Serine is needed for the proper metabolism of fats and fatty acids and plays an important role in the body’s synthetic pathways for pyrimidines, purines (making it important for DNA and RNA function), creatine, and porphyrins. It is highly concentrated in all cell membranes, is a component of the protective myelin sheaths surrounding nerve fibers, and aids in the production of immunoglobulins and antibodies for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Serine is the second amino acid that is also alcohol because of its methyl side chain, which contains a hydroxy group. Measurement of serine is included in the Amino Acids, Plasma and Amino Acids, Urine tests along with 23 other amino acids.
Serine (Ser/S) is a non-essential amino acid derived from the amino acids glycine or threonine. Serine is important for health, both physical and mental. Serine is particularly important for the proper functioning of the brain and central nervous system.
Serine helps form the phospholipids needed in every cell in the body. It is also involved in the function of RNA and DNA, the metabolism of fat and fatty acids, the formation of muscles, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. The proteins used to form the brain, as well as the protective myelin sheaths that cover the nerves, contain serine. Without serine, myelin sheaths can loosen and become less effective at insulating and supporting neurons, thereby disrupting the delivery of messages between the brain and nerve endings in the body.
Serine is also necessary to produce tryptophan, an amino acid used in the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that determines mental mood among others. Serotonin and tryptophan deficiencies have been linked to depression, insomnia, confusion, and stress. Research has shown that low serine levels may contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).
Serine is also involved in the production of immunoglobulins (antibodies) for a strong immune system and helps in the absorption of creatine, a substance made up of amino acids that helps build and maintain all the muscles in the body, including the heart.
For serine to be produced in the body, there must be enough vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and folic acid (B9). Meat and soy products, dairy, grains, and peanuts are good natural sources of serine. Serine is available in supplements such as protein powders and amino acid tablets, usually in combination with other amino acids.
Low urinary serine concentration is usually associated with insufficient protein intake or protein malabsorption or magnesium deficiency.