Amino Acid Therapy
Amino acids are the small particles that make up protein. When we eat protein rich foods our body breaks down and absorbs these small amino acids. Amino acids are used by our body to make muscle, brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and other important proteins found in our skin, hair and vital organs. Amino acids are also used by every cell in the body to generate energy molecules called ATP. Many people take amino acid supplements or have amino acid IVs administered to improve muscle strength, endurance, tissue repair, mood and energy. In our practice, we repeatedly advise our patients to eat protein to ensure they receive proper levels of all the essential amino acids. However, eating adequate amounts of protein isn’t always enough. People dealing with poor digestion or chronic illness and stress often have difficulty breaking down and assimilating amino acids from food.
There are several health conditions that are associated with amino acid deficiencies and imbalances including depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, memory loss, weight gain, muscle loss, binge eating, addiction, and chronic fatigue. Many of these conditions are associated with altered brain chemistry and an imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine among others. Amino acids along with vitamin cofactors like B6, folate and vitamin C are the essential building blocks to make these very important brain chemical messengers. Many of the medications used to treat depression, anxiety and ADHD also affect this brain chemistry. However, there is an important difference when comparing pharmaceutical treatment to nutritional therapy. Most antidepressant medications only recirculate and re-use your own neurotransmitters. If you are deficient in these neurotransmitters, then re-using these depleted levels over and over can make these medications less effective. Some people find these medications offer temporary relief with less long term benefit. Nutritional amino acid therapy helps the body make more of the neurotransmitters in the brain. People often feel better on this therapy and are pleased to find a healthier, long term solution. In some cases, amino acid therapy can be used along with pharmaceutical medications for added benefit. This should always be done with the guidance of an experienced physician due to potential adverse reactions when these supplements and medications are used together.
There are specialized lab tests that use samples of both urine and blood to evaluate levels of amino acids, vitamins, and neurotransmitters. Our NaturoMedica physicians use these tests to help tailor individualized treatment plans based on each person’s unique needs and symptoms. Some of our favorite amino acid formulas are used to improve tissue repair, muscle strength, mood, sleep and energy.
Amino Acid Products
DaxibeQOL™ (Thorne ): a comprehensive blend of branched-chain and other amino acids to promote lean muscle mass and strength. This lemon flavored powder is lightly sweetened and mixes easily water.
Xymogen i5™: a fructose-free Vegan, non-GMO vegetable based protein with a full complement of amino acids and proprietary immune support nutrients.
5-HTP: an intermediate amino acid that supports healthy serotonin levels in the body associated with the regulation of sleep, mood, appetite, and pain. Unlike other amino acids it can be taken with food without reducing its effectiveness.
PharmaGaba: a major neurotransmitter that decreases perceived stress and promotes relaxation while maintaining mental focus.
Acetyl-l-carnitine: an important amino acid that supports fat metabolism and energy production. It also improves cognitive function and mental health especially for the aging brain.