Phenylalanine is an amino acid and belongs to the class which has hydrocarbon R-groups. It can be viewed as a benzyl group substituted for the methyl group of alanine, or a phenyl group in place of a terminal hydrogen of alanine. It is classified as neutral, and nonpolar because of the inert and hydrophobic nature of the benzyl side chain.

Phenylalanine is a precursor for tyrosine, the monoamine neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline), and the skin pigment melanin.

"Phenylalanine is found naturally in the breast milk of mammals. It is used in the manufacture of food and drink products and sold as a nutritional supplement for its reputed analgesic and antidepressant effects. It is a direct precursor to the neuromodulator phenethylamine, a commonly used dietary supplement."

* Amino acids which are essential amino acids which cannot be made by the human body and, therefore, must be obtained in the diet.

Phenylalanine wiki

Biochemical concepts

Chemistry concepts

Tillery, Enger and Ross
Ch 14

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