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Alanine is one of the simplest amino acids involved in the energy-producing breakdown of glucose. Alanine is a product of the breakdown of DNA or the dipeptides anserine and carnosine and the conversion of pyruvate, a pivotal compound in carbohydrate metabolism. Alanine plays a significant role in the transfer of nitrogen from peripheral tissue to the liver, helps in reducing the buildup of toxic substances released into muscle cells when muscle protein is broken down quickly to meet energy needs, and strengthens the immune system through the production of antibodies.

The measurement of alanine, along with 23 other amino acids, is included in the Amino Acids in Plasma and the Amino Acids in Urine tests.

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Alanine (Ala/A) is a non-essential amino acid produced in the body either from the conversion of pyruvic acid derived from carbohydrates or the breakdown of DNA and the dipeptides carnosine and anserine. It has a high muscle concentration and is one of the most essential amino acids released by the muscles, acting as a primary energy source. Plasma alanine is often reduced when the concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is reduced, a finding that may be relevant to muscle metabolism.

Alanine is an essential amino acid in the regulation of glucose metabolism (Alanine-Glucose cycle). Alanine levels go hand in hand with blood sugar levels in both diabetes and hypoglycemia and in addition, alanine can reduce both severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketosis. It is also an important amino acid for the reproduction of lymphocytes and the functioning of the immune system.

Like other amino acids, alanine's normal metabolism is largely dependent on enzymes containing vitamin B6. Alanine, like GABA, taurine, and glycine, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. L-alanine has been found to be associated with glycogen deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism.

Alanine is high in meat products and other high-protein foods such as wheat malt and cottage cheese.

Low levels of alanine, which is involved in gluconeogenesis, may indicate hypoglycemic states. Alanine and branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) may be supplemented.

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