Serine: Definition, Health Benefits and Food Sources

Serine is an amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein. It’s also available in “L” and “D” dietary supplements. Possible health benefits include skin, muscles, and brain. High-serine foods include eggs, soyfish, turkey, and cheese.

Grilled salmon on a plate

Are you getting enough serine in your diet? This is one of the 20 amino acids found in the human body. It’s one of the non-essential amino acids (NEAAs) that people don’t have to get from foods or supplements. That’s because the body naturally produces the substance. Serine is available in supplements including “L” and “L” types. L-Serine is actually made from different amino acids and especially glycine. Why would you want more of something your body already produces? Some people have medical conditions that affect their bodies’ level of amino acids, for example. In other cases, you might just want to add more of a certain amino acid to your diet.

Why should you consider taking serine supplements? This particular amino acid might provide benefits for your skin, muscles, and brain. Studies show that possible benefits include fewer seizures, sleep quality, brain function, anxiety/depression, and others. As always, it’s important to research what studies have shown about these benefits. In some situations, these are clear benefits, while in other cases more research is needed. If you want to boost your serine intake you can also pick foods like fish, turkey, eggs, and soy. Remember that food is always the best source of nutrients including amino acids.

What is Serine?

What Is Serine/L-Serine?

Let’s start with this issue since it’s a key one when talking about the amino acid. This is one of the non-essential amino acids. Does it mean it’s not necessary? No, but since the body products the stuff it’s not needed from food and supplements.

The body has 20 amino acids and serine is one of the 11 NEAAs. Normally people’s bodies make enough of the amino acid. However, in some cases, you’ll get more because of certain health conditions.

Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. This one can provide different benefits like skin health, muscles, and brain function. There are also other possible plusses of this amino acid.

This amino acid is available in different foods like fish, eggs, and soybeans. However, you can also get it from two kinds of supplements including a “D” and “L” versions. The L” version has been classified by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as generally safe.

It’s interesting that this amino acid was discovered around 150+ years ago. However, scientists haven’t researched much about having more/less of this amino acid in your body. There’s no question though it’s important for different body functions like protein, fatty acids, DNA/RNA, and so on.

Serine also works with other body chemicals to produce things like other amino acids. it also provides other benefits like helping the body’s cells to fix themselves.

The bottom line is it’s important to make sure your body gets enough of L-serine. This helps to make sure your body is getting enough of the amino acid. This will help the central nervous system (CNS) to work well. That includes the brain and spinal cord. 

Meanwhile, if you’re not getting enough of the amino acid it can cause negative effects on your body. So, you should know if your diet requires more.

Benefits of Serine

The main benefits of serine are related to skin, muscles, and brain. This is due to the amino acids’ function as the building blocks of protein. It’s important to note that the “L” and “D” types have different benefits. However, their possible benefits include:

1. ALS

Recent studies have focused on the effects of this amino acid on a condition called ALS. It’s caused by nerve cell breakdowns and causes serious muscle weakness.

2. Seizures

Studies show that a 1-week treatment of L-serine lowered the number of seizures patients had. It also reduces things like muscle stiffness/spasms.

3. Skin health

When the amino acid is added to lotions they seem to reduce UV-caused wrinkles. A study with bald mice showed that applying an L-serine cream reduced the appearance of existing wrinkles.

4. Chronic Fatigue

There’s feeling sleepy enough for a cat nap then there’s something called “chronic fatigue.” This causes you to feel really tired all the time. There are different causes of this condition including low serine levels. Taking a supplement might help to get your levels back to normal levels.

5. Brain function

L-serine might help to boost blood flow going to the brain. The amino acid increases blood flow within the brain. It also helps to safeguard nerve cells, which is important for the brain and spinal cord to function effectively. 

6. Alzheimer’s

L-serine seems to lower the building of proteins in the brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s. Studies show that symptoms can be improved by exposure to the amino acid.

7. Sleep

If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep then you might want to consider L-serine supplements. Studies show that small doses might boost sleep quality. One study with 50+ participants showed that taking L-Serine for several nights boosted sleep quality and also how fast someone could catch Z’s.

Benefits of serine and food sources

Serine Mechanics and Food Sources

It’s important to know the basics of how L-serine functions. It forms all the bases of DNA/RNA. There are two types of amino acid including “L” and “D.” The L-type is changed to the D-type through a certain enzyme.

The D-type of this amino acid is found mostly in the brain. Its job is to trigger the body’s central nervous system (CNS). It’s important for cells in the brain to “talk” to each other.

The amino acid is also indirectly important for a person’s mood. That’s because it produces something that in turn makes serotonin. This is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that helps to give people a “runner’s high” when exercising.

Another job of the amino acid is to make antibodies for fighting illness and disease. It also helps to make other amino acids.

If you want to get more serine from food then you have several options including:

  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Gelatin
  • Soy
  • Turkey

You can also get the amino acid in dietary supplements. For example, one of the common supplements combines serine and fatty acids.

Before you take serine supplements it’s important to consult your doctor first. He/She can provide guidance about which one you should take, the right dosage, and how often you should take the supplement.

It’s also important to inform your doctor about any over-the-counter (OTC0 supplements and prescription meds you’re taking. This will help to prevent any “interactions” that would cause those medicines or serine supplements to work less effectively.

Finally, make sure your doctor runs tests to determine if you need more of this amino acid. If you don’t have a deficiency sometimes this can cause unwanted side-effects. 

Your doctor will know how much of the amino acid you need. They can then suggest the best dosage for a particular supplement of serine.

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