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D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)

    D-aspartic acid, or DAA, was discovered in 1827 when a pharmacist boiled asparagus extract and hydrochloric acid.[1] However, for almost 200 years, D-aspartic acid remained relatively unknown and unexplored. Later, modern research sparked interest in DAA, and it is now included in many dietary supplements.

    Because D-aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid, the body produces it naturally.[2] DAA is also present in many natural food sources, including beans, eggs, and meat.[2]

    As an amino acid, D-aspartic acid is building block of protein. But, it’s more involved in hormone production and release than in protein synthesis.[3] DAA primarily functions and accumulates in the pituitary gland[4] and the testes.[5]

    Research indicates D-aspartic acid acts as an endogenous neurotransmitter which transmits signals to brain cells.[6] As a result, it may improve memory and learning, enhance brain function and focus, and elevate mood.[7]

    D-aspartic acid tends to accumulate in certain areas, specifically the brain[7], the testes[8] and the pituitary gland.[4] After accumulating, DAA encourages hormone release and production.

    Inside the pituitary gland, D-aspartic acid triggers the release of luteinizing hormones (LH), follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), and growth hormones (GH).[9] LH and FSH increase sperm production[10][11] and stimulate testosterone production and release.[11] GH regulates cell growth, reproduction, and regeneration.[13]

    After the testes absorb D-aspartic acid, it works with another hormone (HCG) to promote testosterone release.[11] In addition, DAA activates receptors in the hypothalamus, which enhances testosterone release[8] and improves brain function and memory.[7]

    Several scientific studies examined the effects of D-aspartic acid’s interactions with hormone release. In a 90-day study, men taking DAA showed improvements in sperm count and quality.[11]

    In another study, men consumed D-aspartic acid or a placebo. The placebo group did not experience significant results. However, blood tests showed 87% of men taking DAA had 33% more LH and 42% more testosterone after 12 days.[8]

    Reports exist from 2 human studies testing D-aspartic acid’s safety and efficacy. These studies are the most trustworthy indicators of whether DAA causes side effects.

    One study lasted 12 days. In this study, participants drank a solution of D-aspartic acid and several other nutrients every morning for the duration of the trial. No side effects were reported.[8]

    During a 90-day study, researchers measured participants’ electrolytes, liver enzymes, glucose, creatinine, urea, and red and white blood cell functions. No irregularities were noted. Researchers concluded DAA is safe, non-toxic, and doesn’t cause side effects.[11]

    Anecdotally, some D-aspartic acid users report these side effects:

    • Acne
    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Diarrhea[14]

    However, the nature of these reports is unscientific. These people were not monitored closely like those in a research study. Consequently, these side effects may be caused by many other factors, such as diet, medical history, or environmental influences.

    If you have a medical condition or take medication, consult a doctor before using DAA.

    Due to the lack of research, a recommended dosage for D-aspartic acid has not been firmly established.

    However, during the 12-day clinical study, participants consumed 3,000 mg daily.[8] Similarly, study participants consumed 2,660 mg DAA daily during the 90-day study.[11]

    Based on current research, these are safe dosages. Exceeding them is not advised, however.

    [1] Plimmer, RHA. The chemical composition of the proteins. 2. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1912. 112.

    [2] “Aspartic acid.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 Feb 2011.

    [3] D’Aniello, A. “D-Aspartic acid: an endogenous amino acid with an important neuroendocrine role.” Brain Research Reviews. 53.2 (2007): 215-34.

    [4] Lee, JA, H Homma, K Tashiro, T Iwatsubo, and K Imai. “D-aspartate localization in the rat pituitary gland and retina.” Brain Research. 838.1-2 (1999): 193-9.

    [5] Storto, M, M Sallese, et al. “Expression of metabotropic glutamate receptors in the rat and human testis.” Journal of Endocrinology. 170 (2007): 71-8.

    [6] D’Aniello, S, I Somorjai, J Garcia-Fernandez, E Topo, and A D’Aniello. “D-Aspartic acid is a novel endogenous neurotransmitter.” FASEB J. 25.3 (2011): 1014-27.

    [7] Topo, E, A Soricelli, et al. “Evidence for the involvement of D-aspartic acid in learning and memory of rat.” Amino Acids. 38.5 (2010): 1561-9.

    [8] Topo, Enza, Andrea Soricelli, et al. “The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 7 (2009): 120.

    [9] Pampillo, M, T Scimonelli, et al. “The effect of D-aspartate on luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, GABA and dopamine release.” Neuroreport. 13.17 (2002): 2341-4.

    [10] Matsumoto, AM, AE Karpas, et al. “Reinitiation of sperm production in gonadotropin-suppressed normal men by administration of follicle-stimulating hormone.” Journal of Clinical Investigation. 72.3 (1983): 1005-15.

    [11] D’Anielloa, Gemma, Salvatore Ronsini, et al. “D-Aspartate, a Key Element for the Improvement of Sperm Quality.” Advances in Sexual Medicine. 2.4 (2012): 45-53.

    [12] Mendis-Handagama, SM. “Luteinizing hormone on Leydig cell structure and function.” Histology and Histopathology. 12.3 (1997): 869-82.

    [13] Mayo Clinic staff. “Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Feb 2011.

    [14] “D Aspartic Acid and Negative Side Effects.” AnabolicMinds.com.

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