Tolerable amounts of amino acids for human supplementation: summary and lessons from published peer-reviewed studies

François Blachier, Anne Blais, Rajavel Elango, Kuniaki Saito, Yoshiharu Shimomura, Motoni Kadowaki, Hideki Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Amino acid supplementation may be indicated to correct for insufficient amino acid intake in healthy individuals, and in specific physiological or pathophysiological situations. However, there is a concern to not supplement beyond the tolerable upper intake level (UL) by determining parameters of no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) or lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL) for each amino acid. Since the NOAEL and LOAEL values are at least one order of magnitude different when comparing the values obtained in rats and humans, the aim of this review is to evaluate to what extent the amino acid UL measured in the rat model, when referenced to the dietary usual consumption (UC) and dietary requirement (RQ) for indispensable amino acids, may be used as an approximation of the UL in humans. This review then compares the ratios of the NOAEL or LOAEL over UC and RQ in the rat model with the same ratios calculated in humans for the nine amino acids (arginine, serine, glycine, histidine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan) for which this comparison can be done. From the calculations made, it appears that for these 9 amino acids, the calculated ratios for rats and humans, although rather different for several amino acids, remains for all of them in the same order of magnitude. For tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine, the ratios calculated in rats are markedly different according to the sex of animals, raising the view that it may be also the case in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1313-1328
Number of pages16
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 09-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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