Asparagine 2018-02-09T12:54:22+00:00

What is Asparagine?

Asparagine was the first amino acid to be isolated from its natural source, which is asparagus. It is a non essential amino acid. This means the body can produce it without you needing to include it in your diet.

Asparagine is closely related to aspartic acid (also known as aspartate). Asparagine is the beta-amido derivative of aspartic acid. This term describes the structure of the amino acid.

The acidic side chain carboxyl group in aspartic acid is coupled with ammonia to form asparagine1. This reaction happens due to an enzyme called asparagine synthetase2:

the chemical reaction of how asparagine is synthesised int he human body

Asparagine synthesis on the human body

Benefits of Asparagine

Asparagine has many uses in the body. It plays an important role in the formation of other amino acids. Asparagine also helps to form other chemicals that take part in the Krebs cycle (also called the citric acid cycle). This is a series of reactions in which aerobic organisms release energy.

By having more asparagine available, the Krebs cycle can take place more efficiently. Therefore taking asparagine supplements can lead to an improvement in athletic performance. This is because it takes a longer amount of time before you become fatigued, and research studies have supported this finding34.

In addition to its importance in energy release, asparagine has a major role in protein synthesis. It also helps to control the metabolic processes in the brain, as well as enabling the nervous system to function effectively.

Sources of Asparagine

To supplement your natural asparagine levels, there are some foods rich in the amino acid which you can try. These include poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, and potatoes5. There are also many asparagine supplements available on the market, and these can come as part of protein powders mixed with other supplements. These are generally safe to use provided you do not have any other medical conditions and you follow the dosage specified by the manufacturer. If you are unsure whether asparagine is safe for you it is best to check with your doctor.

VIDEO: Guide to the Aspartate Family, incl. Asparagine

Side Effects of Asparagine

The following is a list of possible, non-comprehensive and non-exhaustive list side-effects that may occur in medicines that contain L- Asparagine. These side-effects are possible, but do not always occur. Speak to your GP if you observe any of the following side-effects, especially if they do not go away.
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anorexia
  • Azotemia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

A recent study has linked Asparagine to the spread of breast cancer, but this hypothesis needs to be verified:

Sources

  1.  Vitamin Supplements Guide. Asparagine .Internet. 2006. Available from: http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/amino-acids/asparagine.php
  2.  Asparagine. Internet. 2018. Available from: http://chemistry.tutorvista.com/biochemistry/asparagine.html
  3.  Marquezi ML, Roschel HA, Dos Santa Costa A, Sawada LA, Lancha Jr AH. Effect of aspartate and asparagine supplementation on fatigue determinants in intense exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Internet. 2003. 13(1):65-75. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12660406
  4.  Lancha Jr AH, Recco MB, Abdalla DSP, Curi R. Effect of aspartate, asparagine, and carnitine supplementation in the diet on metabolism of skeletal muscle during a moderate exercise. Physiology and Behaviour. Internet. 1995. 57(2):367-371. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003193849400243X
  5.  Asparagine Internet. 2018. Available from: https://www.exercise.com/supplements/asparagine