Amino acid therapy for depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction and more
by Mike Bundrant
(NaturalNews) I’ve recently learned a lot about amino acid therapy from the medical director of Ranch Creek Recovery, a holistic drug and alcohol recovery facility located near San Diego, CA. Ranch Creek Recovery offers long-term residential treatment for severe addictions and amino acid therapy plays an important role in their success with patients.
Michael Orian, N.D., heads up the medical team at RCC. It’s refreshing to see an N.D. in charge of treatment, when typical drug rehabs only offer conventional approaches to treatment. Moreover, amino acid therapy may very well represent a breakthrough in the treatment for neurotransmitter imbalance. In a recent interview with him, he revealed the following.
Neurotransmitter imbalances have been linked to several diseases including Parkinson’s, depression, insomnia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety, memory loss, weight gain, and addictive disorders. These neurotransmitters are formed in our bodies from amino acid precursors. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Without the proper levels of these amino acids, we cannot survive, as proteins are responsible for the structure of our cells in addition to their function.
In the conventional management of diseases, such as depression and anxiety disorders, patients are often prescribed medications such as SSRIs (Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft) or SNRIs (Effexor, Pristiq and Cymbalta) to increase circulating levels of neurotransmitters. By increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, they are able to bind to receptors leading to changes in mental function and stabilization of many mood disorders.
There have been deficiencies in several neurotransmitters associated with ADHD including dopamine, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. Once again, conventional treatment of this disorder often involves the administration of a medication that alters transport of these neurotransmitters within the brain such as Adderall and Strattera.
The use of pharmaceutical intervention can be successful in some patients, however, we are all individuals and may not all fit into the same box. Rather then changing the body’s use of amino acids through altered transport, one alternative is to supplement amino acid precursors to neurotransmitters. While amino acid supplementation for the purpose of replenishing neurotransmitters has been a controversial topic in the medical community for many years now, in clinical practice, I have seen dramatic responses to oral amino acid supplementation for some of the above-mentioned diseases.
Typically, amino acids can be obtained through proper diet in a healthy individual. However, in the presence of disease, such as depression or addiction, it may be difficult to obtain proper amino acid levels through diet alone. Therefore, we may need to supplement amino acid precursors in a concentrated form to achieve proper circulating levels that can impact our health.
By supplementing precursor amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine and glutamine, we are feeding our bodies with the building materials needed to make the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA, among others. For this conversion to take place, however, we also need coenzymes and cofactors such as vitamin C, folate, and SAMe which may be safely administered through an IV by a qualified health care professional.
In the context of addiction, particularly to drugs and alcohol, an individual may have severe imbalances in their neurotransmitter levels resulting in symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and jitteriness among others. This is often compounded by overt vitamin and mineral imbalances and poor absorption of nutrients through the intestines, causing problems in the body’s innate ability to form neurotransmitters. By supplementing amino acids along with vitamins, minerals, and coenzymes, we can often reestablish proper levels of circulating neurotransmitters, thus minimizing or potentially eliminating side effects of withdrawal.
Often in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction medications for depression, anxiety, and insomnia are prescribed to quell these symptoms. Through altering brain chemistry these pharmaceuticals can be effective, however, the medicines themselves are affecting the body’s own ability to produce and properly utilize neurotransmitters. By supplementing amino acids and supporting the body’s ability to utilize them through IV nutrition, exercise and adrenal support, we help move the individual closer to a balanced state of health rather then simply suppressing symptoms.