Amino Acid/Nutrition Therapy
Looking for a natural, holistic alternative to taking medication for mental health symptoms?
Amino Acid Therapy may be just what you’ve been looking for!
Amino acids are a commonly known as “the building blocks of life.” We need them to survive and for our bodies to function well. While they sound complex, they actually come from dietary protein. So, while our office does specialize in Nutrition and Mental Health specifically, Amino Acid Therapy is in a category of holistic mental health treatment all on its own!
This is because, while we can offer education about how nutrition is often the essential missing link in successful mental health treatment, amino acids work specifically to feed the brain what food cannot in order to avoid or manage mental health symptoms.
What Science Tells Us
Sources like The American Society for Horticultural Science, the Journal of American College of Nutrition, and soil-warrior Gabe Brown in his book “Dirt to Soil” report a reduction in the percentage of nutrition in our food by anywhere between 5-75%! Even the Journal of the American Medical Association determined in 2002 that diet alone can no longer supply adequate amounts of nutrition. This means that our brains remain underfed. Mental health symptoms are the result.
The translation is here that you could eat the perfect diet with no “cheat meals” and your brain still cannot get enough nutrients to the brain to prevent mental health symptoms. This is particularly the case with those with a history of addiction, whose brains have become so depleted of the necessary brain chemicals that they have an even steeper nutritional hill to climb.
How to Use Amino Acids
Given that food is no longer enough, enter amino acids! While a general amino acids solution (recommend by the leaders who are using this intervention successfully in mental health and addiction treatment, such as Julia Ross, the author of The Mood Cure and The Craving Cure, and Dr. Joan Matthews Larson, the author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition) can be helpful, “Amino Acid Therapy” is a targeted treatment with your provider to explore both your symptoms of mental health and how using a specific dosage, frequency, and timing can help you resolve your symptoms and general improve stability. The categories in which we can use Amino Acid Therapy are as follows:
- Serotonin – When this chemical is not optimal, Depression results. The amino acids of 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan can be used to offer improvement in symptoms related to this. And, Melatonin (although not an amino acid itself but is related to the above two amino acids) can also be used in this category to assist with sleep issues.
- Low Blood Sugar – Research suggests that only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy. For the remaining 88% of us, this means challenges with blood sugar stability and the irritability and mood swings that come with being “hangry.” The amino acid L-Glutamine can help provide our brain with the fuel it needs until we can get our next meal and can also be used to eliminate cravings for things like sweets/sugar or even substances like alcohol.
- Endorphins – Having low endorphins is common for those who deal with chronic pain or who have trouble receiving pleasure and joy from things. Two amino acids – DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) and D-Phenylalanine (DPA) – can help with this.
- GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) – GABA is both an amino acid and a neurotransmitter. Both GABA and L-Theanine can be used to manage both daily situational and chronic Anxiety and stress.
- Catecholamines – Being Low on Catecholamines means that we are searching for our next boost of energy (morning energy drink, anyone?). Often this takes the form of sugar addiction, coffee addiction, or chocolate but can be naturally offered with the amino acids of L-Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine.
The best parts about using amino acids as a therapy is that they are in the “Generally Regarded As Safe” (“GRAS”) category, which means that they have little risk of adverse reactions, you know within 1-20 minutes of taking them if they provide you the result you are looking for, and you can get them over the counter and take them as needed! Often people need targeted treatment for a week to several months but, once the brain has been fed in the way it needs to be, their symptoms resolve permanently.
If you would like more information on this simple but powerful intervention for mental health, you can review our Amino Acid Therapy brochure. Additionally, the following are several helpful resources. Don’t forget that you can also contact us for more information or to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with our Certified Nutrition Recovery Coach!