Properly Balanced Amino Acid Therapy
It would be very convenient if one could simply correct neurotransmitter imbalances with specific dietary changes. Unfortunately, even though many foods contain amino acids, it is not possible to design a diet where a person can obtain enough amino acids in the correct proportions to significantly increase specific neurotransmitter levels over time. Believe me, we’ve tried this most basic of approaches.Now, based on the work of Dr. Marty Hinz, MD, of NeuroResearch, Inc. as well as my continuing studies with Dr. Daniel Kalish, DC of the Kalish Research Institute, there is a better and effective way to solve this curious problem. However, I'll get to that in a moment.
Why Diet Isn’t Enough
Diet alone can’t make up for specific neurotransmitter imbalances because the uptake of amino acids by the body is not selective: foods contain an array of amino acids and no food contains just the precursors needed to specifically affect only serotonin and/or dopamine. Therefore, when you eat food, your body takes up many different amino acids at random, making it impossible to target just the neurotransmitters we are trying to affect. This is where supplementation can play a pivotal role
Amino acid precursors of serotonin and dopamine have two primary applications. First, proper use of amino acid precursors will keep drugs that work with neurotransmitters from depleting neurotransmitters, thus allowing the drugs to keep functioning as intended. This is the situation when someone is taking a reuptake inhibitor that ‘stops working’. When we provide such a person with balanced amino acid therapy, we give the body what it needs to make the necessary neurotransmitters, which increases neurotransmitter levels. Drugs that work by shuffling around neurotransmitters (such as SSRI, SNRI and other medications) have more neurotransmitter to work with under this scenario so they can appear to start ‘working’ again. In this way, a person can continue to use the medication without fear of further neurotransmitter depletion due to the drug. In this case using amino acid therapy helps the drug do its job more effectively and efficiently.
Amino Acid Therapy Can Be Used to Eliminate the Need For Certain Medications
Proper use of amino acids can also serve as a stand-alone method to manage disorders related to neurotransmitter imbalance. Many people, for one reason or another cannot or will not take certain medications. Most disorders are not due to a drug deficiency; they are due to a nutrient deficiency or improper neurotransmitter function. By supplying the body the nutrients it needs to produce the correct balance of neurotransmitters, we can often restore proper function without the need for medication. In this case, amino acid therapy can provide a viable option to restore optimal neurotransmitter function, effectively eliminating symptoms without the need for medication.
Just What are Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are chemicals manufactured by our bodies that allow our nervous system to function properly. When the body requires a specific function to be carried out, the nerve endings release a specific chemical into the junction box which is called a synapse. This allows the transmission of the desired functional impulse to be carried down the nerve in order to carry out a function required. These chemicals are stored in nerve endings and released when required into the synapse where they transmit the impulse to the next outgoing or efferent nerve from the synapse. These chemicals are then recycled back into the reservoir to be released again on the next impulse. Different neurotransmitters perform different functions in the body. There are 183 currently known neurotransmitters.
The master neurotransmitters are serotonin, and the catecholamine group which consists of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. All of the other neurotransmitters in the body start from the top with the serotonin and the catecholamines. For simplicity in this discussion I will be talking about serotonin and dopamine.
When the serotonin or the dopamine is released into the synapse, and while it is in the synapse, it is subject to being degraded and removed by two enzyme systems that are present in the synapse. One is COMT and the other is MAO. These enzymes reduce the amount of serotonin and dopamine that are present in the system. The serotonin and dopamine that are recycled back into the nerve ending or reservoir is safe and is not subject to degradation at that time.
Various diseases have been shown to be associated with low functional levels of neurotransmitters in the body. The list below indicates various categories of diseases and symptom complexes that have been shown to be repaired or relieved or disappear when the neurotransmitter levels are restored to proper therapeutic levels for that specific patient.
WHAT DISEASES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH NEUROTRANSMITTER DEFICIENCY?
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR THIS TREATMENT?
LOW NEUROTRANSMITTERS IN THE BODY CAUSE OR CONTRIBUTE TO...
- DECREASED LIFE EXPECTANCY
- DIABETES AND ITS COMPLICATIONS
- HEART DISEASE AND ITS COMPLICATIONS
- STROKE INCIDENCE
- SLEEP APNEA
- KNEE PROBLEMS
- BACK PROBLEMS
- INCREASED REHABILITATION TIME
- INCREASED RATE OF INJURIES
- INCREASED GALLSTONES
- FEMALE FERTILITY PROBLEMS
- GYNECOLOGICAL IRREGULARITIES
- GOUTY ARTHRITIS
- HIATAL HERNIA
- HIGH CHOLESTEROL
- INCREASED LUNG INFECTIONS
- INCREASE IN GASTRIC ULCERS
- CHRONIC PAIN
- OTHER DISEASES
- PARKINSON'S DISEASE
- PANIC ATTACKS
- MIGRAINE HEADACHES
- TENSION HEADACHES
- PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)
- MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
- OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER
- INAPPROPRIATE AGGRESSION
- INAPPROPRIATE ANGER
- PSYCHOTIC ILLNESSES
- CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
- ADRENAL FATIGUE/BURNOUT
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
- TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
We do not know for sure what is a low level or high level of the neurotransmitters in the body. What we do know, is that where disease states exist, if we increase the available serotonin and dopamine, in these patients, we can make the disease symptoms go away and we restore proper function.
The pharmaceutical industry and standard medical science have recognized a deficiency status associated with these neurotransmitters and specifically have created a category of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, and Cymbalta) and selective dopamine reuptake inhibitors (Ritalin) designed to prevent the re-uptake of the serotonin and the dopamine into the nerve ending, thereby keeping it in this synapse. This results in a decline in the amount of serotonin and dopamine in the body has these chemicals are subject to enzyme destruction while they remain in the synapse.
Reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin are unable to be restored by giving people serotonin or dopamine because these large molecules will not cross the protective blood brain barrier in the body.
It is necessary to increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine in order to eliminate the various symptoms associated with certain diseases that are listed in the chart.
WHAT ARE WE USING TO RESTORE NEUROTRANSMITTER LEVELS?
What has been learned is that using specific amino acids and balancing the use of these amino acids will enable us to balance the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body. It is necessary to have these neurotransmitter levels balanced, and restored to the functional level. When they are unbalanced, the disease states take place. Using the amino acids enables us to bring in these back into physiological balance, removing the disease state.
By using the amino acids in the fashion that we use them, we are able to take the body from automatic control of the neurotransmitters, to manual control and this enables us to restore the proper balance, overcoming the body deficiency.
WHAT HAS CREATED THE DEFICIENCY STATE THAT WE SUFFER FROM?
Several theories have been advanced as to the need for increasing neurotransmitters. Toxic levels in our bodies of various chemicals, heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and herbicides create damage in the body and this damage also affects nerve fibers. If the nerve is damaged, it will not put out the same output or charge that is needed for correct function. If we increase the amount of neurotransmitters that are available to push through the nerves, we can restore normal function to the nerve, overcoming the damage in restoring normal function.
The amino acids that we use are combinations of 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, L-tyrosine, and Macuna puriens which is L-dopa. We add to this lysine, L-cysteine, folate, and various vitamins all intended to provide the balance for restoring the master neurotransmitters in the body.
Once the serotonin and the dopamine are restored to therapeutic phase 3-level, the rest of the neurotransmitters start the fall in place, and the various disease states disappear.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM TAKING THESE SUPPLEMENTS?
We follow a tried and tested protocol that involves several progressive levels of increasing amino acid dosages. The various pills have different combinations of the same substances enabling us to titrate the most effective dose for each individual patient. The treatment is very individual and specific for you the patient.
Although some people get marvelous results with level 1, or level 2, or level 3, others need to go higher and have modification of their dosages. We use a urine test at that time to check their levels of urinary neurotransmitters and adjust dosages accordingly. The urinary neurotransmitters that are produced and excreted in the urine correlate very well with the body levels that restore the proper function.
In many people when you hit target level it is as if a light switch goes on in your body, and there is an amazing relief of symptoms.
Once you are started on the supplements, it takes three to five days of being consistent with the dosage, taking the pills on time, for the change to occur in a patient. Once five days have gone by and the changes have not occurred, staying at that dosage longer will not effect more improvement. That is why it is necessary for us to see our patients regularly and make adjustments to the dosages each week until we reach that target dosage for each patient. It is also necessary for the patient to take the supplements on a daily basis and not miss doses. If you miss a dose, your levels of neurotransmitters fall below the desired levels again, and the beneficial effects of taking the supplements are lost for that time period. It takes three to five days, again, to reach maximum benefit. With the drop in a dose, you put yourself back three to five days, again, in reaching the ideal level of your neurotransmitters.
HOW MUCH DOES ALL THIS COST?
It depends on how much nutrient YOUR body needs, and how many tests it takes to find your balancing point. Everyone is individual, and I cannot even venture a guess.
What I can tell you is that you’ll need to budget about $200/mo for the nutrients if you are lucky enough to be in that first 30%. If you are part of the other 70%, I can’t predict if you’ll need more, less, or additional nutrients without the urine test results ($190 per test). Most of my patients are able to find their balance with between 3 and 8 tests. The laboratory is working on research with the University of Minnessota, and your test results are used in this research, so if you need 9 or more tests, the laboratory does them without charge (expect to need this level of testing only with the most complex of cases – Parkinson’s patients, those with a history of drug abuse or environmental poisoning, for example).
What is the real good news? Research continues. Just in the last year, it has been found that most patients with severe anxiety and panic attacks are suffering from a severe tyrosine deficiency. It has long been known that the serotonin and dopamine system control GABA and its precursor glutamate. Tyrosine is required for the definitive stabilization of the serotonin and dopamine systems. Management of this deficiency can only be affected with testing and monoamine transporter optimization.
The serotonin and dopamine (catecholamine) systems are powerful and far reaching, directly or indirectly affecting almost every system in the body. Just imagine how good you will feel when these systems are optimized!
To learn more call my office at 303.422.7767 for a FREE 15 minute consultation on the Amino Acid Therapy or ask for a booklet on the latest in neurotransmitter optimization as practiced at our office. The booklet is in a PDF formation and with your email address we will be happy for forward you a copy.