What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Phenylalanine Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

Therapeutic Uses

Small double-blind, comparative studies suggest (but do not prove) that both the D- and DL- forms of phenylalanine might be helpful for depression . 1 Weak and contradictory evidence has been used to advocate the use of D-phenylalanine as a general analgesic (pain relieving treatment). 2 3 4 Preliminary uncontrolled and double-blind studies found that L-phenylalanine may enhance the effectiveness of ultraviolet for vitiligo . 5 6 Highly preliminary evidence suggests that D-phenylalanine may be helpful for multiple sclerosis when combined with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). 7 D-phenylalanine has also been proposed as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (but see Safety Issues below). 8 Although D- and DL- phenylalanine are marketed as treatments for attention deficit disorder , they do not appear to be helpful. 9 Some proponents claim that phenylalanine works better when combined with tyrosine , glutamine , and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), but this has not been proven.


  1. Heller B. Pharmacological and clinical effects of D-phenylalanine in depression and Parkinson’s disease. In: Mosnaim AD, Wolf ME, eds. Noncatecholic Phenylethylamines. Part 1. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 1978:397-417.
  2. Balagot RC, Ehrenpreis S, Kubota K, et al. Analgesia in mice and humans by D-phenylalanine: Relation to inhibition of enkephalin degradation and enkephalin levels. Adv Pain Res Ther. 1983;5:289-293.
  3. Walsh NE, Ramamurthy S, Schoenfeld LS, et al. D-phenylalnine was not found to exhibit opiate receptor mediated analgesia in monkeys [letter]. Pain.1986;26:409-410.
  4. Budd K. Use of D-phenylalanine, an enkephalinase inhibitor, in the treatment of intractable pain. Adv Pain Res Ther. 1983;5:305-308.
  5. Siddiqui AH, Stolk LM, Bhaggoe R, Hu R, Schutgens RB, Westerhof W. L-phenylalanine and UVA irradiation in the treatment of vitiligo. Dermatology. 188(3):215-8.
  6. Camacho F, Mazuecos J. Treatment of vitiligo with oral and topical phenylalanine: 6 years of experience. Arch Dermatol. 135(2):216-7.
  7. Winter A. New treatment for multiple sclerosis. Neurol Orthop J Med Surg. 1984;5:39-43.
  8. Heller B, Fischer E, Martin R. Therapeutic action of D-phenylalanine in Parkinson's disease. Arzneimittelforschung. 26(4):577-9.
  9. Zametkin AJ, Koroum F, Rapoport JL. Treatment of hyperactive children with D-phenylalanine. Am J Psychiatry. 1987;144:792-794.


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