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Aspartic Acid

What is aspartic acid?

Aspartic acid is a nonessential amino acid [1]. It can be produced in your body from other amino acids, so you do not need to get it from foods in order to be healthy. In foods, aspartic acid is incorporated into proteins. Aspartates are salts of aspartic acid.

Aspartic acid abbreviation (symbol): Asp

Aspartic Acid Functions in the Human Body

Aspartic acid is [2]:

  • A building block of proteins
  • Involved in citric acid cycle and urea cycle
  • A precursor of the amino acids asparagine, arginine, lysine, methionine and isoleucine
  • A glucogenic amino acid — it can be converted into glucose [3]
  • Acidic amino acid [6]
  • A neurotransmitter

Foods High in Aspartic Acid

  • ANIMAL FOODS: meat, fish, cheese
  • PLANT FOODS: legumes, sugar cane, sugar beet

Foods low in aspartic acid: fruits, vegetables

Aspartic Acid and Aspartame

Aspartame is synthetically produced from aspartic acid and another amino acid phenylalanine [7]. Aspartic acid alone has no properties of aspartame.

Aspartic Acid and Aspartate Supplements

Available nonprescription (over-the-counter) oral forms of aspartic acid or its salts (aspartates):

  • Copper aspartate, iron aspartate, magnesium aspartate, manganese aspartate, potassium aspartate, and zinc aspartate
  • D-aspartic acid (DAA)
  • L-aspartic acid (LAA)
  • DL-aspartic acid (DLAA)
  • N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE [4] about the effectiveness of aspartic acid or aspartate supplements in the prevention or treatment of liver cirrhosis, enhancing athletic performance [5] or increasing mineral levels in persons with normal mineral levels.

Aspartate Safety: Side Effects, Toxicity

Oral aspartate doses up to 10 g/day seem to have NO KNOWN toxicity  [8].

Not enough studies have been done about the safety of aspartate supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so women in these periods should avoid them [5].

  1. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) ( 2005 ) /10 Protein and Amino Acids  National Academic Press
  2. Aspartic acid  PubChem
  3. Amino acid  ChemPep
  4. Aspartates  WebMD
  5. Wilbron CD et al, 2004, Effects of Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) Supplementation on Training Adaptations and Markers of Anabolism and Catabolism  Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
  6. Acidic and basic amino acids  University of Wisconsin–Madison
  7. Aspartame  PubChem
  8. Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to food, 2008, Magnesium aspartate, potassium aspartate, magnesium potassium aspartate, calcium aspartate, zinc aspartate, and copper aspartate as sources for magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and copper added for nutritional purposes to food supplements  European Food Safety Authority


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