Monday, September 27, 2010
Reverse Anxiety and Depression With Orthomolecular Medicine
Certain amino acids along with certain B vitamins and minerals produce the neurotransmitters. The amino acid tryptophan turns into serotonin. The amino acid phenylalanine turns into epinephrine. Amino acids are the raw nutrients needed to manufacture the neurotransmitters, which regulate our moods.
Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that help relay electrical messages from one nerve cell to another. Neurotransmitters are produced from the amino acids in the foods we eat. Amino acids join together in different patterns to form a protein. Eating a protein rich food allows us to replenish our ongoing demand for the essential amino acids.
What do neurotransmitters do?
Neurotransmitters help regulate pain, reduce anxiety, and promote happiness, initiate deep sleep, boost energy, and mental clarity.
The neurotransmitters that cause excitatory reactions are known as catecholamines. Catecholamines, epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline) are derived from the amino acid phenylalanine.
Inhibitory or relaxing neurotransmitters include serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). The neurotransmitter serotonin is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. GABA is produced from the amino aid glutamine.
The most popular antidepressant drugs are known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). SSRI’s including the drugs Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Zoloft are supposed to help the brain re-uptake the serotonin it produces. It is analogous to using a gasoline additive to help your car get more mileage out of the gasoline in your tank.
Unfortunately, many of the individuals who suffer from mood disorders, don’t have any serotonin in their brains to re-uptake. A gasoline additive poured into an empty gasoline tank doesn’t help much, if at all.
Brain Function Questionnaire
Over the years I’ve used various questionnaires or tests to determine which amino acids needed to be recommended. I’ve been using the questionnaire below and have found it provides a quick and accurate assessment tool to diagnose a person’s brain chemistry.
If three or more of these descriptions apply to your present feelings, you are probably part of the “S” group:
• It’s hard for you to go to sleep.
• You can’t stay asleep.
• You often find yourself irritable.
• Your emotions often lack rationality.
• You occasionally experience unexplained tears.
• Noise bothers you more than it used to; it seems louder than normal.
• You flare up at others more easily than you used to; you experience unprovoked anger.
• You feel depressed much of the time.
• You find you are more susceptible to pain.
• You prefer to be left alone.
Serotonin is a hypothalamus neurotransmitter necessary for sleep. A lack of serotonin causes difficulty in getting to sleep as well as staying asleep. It is often this lack of sleep that causes the symptoms mentioned above.
Serotonin levels can easily be raised by supplementing with the essential amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP), a form of tryptophan.
The “G” Group
If three or more of these descriptions apply to your present feelings, you are probably part of the “G” group:
• You often feel anxious for no reason.
• You sometimes feel “free-floating” anxiety.
• You frequently feel “edgy,” and it’s difficult to relax.
• You often feel a “knot” in your stomach.
• Falling asleep is sometimes difficult.
• It’s hard to turn your mind off when you want to relax.
• You occasionally experience feelings of panic for no reason.
• You often use alcohol or other sedatives to calm down.
The “G” group symptoms are from the absence of the neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is an important neurotransmitter involved in
regulating mood and mental clarity. Tranquilizers (benzodiazepines) used to treat anxiety and panic disorders work by increasing GABA.
I recommend my patients use Essential Therapeutics Gabatol an all-natural brain calming formula that boosts GABA levels.
The “N” Group
If three or more of these descriptions apply to your present feelings, you are probably part of the “N” group:
• You suffer from a lack of energy.
• You often find it difficult to “get going.”
• You suffer from decreased drive.
• You often start projects and then don’t finish them.
• You frequently feel a need to sleep or “hibernate.”
• You feel depressed a good deal of the time.
• You occasionally feel paranoid.
• Your survival seems threatened.
• You are bored a great deal of the time.
The neurotransmitter norepinephrine, when released in the brain, causes feelings of arousal, energy, and drive. On the other hand, a short supply of it will cause feelings of a lack of ambition, drive, and/or energy. A deficiency can even cause depression, paranoia, and feelings of apathy.
The amino acid SAMe can quickly boost norepinephrine levels.