakdown of asparagine, asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide. However, some scientists disagree and implicate other substances in the smell, especially methanethiol (Wikipedia).


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D-Mannose is a carbohydrate. High-mannose-type oligosaccharides have been shown to play important roles in protein quality control. Several intracellular proteins, such as lectins, chaperones and glycan-processing enzymes, are involved in this process. These include calnexin/calreticulin, UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase (UGGT), cargo receptors (such as VIP36 and ERGIC-53), mannosidase-like proteins (e.g. EDEM and Htm1p) and ubiquitin ligase (Fbs). They are thought to recognize high-mannose-type glycans with subtly different structures. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is an important constituent of the innate immune system. This protein binds through multiple lectin domains to the repeating sugar arrays that decorate many microbial surfaces, and is then able to activate the complement system through a specific protease called MBL-associated protease-2. The primary pathway for the formation of L-fucose in procaryotic and eucaryotic cells is from D-mannose via an internal oxidation reduction and then epimerization of GDP-D-mannose to produce GDP-L-fucose. (PMID: 9488699, 16154739, 11414367).


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Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids whose carbon structure is marked by a branch point. These three amino acids are critical to human life and are particularly involved in stress, energy and muscle metabolism. BCAA supplementation as therapy, both oral and intravenous, in human health and disease holds great promise. "BCAA" denotes valine, isoleucine and leucine which are branched chain essential amino acids. Despite their structural similarities, the branched amino acids have different metabolic routes, with valine going solely to carbohydrates, leucine solely to fats and isoleucine to both. The different metabolism accounts for different requirements for these essential amino acids in humans: 12 mg/kg, 14 mg/kg and 16 mg/kg of valine, leucine and isoleucine respectively. Furthermore, these amino acids have different deficiency symptoms. Valine deficiency is marked by neurological defects in the brain, while isoleucine deficiency is marked by muscle tremors. BCAA are decreased in patients with liver disease, such as hepatitis, hepatic coma, cirrhosis, extrahepatic biliary atresia or portacaval shunt; aromatic amino acids (AAA)-tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine, as well as methionine-are increased in these conditions. Valine, in particular, has been established as a useful supplemental therapy to the ailing liver. All the BCAA probably compete with AAA for absorption into the brain. Supplemental BCAA with vitamin B6 and zinc help normalize the BCAA:AAA ratio. The BCAA are not without side effects. Leucine alone, for example, exacerbates pellagra and can cause psychosis in pellagra patients by increasing excretion of niacin in the urine. Leucine may lower brain serotonin and dopamine. A dose of 3 g of isoleucine added to the niacin regime has cleared leucine-aggravated psychosis in schizophrenic patients. Isoleucine may have potential as an antipsychotic treatment. Leucine is more highly concentrated in foods than other amino acids. A cup of milk contains 800 mg of leucine and only 500 mg of isoleucine and valine. A cup of wheat germ has about 1.6 g of leucine and 1 g of isoleucine and valine. The ratio evens out in eggs and cheese. One egg and an ounce of most cheeses each contain about 400 mg of leucine and 400 mg of valine and isoleucine. The ratio of leucine to other BCAA is greatest in pork, where leucine is 7 to 8 g and the other BCAA together are only 3 to 4 g. (http://www.dcnutrition.com).


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Fucose is a hexose deoxy sugar with the chemical formula C6H12O5. L-fucose (6-deoxy-L-galactose) is a monosaccharide that is a common component of many N- and O-linked glycans and glycolipids produced by mammalian cells. It is the fundamental sub-unit of the fucoidan polysaccharide. As a free sugar, L-fucose is normally found at very low levels in mammals. It is unique in that it is the only levorotatory sugar synthesized and utilized by mammals. Fucose polymers are synthesized by fucosyltransferases. All fucosyltransferases utilize a nucleotide-activated form of fucose, GDP-fucose, as a fucose donor in the construction of fucosylated oligosaccharides. The ABO blood group antigens are among the most well known fucosylated glycans. The alpha-1->3 linked core fucose is a suspected carbohydrate antigen for IgE-mediated allergy. Two structural features distinguish fucose from other six-carbon sugars present in mammals: the lack of a hydroxyl group on the carbon at the 6-position (C-6) and the L-configuration. In fucose-containing glycan structures, fucosylated glycans, fucose can exist as a terminal modification or serve as an attachment point for adding other sugars. Fucose is metabolized by an enzyme called alpha-fucosidase. Fucose is secreted in urine when the liver is damaged. Free L-fucose in serum and urine can be used as a marker for cancer, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease and gastric ulcers (PMID: 2311216) (PMID: 8488966). Elevated levels of serum fucose have been reported in breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has been shown that feeding rats a diet high in L-fucose induces neuropathy similar to that seen in diabetics.


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Inosinic acid

Inosinic acid is a purine nucleotide which has hypoxanthine as the base and one phosphate group esterified to the sugar moiety. Inosinic acid is a nucleotide present in muscle and other tissues. It is formed by the deamination of AMP and when hydrolysed produces inosine. Inosinic acid is the ribonucleotide of hypoxanthine and is the first compound formed during the synthesis of purine. (Wikipedia).


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Histidine is an alpha-amino acid with an imidazole functional group. It is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. Histidine was first isolated by German physician Albrecht Kossel in 1896. Histidine is an essential amino acid in humans and other mammals. It was initially thought that it was only essential for infants, but longer-term studies established that it is also essential for adults. Infants four to six months old require 33 mg/kg of histidine. It is not clear how adults make small amounts of histidine, and dietary sources probably account for most of the histidine in the body. Histidine is a precursor for histamine and carnosine biosynthesis. Inborn errors of histidine metabolism exist and are marked by increased histidine levels in the blood. Elevated blood histidine is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, from mental and physical retardation to poor intellectual functioning, emotional instability, tremor, ataxia and psychosis. Histidine and other imidazole compounds have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-secretory properties (PMID: 9605177). The efficacy of L-histidine in protecting inflamed tissue is attributed to the capacity of the imidazole ring to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by cells during acute inflammatory response (PMID: 9605177). Histidine, when administered in therapeutic quantities is able to inhibit cytokines and growth factors involved in cell and tissue damage (US patent 6150392). Histidine in medical therapies has its most promising trials in rheumatoid arthritis where up to 4.5 g daily have been used effectively in severely affected patients. Arthritis patients have been found to have low serum histidine levels, apparently because of very rapid removal of histidine from their blood (PMID: 1079527). Other patients besides arthritis patients that have been found to be low in serum histidine are those with chronic renal failure. Urinary levels of histidine are reduced in pediatric patients with pneumonia. (PMID: 2084459). Asthma patients exhibit increased serum levels of histidine over normal controls (PMID: 23517038). Serum histidine levels are lower and are negatively associated with inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women (PMID: 23361591). Histidine supplementation has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, reduce BMI and fat mass and suppress inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women with metabolic syndrome. Histidine appears to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, possibly via the NF-?B pathway, in adipocytes (PMID: 23361591). Low plasma concentrations of histidine are associated with protein-energy wasting, inflammation, oxidative stress, and greater mortality in chronic kidney disease patients (PMID: 18541578). Histidine may have many other possible functions because it is the precursor of the ubiquitous neurohormone-neurotransmitter histamine. Histidine increases histamine in the blood and probably in the brain. Low blood histamine with low serum histidine occurs in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Low blood histamine also occurs in some manic, schizophrenic, high copper and hyperactive groups of psychiatric patients. Histidine is a useful therapy in all patients with low histamine levels. (http://www.dcnutrition.com ).


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L-Dopa is the naturally occurring form of dihydroxyphenylalanine and the immediate precursor of dopamine. Unlike dopamine itself, L-Dopa can be taken orally and crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is rapidly taken up by dopaminergic neurons and converted to dopamine. In particular, it is metabolized to dopamine by aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. Pyridoxal phosphate (vitamin B6) is a required cofactor for this decarboxylation, and may be administered along with levodopa, usually as pyridoxine. L-Dopa is used for the treatment of Parkinsonian disorders and Dopa-Responsive Dystonia and is usually given with agents that inhibit its conversion to dopamine outside of the central nervous system. Peripheral tissue conversion may be the mechanism of the adverse effects of levodopa. It is standard clinical practice to co-administer a peripheral DOPA decarboxylase inhibitor - carbidopa or benserazide - and often a catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor, to prevent synthesis of dopamine in peripheral tissue.


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L-lysine is an essential amino acid. Normal requirements for lysine have been found to be about 8 g per day or 12 mg/kg in adults. Children and infants need more- 44 mg/kg per day for an eleven to-twelve-year old, and 97 mg/kg per day for three-to six-month old. Lysine is highly concentrated in muscle compared to most other amino acids. Lysine is high in foods such as wheat germ, cottage cheese and chicken. Of meat products, wild game and pork have the highest concentration of lysine. Fruits and vegetables contain little lysine, except avocados. Normal lysine metabolism is dependent upon many nutrients including niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, vitamin C, glutamic acid and iron. Excess arginine antagonizes lysine. Several inborn errors of lysine metabolism are known. Most are marked by mental retardation with occasional diverse symptoms such as absence of secondary sex characteristics, undescended testes, abnormal facial structure, anemia, obesity, enlarged liver and spleen, and eye muscle imbalance. Lysine also may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of osteoporosis. Although high protein diets result in loss of large amounts of calcium in urine, so does lysine deficiency. Lysine may be an adjunct therapy because it reduces calcium losses in urine. Lysine deficiency also may result in immunodeficiency. Requirements for this amino acid are probably increased by stress. Lysine toxicity has not occurred with oral doses in humans. Lysine dosages are presently too small and may fail to reach the concentrations necessary to prove potential therapeutic applications. Lysine metabolites, amino caproic acid and carnitine have already shown their therapeutic potential. Thirty grams daily of amino caproic acid has been used as an initial daily dose in treating blood clotting disorders, indicating that the proper doses of lysine, its precursor, have yet to be used in medicine. Low lysine levels have been found in patients with Parkinson's, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, asthma and depression. The exact significance of these levels is unclear, yet lysine therapy can normalize the level and has been associated with improvement of some patients with these conditions. Abnormally elevated hydroxylysines have been found in virtually all chronic degenerative diseases and coumadin therapy. The levels of this stress marker may be improved by high doses of vitamin C. Lysine is particularly useful in therapy for marasmus (wasting) and herpes simplex. It stops the growth of herpes simplex in culture, and has helped to reduce the number and occurrence of cold sores in clinical studies. Dosing has not been adequately studied, but beneficial clinical effects occur in doses ranging from 100 mg to 4 g a day. Higher doses may also be useful, and toxicity has not been reported in doses as high as 8 g per day. Diets high in lysine and low in arginine can be useful in the prevention and treatment of herpes. Some researchers think herpes simplex virus is involved in many other diseases related to cranial nerves such as migraines, Bell's palsy and Meniere's disease. Herpes blister fluid will produce fatal encephalitis in the rabbit. (http://www.dcnutrition.com).


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alpha-Lactose is the major sugar present in milk and the main source of energy supplied to the newborn mammalian in its mother's milk. Lactose is also an important osmotic regulator of lactation. It is digested by the intestinal lactase (EC, an enzyme expressed in newborns. Its activity declines following weaning. As a result, adult mammals are normally lactose-intolerant and more than 75% of the human adult population suffers from lactase deficiency. Lactase deficiency is present in up to 80 percent of blacks and Latinos, and up to 100 percent of American Indians and Asians. Persons with lactose intolerance are unable to digest significant amounts of lactose. Common symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, excessive flatus, and watery stool following the ingestion of foods containing lactose. A sizable number of adults believe they are lactose intolerant but do not actually have impaired lactose digestion, and some persons with lactase deficiency can tolerate moderate amounts of ingested lactose. A diagnosis of lactose intolerance can usually be made with a careful history supported by dietary manipulation. If necessary, diagnosis can be confirmed by using a breath hydrogen or lactose tolerance test. These mostly uncomfortable symptoms of lactose maldigestion are blamed for a variably dairy consumption. There is, however, emerging evidence that certain lactic acid-producing bacteria, which selectively consume prebiotics, may be beneficial against some lower intestinal diseases. Lactose maldigestion and lactose should perhaps be re-evaluated as a potential provider of such a prebiotic. Treatment consists primarily of avoiding lactose-containing foods. Lactase enzyme supplements may be helpful. The degree of lactose malabsorption varies greatly among patients with lactose intolerance, but most of them can ingest up to 350 mL of milk daily without symptoms. Lactose-intolerant patients must ensure adequate calcium intake. (PMID: 13130292, 12216958, 12197838, 12018807).


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Serine is a nonessential amino acid derived from glycine. Like all the amino acid building blocks of protein and peptides, serine can become essential under certain conditions, and is thus important in maintaining health and preventing disease. Low-average concentration of serine compared to other amino acids is found in muscle. Serine is highly concentrated in all cell membranes. (http://www.dcnutrition.com/AminoAcids/) L-Serine may be derived from four possible sources: dietary intake; biosynthesis from the glycolytic intermediate 3-phosphoglycerate; from glycine ; and by protein and phospholipid degradation. Little data is available on the relative contributions of each of these four sources of l-serine to serine homoeostasis. It is very likely that the predominant source of l-serine will be very different in different tissues and during different stages of human development. In the biosynthetic pathway, the glycolytic intermediate 3-phosphoglycerate is converted into phosphohydroxypyruvate, in a reaction catalyzed by 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (3- PGDH; EC Phosphohydroxypyruvate is metabolized to phosphoserine by phosphohydroxypyruvate aminotransferase (EC and, finally, phosphoserine is converted into l-serine by phosphoserine phosphatase (PSP; EC In liver tissue, the serine biosynthetic pathway is regulated in response to dietary and hormonal changes. Of the three synthetic enzymes, the properties of 3-PGDH and PSP are the best documented. Hormonal factors such as glucagon and corticosteroids also influence 3-PGDH and PSP activities in interactions dependent upon the diet. L-serine plays a central role in cellular proliferation. L-Serine is the predominant source of one-carbon groups for the de novo synthesis of purine nucleotides and deoxythymidine monophosphate. It has long been recognized that, in cell cultures, L-serine is a conditional essential amino acid, because it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities to meet the cellular demands for its utilization. In recent years, L-serine and the products of its metabolism have been recognized not only to be essential for cell proliferation, but also to be necessary for specific functions in the central nervous system. The findings of altered levels of serine and glycine in patients with psychiatric disorders and the severe neurological abnormalities in patients with defects of L-serine synthesis underscore the importance of L-serine in brain development and function. (PMID 12534373).


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Inosine triphosphate

Inosine triphosphate (ITP) is an intermediate in the purine metabolism pathway. Relatively high levels of ITP in red cells are found in individuals as result of deficiency of inosine triphosphatase (EC, ITPase) ITPase is a cytosolic nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase specific for ITP catalysis to inosine monophosphate (IMP) and deoxy-inosine triphosphate (dITP) to deoxy-inosine monophosphate. ITPase deficiency is not associated with any defined pathology other than the characteristic and abnormal accumulation of ITP in red blood cells. Nevertheless, ITPase deficiency may have pharmacogenomic implications, and the abnormal metabolism of 6-mercaptopurine in ITPase-deficient patients may lead to thiopurine drug toxicity. ITPase's function is not clearly understood but possible roles for ITPase could be to prevent the accumulation of rogue nucleotides which would be otherwise incorporated into DNA and RNA, or compete with nucleotides such as GTP in signalling processes. (PMID : 170291, 1204209, 17113761, 17924837).


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L-Lactic acid

Lactic acid is an organic acid. It is a chiral molecule, consisting of two optical isomers, L-lactic acid and D-lactic acid, with the L-isomer being the most common in living organisms. Lactic acid plays a role in several biochemical processes and is produced in the muscles during intense activity. In animals, L-lactate is constantly produced from pyruvate via the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in a process of fermentation during normal metabolism and exercise. It does not increase in concentration until the rate of lactate production exceeds the rate of lactate removal. This is governed by a number of factors, including monocarboxylate transporters, lactate concentration, the isoform of LDH, and oxidative capacity of tissues. The concentration of blood lactate is usually 1-2 mmol/L at rest, but can rise to over 20 mmol/L during intense exertion. There are some indications that lactate, and not glucose, is preferentially metabolized by neurons in the brain of several mammalian species, including mice, rats, and humans. Glial cells, using the lactate shuttle, are responsible for transforming glucose into lactate, and for providing lactate to the neurons. Lactate measurement in critically ill patients has been traditionally used to stratify patients with poor outcomes. However, plasma lactate levels are the result of a finely tuned interplay of factors that affect the balance between its production and its clearance. When the oxygen supply does not match its consumption, organisms adapt in many different ways, up to the point when energy failure occurs. Lactate, being part of the adaptive response, may then be used to assess the severity of the supply/demand imbalance. In such a scenario, the time to intervention becomes relevant: early and effective treatment may allow tissues and cells to revert to a normal state, as long as the oxygen machinery (i.e. mitochondria) is intact. Conversely, once the mitochondria are deranged, energy failure occurs even in the presence of normoxia. The lactate increase in critically ill patients may, therefore, be viewed as an early marker of a potentially reversible state (PMID: 16356243). When present in sufficiently high levels, lactic acid can act as an oncometabolite, an immunosuppressant, an acidogen, and a metabotoxin. An oncometabolite is a compound that promotes tumor growth and survival. An immunosuppressant reduces or arrests the activity of the immune system. An acidogen is an acidic compound that induces acidosis, which has multiple adverse effects on many organ systems. A metabotoxin is an endogenously produced metabolite that causes adverse health effects at chronically high levels. Chronically high levels of lactic acid are associated with at least a dozen inborn errors of metabolism, including 2-methyl-3-hydroxybutyryl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, biotinidase deficiency, fructose-1,6-diphosphatase deficiency, glycogen storage disease type 1A (GSD1A) or Von Gierke disease, glycogenosis type IB, glycogenosis type IC, glycogenosis type VI, Hers disease, lactic acidemia, Leigh syndrome, methylmalonate semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency, pyruvate decarboxylase E1 component deficiency, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency, pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency, and short chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCAD deficiency). Locally high concentrations of lactic acid or lactate are found near many tumors due to the upregulation of lactate dehydrogenase (PMID: 15279558). Lactic acid produced by tumors through aerobic glycolysis acts as an immunosuppressant and tumor promoter (PMID: 23729358). Indeed, lactic acid has been found to be a key player or regulator in the development and malignant progression of a variety of cancers (PMID: 22084445). A number of studies have demonstrated that malignant transformation is associated with an increase in aerobic cellular lactate excretion. Lactate concentrations in various carcinomas (e.g. uterine cervix, head and neck, colorectal region) at first diagnosis of the disease, can be relatively low or extremely high (up to 40 µmol/g) in different individual tumors or within the same lesion (PMID: 15279558). High molar concentrations of lactate are correlated with a high incidence of distant metastasis. Low lactate tumors (< median of approximately 8 µmol/g) are associated with both an overall longer and disease-free survival compared to high lactate lesions (lactate > approximately 8 µmol/g). Lactate-induced secretion of hyaluronan by tumor-associated fibroblasts creates a milieu favourable for cell migration and metastases (PMID: 22084445). An acidic environment (pH 6-6.5), which is common in many tumors, allows tumor cells to evade the immune response, and therefore allows them to grow unchecked. Locally high concentrations of lactic acid are known to markedly impede the function of normal immune cells and will lead to a loss of T-cell function of human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (PMID: 22084445). Lactic acid is also an organic acid and acts as a general acidogen. Abnormally high levels of organic acids in the blood (organic acidemia), urine (organic aciduria), the brain, and other tissues lead to general metabolic acidosis. Acidosis typically occurs when arterial pH falls below 7.35. In infants with acidosis, the initial symptoms include poor feeding, vomiting, loss of appetite, weak muscle tone (hypotonia), and lack of energy (lethargy). These can progress to heart abnormalities, kidney abnormalities, liver damage, seizures, coma, and possibly death. These are also the characteristic symptoms of the untreated IEMs mentioned above. Many affected children with organic acidemias experience intellectual disability or delayed development.


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L-Aspartic acid

Aspartic acid (Asp, D), also known as aspartate, the name of its anion, is one of the 20 natural proteinogenic amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. As its name indicates, aspartic acid is the carboxylic acid analog of asparagine. As a neurotransmitter, aspartic acid may provide resistance to fatigue and thus lead to endurance, although the evidence to support this idea is not strong (Wikipedia). Aspartic acid is a nonessential amino acid that is made from glutamic acid by enzymes using vitamin B6. The amino acid has important roles in the urea cycle and DNA metabolism. Aspartic acid is a major excitatory neurotransmitter, which is sometimes found to be increased in epileptic and stroke patients. It is decreased in depressed patients and in patients with brain atrophy. Aspartic acid supplements are being evaluated. Five grams can raise blood levels. Magnesium and zinc may be natural inhibitors of some of the actions of aspartic acid. Aspartic acid, with the amino acid phenylalanine, is a part of a new natural sweetener, aspartame. This sweetener is an advance in artificial sweeteners, and is probably safe in normal doses to all except phenylketonurics. The jury is still out on the long-term effects it has on many brain neurohormones. Aspartic acid may be a significant immunostimulant of the thymus and can protect against some of the damaging effects of radiation. Many claims have been made for the special value of administering aspartic acid in the form of potassium and magnesium salts. Since aspartic acid is relatively nontoxic, studies are now in progress to elucidate its pharmacological and therapeutic roles (http://www.dcnutrition.com/AminoAcids).


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Isocitric acid

The citrate oxidation to isocitrate is catalyzed by the enzyme aconitase. Human prostatic secretion is remarkably rich in citric acid and low aconitase activity will therefore play a significant role in enabling accumulation of high citrate levels (PubMed ID 8115279).
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