Most people don’t realize that there are different kinds of depression and why 5-htp or phenylalanine could produce vastly different results for different people.
When some people are depressed, they have really dark thoughts, become obsessive, and hate themselves.
Other people describe their depression in a very different way.
These people say they feel numb, like life has flatlined.
They have no motivation, don’t feel pleasure, don’t want to get out of bed, and life is sort of just “gray”.
L-phenylalanine or DLPA are amino acids that are used primarily to help people that have no motivation, feel numb, or sensitive.
What is DLPA and L-Phenylalanine?
DLPA is actually both the d- and l- forms of phenylalanine.
Every amino acid can occur in two forms, except for glycine.
Your body primarily just uses l-amino acids, and that is why DLPA is unique as a supplement.
Taking DLPA will produce different effects and depending on what type of depression you have, you will most likely react better to one or the other.
It is also converted into tyrosine. Tyrosine goes on to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
DPA is a bit rare and is the mirror image of l-phenylalanine. D-phenylalanine helps stop the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down endorphins so that the endorphins are allowed to build and expand.
Do I Take L-Phenylalanine or DL-Phenylalanine?
L-phenylalanine can be great for people that are low in catecholamines such as dopamine and epinephrine and is a great alternative to tyrosine. A lot of people say that tyrosine makes them jittery or feel tense. L-phenylalanine also helps produce pleasurable feelings and motivation.
DLPA can be a better choice for someone that is overly emotional and sensitive, such as randomly crying for no apparent reason. DLPA can help boost endorphins more than just l-phenylalanine by itself.
DLPA would be a great choice if you need both energy and you want to increase your pain tolerance. DLPA is also a good choice for people that take l-phenylalanine and find that it gives them too much energy or gives them insomnia, as DLPA’s energy boost is more subtle.
Although a bit oversimplified, you can think of the d- form of phenylalanine as being more of the “painkiller” and the l- form of phenylalanine as being more of the “energizer”.
Phenylalanine Side Effects
Phenylalanine side effects and DLPA side effects are very similar. If you have migraines or high blood pressure, be careful taking either supplement. Both DLPA and l-phenylalanine can cause migraines or slightly increase blood pressure.
Some common side effects include anxiety, jitteriness, or hyperactivity.
Rare side effects can include itching, mouth tingling, or swelling of the hands of the feet (these are rare).
L-Phenylalanine and DLPA Dosage For Depression
Always take the smallest dose possible and then slowly increase it when you know that you react well to it.
If you are taking antidepressants, you need be especially careful while taking amino acids. You can read how to take amino acids while on antidepressants here.
L-phenylalanine and DLPA are best taken on an empty stomach and in the morning or early afternoon. If you take them too late in the day, it can cause insomnia.
Buy the smallest dose of l-phenylalanine or DLPA (depending on which one you expect to work better for you, see above) and take it in the morning without food. After 30 minutes, you should feel something. If you don’t, you can take another capsule until you reach the desired effect. If you feel negative effects, you can stop there.
Taking DLPA or l-phenylalanine can help raise endorphins and norepinephrine levels, which can take away some of depression’s effects on your mood and thoughts.
With either amino acid, you can take them for as long as you need them. The good thing about amino acids is that after you take them for a while, you won’t need to take them anymore. It is generally recommended that after you finish a bottle, try going a few days without it to see how you feel. If your mood drops significantly, resume using the amino acid until the next bottle is up, then you can see what happens when you stop taking it.
This is different than taking traditional medicine, which can cause withdrawals and dependence. It can be excruciatingly hard to get off antidepressants for example.
My Personal Experience With DLPA and L-Phenylalanine
I have taken l-tyrosine, DLPA, and l-phenylalanine. I personally react better to l-phenylalanine. It gives me that sense of calm focus, the type of motivation where getting stuff done is pleasurable but you don’t feel all crazy at the same time.
L-tyrosine gave me inner tension and made me feel aggressive in an odd way. The only time that l-tyrosine worked for me was when two weeks before moving to Thailand after selling all my belongings and buying a one way ticket, I shut down from the stress. I used l-tyrosine to let me function and actually get up in the morning. Once the burnout started going away, it gave me the same high tension aggressiveness as it normally does.
DLPA made me feel different, but something was just a bit off.
L-phenylalanine made me more positive, more focused, had increased pleasure, and increased motivation.
There was a time when I actually used l-phenylalanine to keep going towards the end of the month when I was selling solar to hit my goal. I was starting to lose focus and used it the last weekend by taking one capsule, taking out just a little bit of the powder, and taking small doses throughout the morning and afternoon. I was the top direct salesperson for the entire country that month.
I don’t recommend using l-phenylalanine or DLPA to keep going when you need to rest, however, they should optimally be used to help you get back on track and function.
My experience also shows how important it is to realize that each person will react differently to amino acids. One person will do well with tyrosine, another person that experiences a lot of emotional sensitivity will love DLPA, and another person will like l-phenylalanine.
I personally would recommend that you try l-phenylalanine first, as it can produce more beneficial effects and is converted into l-tyrosine anyways. However, most resources and books say to try l-tyrosine first before trying l-phenylalanine or DLPA.
Where To Buy DLPA and L-Phenylalanine
I always purchase supplements from Amazon or iHerb. I have used both NOW Foods and Source Naturals. Both are really inexpensive, with l-phenylalanine usually around $11 for a bottle and DLPA around just $9 for a bottle.
- Source Naturals DLPA 375mg
- NOW Foods L-Tyrosine 500mg
I get around $0.10 if you use my links to purchase the supplements. If you want, you can search for them in Amazon or iHerb without using my link.
If you’ve ever taken any of these amino acids before, let us know in the comments what your experience was.