UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Subchronic Tolerance Trials of Graded Oral Supplementation with Phenylalanine or Serine in Healthy Adults Miura, Naoki; Matsumoto, Hideki; Cynober, Luc; Stover, Patrick J.; Elango, Rajavel; Kadowaki, Motoni; Bier, Dennis M.; Smriga, Miro


Phenylalanine and serine are amino acids used in dietary supplements and nutritional products consumed by healthy consumers; however, the safe level of phenylalanine or serine supplementation is unknown. The objective of this study was to conduct two 4-week clinical trials to evaluate the safety and tolerability of graded dosages of oral phenylalanine and oral serine. Healthy male adults (n = 60, 38.2 ± 1.8y) completed graded dosages of either phenylalanine or serine supplement (3, 6, 9 and 12 g/d) for 4 weeks with 2-week wash-out periods in between. Primary outcomes included vitals, a broad spectrum of circulating biochemical analytes, body weight, sleep quality and mental self-assessment. At low dosages, minor changes in serum electrolytes and plasma non-essential amino acids glutamine and aspartic acid concentrations were observed. Serine increased its plasma concentrations at high supplemental dosages (9 and 12 g/day), and phenylalanine increased plasma tyrosine concentrations at 12 g/day, but those changes were not considered toxicologically relevant. No other changes in measured parameters were observed, and study subjects tolerated 4-week-long oral supplementation of phenylalanine or serine without treatment-related adverse events. A clinical, no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) of phenylalanine and serine supplementation in healthy adult males was determined to be 12 g/day.

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