What is DLPA?
DLPA, other wise known as DL-phenylalanine, is an essential amino acid. More specifically, it's a form of the amino acid phenylalanine. Recently, DL-phenylalanine has been getting attention in the medical world for its ability to reduce chronic pain and depression. But the research came to this conclusion in a round about way, because it isn't this amino acid that actually does the job, it's endorphins.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are found in the brain. They are your body's natural painkillers that work similar to morphine or codeine. Not only do they relieve pain, they also have been connected to "euphoric" feelings, such as the so called "high" that comes with prolonged, strenuous exercise ("runner's high").
Read more about Endorphins.
What if, instead of pumping drugs into our bodies to relieve pain, we could use the natural substances that are already there? That was the idea that Dr. Seymour Ehrenpreis had. He found that by injecting DL-phenylalanine he could raise endorphin levels and cut down on pain. And instead of being terribly addictive like morphine, it was non-addictive, non-toxic, has few or no side effects, and got stronger the more it was used.
Essentially, DLPA slows down the enzymes that "eat up" endorphins. That way, the endorphins have longer to do their work.
So what exactly is it good for?
DLPA has been found to be most useful for chronic pain and depression. It has also helped with symptoms of PMS, and even cut down on inflammation. Chronic pain might include back pain, arthritis, pain due to diseases such as cancer, and, of course, headache.
As you can imagine, this may be a great help for those with chronic headaches and especially migraine. Studies have found that migraine sufferers also have low endorphin levels, which is double trouble when you're trying to fight pain!
Read this article about DLPA by Dr Ritchi Morris for more.
How do I take it?
DL-phenylalanine is available without prescription at health food stores and pharmacies around the world.
It's taken as capsules. Talk to your doctor, and read the above articles about dosage information. Most simply it can be taken 1 capsule a day, but your doctor may suggest an off/on schedule since it continues to work after you stop taking it.
DLPA can be purchased at a good price at online retailers such as vitacost.
Be sure you're getting DL-phenylalanine and not L-phenylalanine.
Remember, this is a fairly new treatment and your doctor may not be familiar with it. Direct him to the above articles for more information.