L-Serine Deficiency: Causes and Symptoms

Is your body getting enough serine? L-serine deficiency is inherited and quite a rare condition. Learn more about the symptoms and causes here.


The human body contains 20 amino acids and one of them is serine. This is one of the non-essential ones since people don’t need to get it from food or supplements. However, even though the body produces serine sometimes it doesn’t make enough of the stuff. That results in an l-serine deficiency. This is something you should deal with. Like deficiencies in other amino acids, it can cause negative health effects. This is especially a problem when your body can’t produce any of the amino acids. That can cause even worse symptoms and maybe even very serious ones. Each amino acid is important to humans.

How do you know whether or not your body makes enough serine? It’s important to know the symptoms and causes of the amino acid. That will help to determine whether you’ll need to boost your levels with food or dietary supplements. The symptoms can be as simple as lower physical/mental skills and as serious as seizures. When you experience the symptoms, you should also know which foods you can eat to boost your serine levels. They include peanuts, soy, and meat. That’s an alternative to taking L-serine supplements, which is another step you can take.

What Is Serine?

The human body has 20 amino acids and serine is one of the 11 non-essential ones. Glycine is the amino acid that produces serine. This amino acid is critical for maintaining a person’s physical and mental health. It’s important for the body’s central nervous system to function well. That includes the brain and spinal cord.

Serine has various other jobs. They include ones like DNA/RNA function, fat metabolism, muscle forming, and cell production. So, it’s clear that serine is very important for different functions within the human body.

Here’s a break-down of some of the serine’s main health benefits:

1. Mental Health

A person’s mental health can be affected by not having enough serine. That’s because the amino acid affects how much serotonin is in the body. This is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that’s critical for the brain and body to “talk” to each other.

Serine helps the body to make another amino acid that makes serotonin. So, when your body doesn’t make enough serotonin this can have a negative effect on your mental health.

It can cause different symptoms like anxiety, confusion, and depression. These are symptoms you’ll certainly want to avoid in your life.

2. Brain Function

There’s a special layer known as a “myelin sheath” that helps to protect the body’s nerves. The amino acid l-serine is important for making/maintaining this protective layer.

So, if your body doesn’t get enough l-serine the sheath can also get damaged. That can put the body’s nerves in danger.

This causes various problems. The nerves then can’t “talk” to each other as effectively. This, in turn, prevents the brain from working as effectively.

3. Muscles

Serine can help the body absorb a chemical named creatine. This is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. It helps to build muscle mass and helps muscles function better. So, it’s also important for heart function.

L-Serine Deficiency

It’s important to note that it’s quite rare for people to have a deficiency of serine. The condition is inherited. What happens is the body isn’t able to process the amino acid effectively.

Children can experience various symptoms when their bodies don’t process serine effectively. They include motor skill problems and seizures.

What are the signs of the condition? Various symptoms might show the child isn’t making enough of the amino acid.

A basic test of spinal fluid is usually enough to determine whether or not serine is the cause of the different symptoms. In some cases it is and in other cases, it’s not causing them.

It’s critical to get your child tested if you think he/she might be suffering from an l-serine deficiency. If they have the condition then it’s critical to provide treatment as soon as possible. That, in turn, will help to improve their wellbeing and quality of life.

As always, a physician can help to pick the best treatment for serine-related health issues. However, it starts with a correct diagnosis. This is critical to make sure a person certainly has a deficiency.

In many cases, the same symptoms can be experienced for different conditions. That’s also true with serine. Just because someone has one symptom of a condition doesn’t mean they have it.

That’s why the spinal fluid test is so critical. That, in turn, will help a doctor to figure out whether or not the patient likely has a problem not producing enough serine. He/She can then prescribe the best treatments to get the best results.

The good news is an l-serine deficiency is quite rare. However, that doesn’t mean you should think your child won’t experience it. That’s why it’s critical to watch out for symptoms that imply it’s likely an l-serine deficiency. A doctor can also help to determine the problem.

Foods High in Serine

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with serine deficiency, it’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough of it. Here are some good food sources:

  • Soybeans
  • Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Flaxseed
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Chickpeas

Fun Fact: Serine was discovered in nature by a German chemist in 1865. When we refer to L-serine is one of two forms. The other one is D-=serine.

One thing to keep in mind is only L-serine is available in a supplement form. D-serine isn’t available in a supplement. The reason is it’s not involved in the production of certain proteins. The US FDA also hasn’t classified it as “safe.”

Scientists haven’t studied serine much even though it was discovered more than 1.5 centuries ago. Scientists are still learning about amino acids and how a deficiency can affect a person’s body.

However, serine has a big role in the body’s making of protein. It’s also important in other things like DNA/RNA, the nervous system, metabolism, muscles, and other things.

Before you start taking L-serine supplements or eating more serine-rich foods make sure to do some research. For example, you should research the foods that are highest in serine. This will help you get more of the amino acid from fewer foods.

You should also do some research about certain supplements. What types are available on the market? Which brands are the most trusted? How much do you need based on your particular situation or condition?

As always make sure to consult your doctor before you start taking any new supplement. They can guide whether or not you need a serine supplement and other issues.

You should also inform your doctor of all supplements/medicines you’re taking now. It will help to provide the best results when dealing with l serine deficiency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *