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What is Asparagine?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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Also know simply as Asn, asparagine is a non-essential amino acid that is found in a number of different sources. First identified in 1806, asparagine is also sometimes referred to as aspartic acid. The popular name for the amino acid came about due to the discovery of the compound in asparagus juice. Since that time, the amino acid has been identified in a wide range of foods consumed in just about every culture around the world.

Asparagine has since been found in a number of different animal and plant sources. Some seafood also contains the amino acid, as do poultry and eggs. Dairy products like milk and cheese also contain small amounts of the acid. Even beef is known to contain some amounts of Asn.

Different plants are also sources of asparagine. In addition to asparagus, the acid is found in some root vegetables, such as potatoes. Whole grains such as wheat and oats are also excellent sources of the compound, as are some types of legumes and soy. Various types of nuts also contain Asn. This ingestion of the acid from natural sources, when coupled with the amount of Asn produced naturally in the body, is usually sufficient for the health needs of the individual.

While not considered an essential amino acid, there is no doubt that asparagine does have a positive effect on the body. The liver is capable of creating asparagine for the body and uses it to help feed the nervous system. The presence of the acid helps the system to maintain proper emotional balance, sometimes by preventing the development of a high degree of sensitivity to touch and sound. At the same time, the amino acid has properties that seem to help the body to resist fatigue. This has led to some speculation that the use of asparagine supplements could be helpful for athletes, although there is no consensus on this particular application.

When the liver fails to produce proper levels of asparagine, the function of the nervous system is adversely affected. This may manifest as sudden and somewhat painful headaches, a noticeable increase in irritability, forgetfulness and even the onset of depression. Assuming that the liver has not been permanently damaged, it is possible to address the underlying cause for the malfunction of the liver, and allow the organ to resume producing sufficient amounts of Asn to alleviate any negative symptoms that occur as a result of the deficiency.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon327900 — On Apr 01, 2013

Your body can naturally synthesize asparagine, so I wouldn't start my investigation at a asparagine deficiency. Although it has been found to be a essential amino acid in certain circumstances such as early childhood development.

It could be beneficial to those who have a deficient enzyme which is unlikely but hey try it out anyone who has tried asparagine please post the results. I tried finding a scientific source on ASN supplementation but haven't had any luck thus far, only combined therapies.

By sunshined — On Feb 22, 2012

@SarahSon - You don't have anything to lose by adding some of those foods to your diet.

I wonder if some vegans might be low on asparagine? Since it is found in poultry, eggs, milk and cheese, a vegan would not be consuming any of these foods.

They might get some from some nuts and whole grains, but it sounds like the higher amounts of this amino acid are found in foods they don't eat.

This is just something I thought about as I was reading through this article. I shouldn't have any trouble getting enough asparagine in my body.

I enjoy eating every one of the foods that was mentioned, and have many of them every day.

By SarahSon — On Feb 21, 2012

I wonder if I am low on this this asparagine amino acid. Recently I started getting headaches and have felt confused, easily irritated and forgetful.

It was not uncommon for me to feel this way when I was experiencing PMS symptoms, but now I find myself feeling this way most of the time.

I know that amino acids play an important role in how well your body functions. As I read through the foods that contain this amino acid, I don't eat very many of them on a regular basis.

Since I haven't found out yet what is wrong, maybe I will start adding some of those foods to my diet and see if I notice any positive changes.

By LisaLou — On Feb 20, 2012

I am not very familiar with the names of all the amino acids, and had never heard of asparagine until my brother told me about it.

He is an athlete and is always trying out some new kind of program or supplement. He told me he was taking an asparagine supplement to help fight fatigue and speed up his metabolism.

Once he starts something new like this he claims it is the best thing since sliced bread and thinks everybody should be taking it.

The problem is, he loses interest in these products over time, and I don't know if he has seen lasting, beneficial results with any of them.

It sounds like taking an asparagine supplement wouldn't do you any harm. On the other hand, if it isn't going to do you any good, and you can get what you need from the food you eat, why waste your money on it?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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