Phenylalanine for Anxiety and Depression

Phenylalanine is a natural amino acid that occurs on food. When you take Phenylalaline together with Vitamin B6 at 500 mg or higher, Phenylalaline can be converted to Phenylethylamine (PEA) which may relieve depression. PEA is the forerunner of norepinephrine and dopamine, low levels of these neurotransmitters may lead to depression. PEA is also the substance that the brain generates whenever someone experience the feeling of love. Phenylalanines can also form norephinephine inside the brain. Norephineprine is important for alertness, memory and learning. Phenylalanine should not be given to people with PKU (Phenylketonuria).



β€œIt is concluded that DL-phenylalanine might have substantial antidepresant properties. However, certain methodological considerations still warrant a careful interpretation.” (Arch Psychiatr Nervenkr. 1979 Jul 4;227(1):49-58.)

Dosage and Sources:

DL-phenylalanine can be taken in a dose from 500 to 750 mg. two to three times daily. L-phenylalanine works best for bipolar disorders ( with existing manic and depressive states) in doses of 500 mg. twice daily up to 2–3 grams daily. It should be combined along with 100 mg. of vitamin B6 twice daily. D- and DL-phenylalanine works better for affective depression (lack of positive attitude or emotional enthusiasm for life).



1. McCormick, D.B. 1989. Two interconnected B vitamins: riboflavin and pyridoxine. Physiol. Revs., 69: 1170-98..
2. Insel, TR (2006),Beyond Efficacy: The STAR*D Trial, Am J Psychiatry 163:5-7, January 2006
3. Mitchell, T, (1998) Methylation: A little known but essential process.
4. Werbach,M.R.(1991), NUTRITIONAL INFLUENCES ON MENTAL ILLNESS, Third Line Pres,Inc.,Tarzana,Cal. Chapter on Depression
5. Elson M. Haas M.D. (Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine Published by Celestial Arts)

Last update: January 17, 2009

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