D- or DL-PHENYLALANINE
Unlike left-handed, essential L-Phenylalanine, the D- or "right-handed" form of this common amino acid is not actually a nutrient but an amino acid analgesic. It is non-prescription but is rather costly for an effective dose. Practitioners using DLPA (Dextro-Levro-Phenyl-Alanine) normally employ it for chronic pain that is unresponsive to other measures. Arthritis or lower back pain would be examples. While no substitute for medical or chiropractic care, DLPA may well be a most suitable companion.
The dose of DLPA needed may vary from person to person, and is generally determined by starting with perhaps 1,000 mg daily for two weeks and then gradually increasing to a level that provides relief. If 3,000 mg per day doesn't work after a month's time, it probably will not work at all
. About two-thirds of those using it will report real improvement in this time. If they don't, then stop. There is no point in wasting money.
For this stuff is not cheap. Tablet potency is commonly around 300 to 500 mg, so a person might well need to take quite a few each day. I used to think that DLPA was way too pricey until I saw a few prescriptions where the pills cost several dollars apiece (and this was over a decade ago, long before the even more expensive "Viagra").
The good news is that persons reporting pain relief will generally be able to LOWER their dose gradually and will often be able to maintain pain-free status with less DLPA than before. It is a bit unusual for an analgesic substance to work BETTER over time and require LESS; the opposite is the rule. (Consider morphine, for instance.) DLPA has a long duration of action yet the body does not seem to build up a tolerance to it.
You will probably not find just "D-phenylalanine" for sale, hence the focus here on DLPA. It is the D-form that is active; you CANNOT therefore substitute the levro- ("L") form that is so widely found, at far lower cost, in foods and stores. The "L" form will not work. If the bottle does not specifically state its contents as "DL," you can be certain they are just trying to sell you the useless "L" form.
Our earlier criteria for natural pain relievers included safety and healing value. The safety of DLPA is very good indeed. It is non-addictive and virtually non-toxic. Some estimates place its safety on a par with vitamin C or fructose. Still, it is not to be used during pregnancy. Persons with phenylketonuria (PKU) obviously should not take any extra phenylalanine. Persons with high blood pressure should take DLPA after meals. Outside of these, there are virtually no adverse effects.
Added value may come from the fact that phenylalanine is converted by the body into phenylethylamine. Low levels of phenylethylamine are correlated with clinical depression; if DLPA raises these levels there is a real biochemical benefit. As a pain-killer, it seems to act by keeping enzymes called enkephalinase and carboxypeptidase A from breaking down the body's own morphine-like natural painkillers, the enkephalins and the endorphins. This makes a lot of sense: if the body relieves its own pain, a safe mechanism is probably at work. DLPA appears to assist that mechanism.
Research has indicated that migraine, joint pains, neuralgia and even postoperative pain respond to DLPA, and it has been reported to reduce inflammation. DLPA does not deaden normal sensation even when taken for a lengthy period. Prescribed medication usually may still be taken with DLPA without interference. Consult the Physician's Desk Reference ("PDR", found at any doctor's office, pharmacy, or library) for information on any drug you may be taking or considering.
The most dramatic pain-relief case I have seen was when a friend of mine had a large number of old dental fillings replaced within a short period of time. As a result, he experienced ongoing and severe jaw pain that no pharmaceutical pain-killer could touch, and the dentist tried them all. In desperation, my friend tried DLPA, about 3,000 mg/day. He reported immediate improvement, and truly profound relief shortly thereafter.