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Aspartic acid

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Also listed as: Aspartate
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Arginine aspartate, asp, aspartate chelated minerals, aspartate mineral chelates, aspartates (potassium and magnesium-L-aspartates), aspartic acid, copper aspartate, iron aspartate, L-aspartate, L-aspartic acid, magnesium aspartate, manganese aspartate, mineral aspartates, potassium aspartate, Spartase®, zinc aspartate.

Background
  • Aspartic acid is an acidic amino acid that is used by humans as a building block for protein synthesis. An aspartate is any salt of aspartic acid. Aspartic acid is made in adequate quantities by the body (non-essential).
  • Aspartates are taken by mouth to increase the absorption of mineral supplements, reduce fatigue, and enhance athletic performance. Mineral aspartates have also resulted in blood pressure-lowering effects and enhanced wound healing. Human studies using aspartic acid alone are needed in order to determine whether its effectiveness is due to the aspartate or the mineral or amino acid to which it is bonded.
  • It is hypothesized that the effects of aspartic acid may be due to its ability to reduce ammonia levels in the body.
  • Other clinical areas of interest include immune system stimulation, cholesterol-lowering effects, memory enhancement, and hepatic protection.
  • L-aspartic acid is currently listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.
  • Dr. Laborit was the first to suggest an ergogenic potential for magnesium and potassium aspartates in 1957. Human trials involving Spartase® (magnesium and potassium aspartate mixture) were initiated in the early 1960s in the areas of athletic performance and chronic fatigue.
  • According to secondary sources, Spartase® was a listed as a drug for fatigue in the United States in 1961 and was eventually banned in 1970 due to changes in FDA requirements. Magnesium-potassium aspartate supplements appeared on the market in the United States in 1994.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Early evidence suggests that aspartate salts may enhance aerobic performance in humans. However, whether this is due to aspartic acid, arginine (also an amino acid), or the mineral, is not clear. Limited human research suggests that arginine aspartate may slightly reduce plasma ammonia after exercise; however, research results are mixed. More human studies are needed before conclusions can be made.

C


Evidence from human research suggests that the potassium and magnesium salts of aspartate may help reduce fatigue. However, the effects of aspartic acid alone are unclear. Early evidence suggests that aspartates may be low in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Additional human study is needed in this area.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antioxidant, arthritis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cancer, cardiovascular health, depression, energy booster, fatigue, hepatic encephalopathy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hyperthyroidism, immune enhancement, infertility (male), iron absorption enhancement, liver damage from drugs or toxins, liver protection, malabsorption (minerals), memory, muscle weakness/pain, neuritis, schizophrenia, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Clinical dosing from single-ingredient aspartic acid is currently unavailable. Aspartates are salts of aspartic acid that include potassium and magnesium aspartates. Secondary sources report that potassium or magnesium aspartates are normally taken in doses of 7-12 grams over 24 hours for an unknown duration. Aspartic acid may be taken up to three times daily with juice or water, without protein.
  • For use as an exercise performance enhancement, manufacturer reports indicate that 4-8 grams of aspartic acid during the 24-hour period before an athletic event may increase athletic capacity.
  • For the treatment of fatigue, 250 milligrams of potassium and 250 milligrams of magnesium aspartate has been taken daily by mouth for an unknown duration.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for aspartic acid.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with known allergy or sensitivity to aspartic acid or protein sources of aspartic acid supplements (if indicated as a natural source).

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Use cautiously in patients with high protein intakes, due to the potential for side effects associated with very high levels of protein in the diet.
  • Based on secondary sources, adverse effects have not been reported for doses of up to 10 grams of aspartates over 24 hours. It has been suggested that larger doses may potentially cause diarrhea.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) in the diet may lead to gastrointestinal side effects (such as diarrhea), liver damage, gout, kidney damage, and dehydration. Use cautiously in patients with liver disorders, gout, kidney disorders, or gastrointestinal problems.
  • Use cautiously in patients with osteoporosis, due to potential for increased calcium loss with a high-protein diet.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Aspartic acid is an amino acid commonly found in food. Mineral aspartates and supplemental aspartic acid are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to a lack of scientific data. In human research study, magnesium aspartate supplementation in pregnant women was linked to decreased hospitalizations of the mother, preterm delivery, and referral of the newborn to the neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Information on aspartic acid's effects on breastfeeding is currently lacking in the National Institute of Health's Lactation and Toxicology Database (LACT-MED).

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to gout. Use cautiously in patients taking medications for the treatment of gout.
  • In human study of young anorexic women, potassium aspartate supplementation had beneficial effects on the QT dispersion on an electrocardiogram. Aspartic acid may interact with cardiovascular drugs.
  • Magnesium aspartate supplementation may decrease blood pressure. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of blood pressure-lowering medications.
  • In human study, arginine aspartate decreased levels of total and LDL cholesterol. The effect of aspartic acid alone is unclear. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications.
  • Aspartate salts may enhance aerobic performance. However, whether this is due to aspartic acid, arginine (also an amino acid), or the mineral, is not clear. Limited human research suggests that arginine aspartate may reduce plasma ammonia after exercise slightly, thus potentially reducing the purported fatigue-inducing effects of ammonia. However, research results are mixed. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of athletic performance enhancement agents.
  • Potassium and magnesium salts of aspartate may have fatigue-reducing effects. However, the effects of aspartic acid alone are unclear. Secondary reports suggest that aspartates may be low in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of CNS stimulant agents.
  • Based on secondary sources, increased calcium loss with a high-protein diet has been reported. Use cautiously in patients taking medications for osteoporosis.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to liver damage. Use cautiously in individuals with liver disorders or in those taking drugs that are toxic to the liver.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to kidney damage. Use cautiously in patients with kidney disorders or in those taking drugs that are toxic to the kidneys.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Aspartic acid (Asp) is a dispensable (non-essential) amino acid. Intake of aspartic acid in addition to other supplemental amino acids may have unknown additive effects.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to gout. Use cautiously in patients taking herbs and supplements for the treatment of gout.
  • In human study, arginine aspartate decreased levels of total and LDL cholesterol. The effect of aspartic acid alone is unclear. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements.
  • In humans, arginine aspartate supplementation increased plasma arginine levels. The effect of aspartic acid alone is unclear.
  • Aspartate salts may enhance aerobic performance. However, whether this is due to aspartic acid, arginine (also an amino acid), or the mineral, is not clear. Limited human study suggests that arginine aspartate may reduce plasma ammonia after exercise slightly, thus potentially reducing the purported fatigue-inducing effects of ammonia. However, research results are mixed. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of athletic performance enhancement herbs and supplements.
  • In human study of young anorexic women, potassium aspartate supplementation had beneficial effects on the QT dispersion on an electrocardiogram. Aspartic acid may interact with cardioactive herbs and supplements.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to liver damage. Use cautiously in individuals with liver disorders or in those taking drugs that are toxic to the liver.
  • Excessive intake of protein (aspartic acid is an amino acid) may lead to kidney damage. Use cautiously in patients with kidney disorders or in those taking drugs that are toxic to the kidneys.
  • Magnesium aspartate supplementation may decrease blood pressure. Aspartic acid may add to the effects of blood pressure-lowering herbs or supplements.
  • Aspartic acid is often paired with various minerals, including iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, supposedly to increase absorption of these minerals and to decrease potential gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Increased calcium loss with a high-protein diet has been reported. Use cautiously in patients taking herbs and supplements for the treatment of osteoporosis.
  • Potassium and magnesium salts of aspartate may have fatigue-reducing effects. However, the effects of aspartic acid alone are unclear. Secondary reports suggest that aspartates may be low in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. Aspartic acid may add to the effects stimulant herbs and supplements.
  • Excessive protein intake may lead to calcium loss. Aspartic acid may reduce the effects of calcium-containing foods.
  • Aspartic acid is a dispensable (non-essential) amino acid. Taking aspartic acid when on a high-protein diet may have unknown additive effects.
  • Secondary reports suggest that aspartic acid is more beneficial for athletic performance when taken as a supplement without protein. The action of aspartic acid may be affected by non-protein-containing foods.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Abel, T., Knechtle, B., Perret, C., et al. Influence of chronic supplementation of arginine aspartate in endurance athletes on performance and substrate metabolism - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Int J Sports Med 2005;26(5):344-349.
  2. Beltz, S. D. and Doering, P. L. Efficacy of nutritional supplements used by athletes. Clin.Pharm. 1993;12(12):900-908.
  3. Colombani, P. C., Bitzi, R., Frey-Rindova, P., et al. Chronic arginine aspartate supplementation in runners reduces total plasma amino acid level at rest and during a marathon run. Eur J Nutr. 1999;38(6):263-270.
  4. De Aloysio, D., Mantuano, R., Mauloni, M., et al. The clinical use of arginine aspartate in male infertility. Acta Eur Fertil. 1982;13(3):133-167.
  5. Denis, C., Dormois, D., Linossier, M. T., et al. Effect of arginine aspartate on the exercise-induced hyperammoniemia in humans: a two periods cross-over trial. Arch.Int Physiol Biochim.Biophys. 1991;99(1):123-127.
  6. Firoz, M. and Graber, M. Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations. Magnes.Res. 2001;14(4):257-262.
  7. Franzoni, F., Mataloni, E., Femia, R., et al. Effect of oral potassium supplementation on QT dispersion in anorexia nervosa. Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(6):653-656.
  8. Hurson, M., Regan, M. C., Kirk, S. J., et al. Metabolic effects of arginine in a healthy elderly population. JPEN J Parenter.Enteral Nutr. 1995;19(3):227-230.
  9. Kirk, S. J., Hurson, M., Regan, M. C., et al. Arginine stimulates wound healing and immune function in elderly human beings. Surgery 1993;114(2):155-159.
  10. Rees C. J., Oppong, K., Al Mardini, H., et al. Effect of L-ornithine-L-aspartate on patients with and without TIPS undergoing glutamine challenge: a double blind, placebo controlled trial. Gut 2000;47(4):571-574.
  11. Rüddel H, Werner, C., and Ising, H. Impact of magnesium supplementation on performance data in young swimmers. Magnes.Res. 1990;3(2):103-107.
  12. Spatling, L. and Spatling, G. Magnesium supplementation in pregnancy. A double-blind study. Br.J Obstet.Gynaecol. 1988;95(2):120-125.
  13. Tuttle, J. L., Potteiger, J. A., Evans, B. W., et al. Effect of acute potassium-magnesium aspartate supplementation on ammonia concentrations during and after resistance training. Int J Sport Nutr. 1995;5(2):102-109.
  14. Wagenmakers, A. J. Muscle amino acid metabolism at rest and during exercise: role in human physiology and metabolism. Exerc.Sport Sci.Rev. 1998;26:287-314.
  15. Witteman, J. C., Grobbee, D. E., Derkx, F. H., et al. Reduction of blood pressure with oral magnesium supplementation in women with mild to moderate hypertension. Am.J Clin.Nutr. 1994;60(1):129-135.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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