It is a non-essential amino acid and is very important in metabolism and the formation of pyrimidines and purines. Pyrimidines and purines are nucleotides, a group of chemicals essential in the formation of genetic code. It is frequently categorized as a nootropic.
In order for the body to produce this amino acid, sufficient amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin B3, and folic acid must be present.
It is also the starting molecule to other amino acids, such as cysteine and glycine in bacteria. It is an important component in our diets because it is a building block to other nutrients such as folate (acid folic), and it is vital for baby health and growth.
The structure of it is what makes this non-essential amino acid so special. The specific structure of it is indicative of its chemical formula – C3H7NO3. The R group structure, CH3O, connects to the central carbon of the amino acid back bone.
It is a linear molecule and polar in nature. Polar signifies that the molecule of this amino acid is both negatively and positively charged. This non-essential amino acid is water-loving because of this polar characteristic.
It was first isolated in 1865 from Sericin, a silk protein. It may be observed that silk has a high concentration of this amino acid, thus, this amino acid got its name from the Latin term “sericum” literally translating – “silk.”
Uses and health benefits of serine
Improves mental function
It is particularly essential for proper functioning of your central nervous system and your brain.
Like another non-essential amino acid – cysteine, serine often helps an enzyme catalyze its reaction, appearing in the active sites, such as – trypsin (which is produced in the pancreas as the inactive protease trypsinogen) and chymotrypsin (which is a basic digestive enzyme component of pancreatic juice).
Boosts the immune system
It is also well-known for assisting in the production of immunoglobulins and antibodies (antibodies) for a healthy immune system, and also for helping in the absorption of creatine (a nitrogenous organic acid) that helps build and maintain the muscles.
Reduces anxiety levels
It can raise the levels of dopamine, a calming neurotransmitter, hence, it improves mood and reduces the levels of depression and anxiety. Anxiety can affect the way you feel, the way you think, and the way you live your life. Presently, it’s estimated that about 40% of adults and 10% of teenagers suffer from an anxiety disorder of some kind.
It is a precursor for the production of amino acids such as cysteine, glycine, and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid commonly used to counter premenstrual syndrome as well as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Sleep is crucial to your well-being, as essential as the water you drink and the food you eat, the air you breathe. In addition, sleep can even help you manage the stress or eat better. Therefore, overall health is strongly connected with sleep quality.
Food sources of serine
You can find this amino acid in – eggs, meats, dairy products, spirulina, wakame, horseradish, asparagus, swamp cabbage, spinach, watercress, zucchini, soy products, red kidney beans, white beans, mung beans, adzuki beans, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, watermelon seed, peanuts, hemp seeds, cotton seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
Serine deficiency could occur because a problem in any of the 3 enzymes required in its synthesis. Children with a deficiency in this amino acid present with congenital microcephaly, then they may develop intractable seizures and severe psychomotor retardation.
Usual doses of this amino acid commonly range from 500 mg per day to at 600 mg/kg/day.
Side effects of serine
Overconsumption of supplements containing this amino acid, however, can be toxic to nerve cells. It is recommended to avoid supplements with this amino acid during breastfeeding and pregnancy due to the fact that there are not enough studies about their safety during these periods.