Optimal Result: 25.4 - 454.2 umol/g Cr.

Asparagine is a non-essential protein amino acid that is present in many fruits and vegetables including asparagus, from which it gets its name. Other dietary sources include meat, potatoes, eggs, nuts, and dairy. It can also be formed from aspartic acid and glutamine using the enzyme asparagine synthetase.

In addition to being a structural component of many proteins, asparagine is also useful to the urea cycle. It acts as a nontoxic carrier of residual ammonia to be eliminated from the body. Asparagine is rapidly converted to aspartic acid by the enzyme asparaginase. Interestingly, L-asparaginase has been successfully used as a chemotherapeutic agent for decades.

It causes extracellular depletion of asparagine which seems to play a critical role in cellular adaptations to glutamine and apoptosis.


- Medicine Io. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2005.

- Garg U, Smith LD. Biomarkers Inborn Errors of Metabolism: Clinical Aspects and Laboratory Determination. Elsevier; 2017.

- Lea PJ, Sodek L, Parry MA, Shewry PR, Halford NG. Asparagine in plants. Ann Applied Biol. 2007;150(1):1-26.

- Chiu M, Taurino G, Bianchi MG, Kilberg MS, Bussolati O. Asparagine Synthetase in Cancer: Beyond Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Front Oncol. 2019;9:1480.

- Zhang J, Fan J, Venneti S, et al. Asparagine plays a critical role in regulating cellular adaptation to glutamine depletion. Molec Cell. 2014;56(2):205-218.

- Heitink-Polle KMJ, Prinsen BHCMT, de Koning TJ, van Hasselt PM, Bierings MB. High incidence of symptomatic hyperammonemia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia receiving pegylated asparaginase. JIMD Repo. 2013;7:103-108.

- Ruzzo EK, Capo-Chichi JM, Ben-Zeev B, et al. Deficiency of asparagine synthetase causes congenital microcephaly and a progressive form of encephalopathy. Neuron. 2013;80(2):429-441.

What does it mean if your Asparagine result is too low?

Lower levels of asparagine can reflect functional need for magnesium in the conversion from aspartic acid.

Overall low amino acids from poor dietary intake or GI malabsorption/maldigestion may result in low levels of arginine. Low levels of its precursors (aspartic acid and glutamine), or enzymatic dysfunction in arginine synthetase can also result in low asparagine levels.

Upregulation of asparaginase may contribute to lower levels of asparagine and rarely can be associated with hyperammonemia.

Depleted levels of arginine due to genetic mutations in asparagine synthetase are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

What does it mean if your Asparagine result is too high?

High dietary protein intake can elevate asparagine levels. Asparagine may also be elevated in hyperammonemia to serve as a reservoir for waste nitrogen.

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