Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert. Sport & Exercise Nutrition. L2 Strength & Conditioning Coach.
If you are looking to increase your overall physical and even hormonal performance you may have already heard of D-Aspartic Acid. However, you may be a little confused about what it does, and (understandably) if there are any health risks or legal concerns, particularly if you are an athlete or serve in the armed forces.
In this article we outline the benefits and any potential risks by evaluating the clincial evidence that is available.
The following is covered:
- Amino Acids
- What is DAA
- Benefits & effects
- Take away points
Amino Acids For Health
Are you wondering about D-Aspartic acid? Is D-Aspartic acid safe? Where does it come from and how does it work? If any of these questions, bother you, you're in the right place.
This naturally-occurring amino acid is responsible for a variety of key processes in your body. Even though it occurs in the body, supplementation is possible.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about this acid. So that you can determine if you would like to supplement it for the potential benefits that it provides.
Whenever you're ready to discover more about this chemical compound, keep reading.
What Is D-Aspartic Acid?
L-AA joins with other amino acids to develop vital proteins. But D-AA exists on its own in molecular form and resides in various bodily tissue. Individual molecules of each consist of the same atoms.
In fact, they have the same chemical formula. The only difference is in their alignment within the location they occupy. D-AA and L-AA are mirrored versions of each other, like your right and left foot.
What is currently known about the benefits and effects of D-Aspartic acid comes from both animal and human research, like many other compounds. Free D-AA develops on its own in the hormone and nerve tissues. It's important for nerve communication and brain development.
It also promotes the release of various hormones, as seen in the rat model. Nonetheless, scientists are still finding out new ways in which the amino acid affects humans and how it can benefit us.
Needless to say, it has shown promising effects regarding male fertility as well as naturally stimulating testosterone production, which may be of interest if you are noticing the signs of age related testosterone decline.
D-AA has been used for a long time in suppements now, and it is not classed as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Association nor considered a health risk, as such it can be used by athletes and isn't banned by the military.
Therefore it is interesting to see that when coupled with vitamin D3 for 28 days the subjects (who were suffering from low T) had a higher libido, better mood and improvements in their tesosterone levels according to the report published in the The Open Nutraceuticals Journal.
D-Aspartic Acid Benefits & Effects On the Brain
High levels of D-Aspartic acid promote brain growth immediately and before birth in mice.
In animal studies, levels of D-AA decreased over time, it is thought that this decrease plays a role in the degredation of learning and memory functions.
Research dictates that D-Asp is a neurotransmitter, meaning it enhances brain connections, stores memories, produces nerve signals, improves learning.
D and L
If you have done some prior research around aspartic acid you may have noticed there are two types; D-Aspartic Acid and L-Aspartic Acid.
The L and D form have their own effects. Hence, the term Aspartic acid is confusing. The form used take from food and used to make protein is the L form.
Also, L-Asp can oppose the effect profile of the D form. L-Asp has had toxic effects on the salivary glands and kidneys in rats.
However, this is not the type that is found in dietary supplements. D-AA has been found to be generally safe without toxic effect.
D-AA also stimulates the production of progesterone, testosterone, oxytocin, prolactin, growth hormone, luteinizing hormone. As well as others that are involved in reproduction, muscle growth, sexual function, and blood pressure.
Is D-Aspartic Acid Safe?
In clinical research, there were no dangerous side-effects with D-AA up to 6 grams per day. The only issue that occured was that 6 grams daily actually reduced testosterone levels.
The typical dosage that is advised is about 3 grams per day. The safety of consuming more than 6 per day is not evident. 3 grams of D-AA consumed daily for 3 months was safe for those impaired with fertility.
Previous studies have shown that L-AA was toxic to the body of mice, but the same cannot be said for D-Aspartic acid.
So is D-Aspartic acid safe?
If we look at the ebody of evidence that is available, it appears that there aren't any safety concerns. Let's also consider how many supplements are on sale that include D-AA and there hasn't been any reports of injury or death.
The FDA have the power to ban any supplement that are unsafe, and it has in the past taken action against products containing DMAA (dimethylamylamine) which has been linked to high blood pressure, strokes and even death.
D-AA supplements usually state that it's not for consumption by nursing or pregnant women, children or persons under 18.
As ever, some people may react differently to others. Overall, there are not any safety concerns, but you may wish to speak to a medical professional before using any products containing D-AA.
Limitations And Precautions
Most of the existing D-AA studies are of a small scale. Additional research may tell us more, particularly for its benefits.
Some of the limitations existing with current trials are, but not limited to:
- Humans are not animals and differ significantly, findings from animal studies cannot directly transfer to humans.
- Even though animal trials provide an indication of D-Aspartic function in humans, new studies might show differences in humans. In any case, very little is known about D amino acids of all kinds, especially when compared against the more common L amino acids.
- Up until recently, the relevance and existence of D amino acids were severely downplayed. Most human studies use small groups with very little diversity. Studies of large demographics and greater physical diversity are needed to expand the research shown in this article.
Also, very little study has been done on natural D-AA in women. Less research exists on the value of D-AA supplementation for women. Keep all of this in mind when considering the use of D-Aspartic acid.
Are there any food sources?
You get amino acids from meat sources such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey and lamb, this includes both essential and non-essential aminos.
Milk based products are considered to be a superior sources of branch chained amino acids.
So, this includes cheeses, cream, yogurt and even butter. Also remember to consider eggs.
For those on a plant-based diet, things become slightly more challenging, but not impossible.
You'll find a variety of food sources such as fruits (fresh and dried), grains, corn, rice and bran.
The only difference is that these contain less amounts of aspartic acid than the the meat and dairy options, therefore you just have to be more conscious of the quantities you are wanting to consume.
Military Muscle - A Safe Product for You
Now that you have discovered the answer to the question of "Is D-Aspartic acid safe?", you have come to realize that while there are not a large number of studies, those that have taken place didn't unearth any concerns.
Furthermore, D-AA has been on sale for a long time as a stand-alone product as well as being part of a wider nutritional profile in other products with no reports of toxicity.
Therefore, D-Aspartic acid is is considered safe as long as it's consumed in doses over 6g daily, and if you are looking to acheive any hormonal benefits do not use over 3g daily as it could have the opposite effect.