Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

2-aminopropionic Acid, Acide Alpha-aminopropionique, Acide Aminé Alanine, Acide Aminé Non Essentiel, Ala, Alanine Amino Acid, Alfa-alanina, Alpha-aminopropionic Acid, D-alanine, D-alpha-alanine, DL-alanine, L-alanine, L-alpha-alanine, L-alpha-aminopropionic Acid, Non-essential Amino Acid.


Alpha-alanine is a non-essential amino acid. Non-essential amino acids can be made by the body, so they don't have to be provided by food. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

You may see the terms “L-alpha-alanine” and “D-alpha-alanine.“ The “L” refers to the “left-handed” chemical form of the alpha-alanine molecule. The “D” refers to the “right-handed” chemical form of the molecule. The L and D forms are mirror-images of each other.

Alpha-alanine is used for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), diarrhea-related dehydration, liver disease, enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, BPH), fatigue, stress, and certain inherited disorders including glycogen storage disease and urea cycle disorders.

How does it work?

Alpha-alanine is an amino acid. It can affect blood sugar levels.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with type 1 diabetes. Some research shows that taking L-alpha-alanine by mouth can raise blood sugar levels after a “blood sugar low” due to taking too much insulin. L-alpha-alanine can also prevent blood sugar from dropping too low overnight.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diarrhea-related dehydration. Studies to date have produced mixed results about the effectiveness of L-alpha-alanine in treating dehydration due to diarrhea.
  • An inherited disorder called glycogen storage disease. There is some evidence that L-alpha-alanine can improve some, but not all, symptoms of the disease.
  • Schizophrenia. Early research suggests D-alpha-alanine might help regular drugs work better for improving symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
  • Liver disease.
  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, BPH).
  • Fatigue.
  • Stress.
  • Urea cycle disorders.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of alpha-alanine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Alpha-alanine seems to be safe when used appropriately for a short time. Side effects have not been reported in studies of alpha-alanine.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of alpha-alanine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: L-alpha-alanine can increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This can be helpful if blood sugar levels are too low, but it can be harmful if blood sugar levels are normal or too high. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use alpha-alanine.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For treating low blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes due to too much insulin: 20-40 grams of L-alpha-alanine.
  • For preventing low blood sugar at night in people with type 1 diabetes: 40 grams of L-alpha-alanine at bedtime along with 10 grams of glucose (sugar).

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors


Battezzati A, Haisch M, Brillon DJ, Matthews DE. Splanchnic utilization of enteral alanine in humans. Metabolism 1999;48:915-21. View abstract.

Bodamer OA, Haas D, Hermans MM, et al. L-alanine supplementation in late infantile glycogen storage disease type II. Pediatr Neurol 2002;27:145-6. View abstract.

Bodamer OA, Halliday D, Leonard JV. The effects of L-alanine supplementation in late-onset glycogen storage disease type II. Neurology 2000;55:710-2. View abstract.

D'Aniello A, Vetere A, Fisher GH, et al. Presence of D-alanine in proteins of normal and Alzheimer human brain. Brain Res 1992;592:44-8. View abstract.

Evans ML, Hopkins D, Macdonald IA, Amiel SA. Alanine infusion during hypoglycaemia partly supports cognitive performance in healthy human subjects. Diabet Med 2004;21:440-6. View abstract.

Fisher GH, D'Aniello A, Vetere A, et al. Free D-aspartate and D-alanine in normal and Alzheimer brain. Brain Res Bull 1991;26:983-5. View abstract.

Koeslag JH, Levinrad LI, Lochner JD, Sive AA. Post-exercise ketosis in post-prandial exercise: effect of glucose and alanine ingestion in humans. J Physiol 1985;358:395-403. View abstract.

Mundy HR, Williams JE, Cousins AJ, Lee PJ. The effect of L-alanine therapy in a patient with adult onset glycogen storage disease type II. J Inherit Metab Dis 2006;29:226-9. View abstract.

Patra FC, Sack DA, Islam A, et al. Oral rehydration formula containing alanine and glucose for treatment of diarrhoea: a controlled trial. BMJ 1989;298:1353-6. View abstract.

Ribeiro Junior Hda C, Lifshitz F. Alanine-based oral rehydration therapy for infants with acute diarrhea. J Pediatr 1991;118(4 ( Pt 2)):S86-90. View abstract.

Saleh TY, Cryer PE. Alanine and terbutaline in the prevention of nocturnal hypoglycemia in IDDM. Diabetes Care 1997;20:1231-6. View abstract.

Sazawal S, Bhatnagar S, Bhan MK, et al. Alanine-based oral rehydration solution: assessment of efficacy in acute noncholera diarrhea among children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1991;12:461-8. View abstract.

Tsai GE, Yang P, Chang YC, Chong MY. D-alanine added to antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry 2006;59:230-4. View abstract.

Wiethop BV, Cryer PE. Alanine and terbutaline in treatment of hypoglycemia in IDDM. Diabetes Care 1993;16:1131-6. View abstract.

Wiethop BV, Cryer PE. Glycemic actions of alanine and terbutaline in IDDM. Diabetes Care 1993;16:1124-30. View abstract.