October 9, 2012
186 Amino Acids & Mood Disorders [9 October 2012]
Customers at my store often ask for certain supplements – usually single amino acids or other neurotransmitter precursors – to help with mood disorders. For example: tryptophan and melatonin for insomnia; theanine and 5-HTP for anxiety; or tyrosine and glutamic acid for depression. These can be effective and safer than pharmaceuticals but still don’t get at the root cause of the problem.
Dr. Jonathan Wright in his website Nutrition and Healing recommends testing for amino acid levels and supplementing with a customized supplement that includes all eight essential aminos. This is preferable to just taking one or two because balance is critical with aminos. Then he takes it a step further and looks for possible causes of amino deficiencies. It may be a diet lacking high quality protein, low stomach acid, insufficient pancreatic enzymes, gluten sensitivity or food allergies. Another possible root cause is dysbiosis – a lack of beneficial bacteria in your intestines (see my column #147 “The Brain-Gut Connection”).
If you think you might benefit from amino acid supplementation, ask your doctor for an amino acid level test. If that is not possible, a compromise would be to take an amino complex along with one or two of the aminos you think would help you. Dr Wright recommends B12 & folic acid supplementation along with the aminos. Betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzymes will help with protein digestion. A good probiotic program will restore beneficial gut flora. A fish oil supplement would be another good addition to your mood enhancement program. For more ideas see my columns #24 “Food & Mood”; #74 “Depression”; #75 “Omega 3s & Depression”; and #167 “Zesty or Tranquil”. These are available from my website (see below). It may take several months for your body to build up the neurotransmitter levels back to normal, so don’t give up too soon.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.