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NutriVals is a free database of Nutrition Facts.

Asparagine

What is Asparagine?

Asparagine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that our bodies can dynamically produce it as and when required. It secures its place in one of the 20 vital amino acids that are integral for making up proteins in our bodies. Being an amide derivative of aspartic acid, asparagine is classified as a polar, aliphatic amino acid. Its unique chemical formula reads as C4H8N2O3, and its molecular weight is precisely 132.12 g/mol. Correspondingly, the non-essentiality of asparagine denotes that it is not necessary to consume it from dietary sources, yet it plays an indispensable role in various biological functions.

Why do we need Asparagine?

Asparagine is significant for human health as it plays an indispensable role in the biosynthesis of proteins, it's the building block required for the formation of peptide bonds. Apart from the synthesis of glycoproteins, which are integral proteins that have carbohydrates attached to them, asparagine also flexes its role in the production of other vital amino acids. These include aspartic acid, lysine, methionine, and threonine. Another noteworthy role of asparagine is that it serves as the precursor for production of aspartate, an important neurotransmitter in our central nervous system playing an influential role in the transmission of signals in the brain.

Where is Asparagine found?

Asparagine can be found in a wide variety of foods. Our main sources include dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, seeds, soy, and whole grains. The name of the vegetable asparagus hails from its high asparagine content, making it a particularly good source of this amino acid. Other than this, certain fruits and vegetables such as avocado, and legumes including beans, lentils, and peas also have a commendable amount of asparagine.

Daily requirements

The daily requirements for asparagine haven't been established so far since the body is capable enough to synthesize this amino acid on its own. Despite this, research suggests that an average stance of daily intake of asparagine in a typical Western diet is roughly estimated to be around 4-5 grams per day. It's necessary to include asparagine in the diet to support bodily functions and maintain proper health.

Asparagine deficiency

Asparagine deficiency is quite uncommon given that our body can normally generate this amino acid. However, recent research indicates that a low asparagine diet may support diminishing the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. This is because some cancerous cells are thought to rely on asparagine obtained specifically from the diet to grow and divide.

Can you get too much Asparagine?

Currently, there is no toxicity associated with the high intake of asparagine. Yet, a minority of people may experience mild side effects such as headaches or fatigue if they consume significantly high amounts of asparagine in supplemental form.

Should I get Asparagine supplements?

Generally, most people do not require asparagine supplements, since the body is capable enough to produce this amino acid on its own. However, some athletes and bodybuilders may take asparagine supplements as an additional measure to help bolster exercise performance and support muscle growth and repair.

Fun facts

The vegetable asparagus, which is high in asparagine, was once considered to possess medicinal properties and was commonly utilized to cure diverse ailments. These range from toothaches to the treatment of bee stings.

In historical terms, asparagine was first isolated in the year 1806 by renowned French chemists Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin and Pierre Jean Robiquet, contributing hugely to the field of biochemistry.

In a more functional context, asparagine is employed extensively in the food industry as a flavor enhancer, owing to its mild sweetness. It is often added to various processed foods such as soups, sauces, and dressings to improve their taste.

Food high in Asparagine

This list shows food that are top sources of Asparagine and the quantity of Asparagine in 100g of food

Asparagine

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Food
Fruit Vegetables Meat Dairy Eggs Bread Superfood Legumes Cereals Nuts and Seeds Seafood Other Spices and Herbs
Macronutrients Carbohydrate Fat Protein Water Fiber
Vitamins Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine (B6) Folate (B9) Cobalamine (B12) Ascorbic Acid (C) Vitamin A Vitamin K Vitamin E Vitamin D
Minerals Calcium (Ca) Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn) Iodine (I) Selenium (Se) Fluoride (F)
Amino acids Arginine Histidine Lysine Aspartic Acid Glutamic Acid Serine Threonine Asparagine Glutamine Cysteine Selenocysteine Glycine Proline Alanine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylalanine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine