Amino Acids, Anxiety and Depression- A Natural Approach to Understanding Your Symptoms
Did you know that the particular symptoms that you experience if you have anxiety or depression can tell you something about the nutritional deficiencies within your body?
Research shows that anxious and/or depressive symptoms correlate to an interruption or imbalance in the neurotransmitters of the brain. And our state of nutrition certainly affects our brain health.
Along with cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation exercises, there are natural, nutritional means by which we can improve the brain function- specifically speaking here of using amino acids and B vitamins. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein, and B Vitamins are present in many foods. So, conveniently we can be ingest these needed nutrients via food, or supplements if need be.
So how do we go about treating anxiety or depression naturally? First, get a correct diagnosis.
Yes, anxiety comes when we go through a rough patch in life and we get stressed out and worried. And yes, we get depressed with a break-up or loss of a job. But what does it means when sometimes you feel bad for no reason? Sometimes depression and anxiety can be symptoms of an underlying medical issue, like problems with the thyroid, a nutritional deficiency or menopause. So discussing how you feel with your doctor and undergoing blood work should always be the first part of the assessment. Talking with a trained therapist can also provide you proper education and mental health diagnoses. And from here, you can decide between modern medication, or trying a natural approach first. Even if you decide to take medication, you can naturally support your body with therapy, exercise, meditation, spending time in the sun and proper nutrition.
If you long for a nutritional approach, use the symptom checklists below to see if you can determine what natural supplements might be missing from your body, therefore contributing to your specific anxious or depressive feelings.
These symptom checklists point to possible: Low GABA; Low Serotonin; Low Catecholamines; Low Endorphin or Low Blood Sugar.
SYMPTOMS OF LOW GABA (neurotransmitter receptors)
Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious
Fears and worries, even when there’s nothing to worry about
The sense of dread
“Knots” in your stomach
Non-stop unproductive thinking that interferes with sleep
Feeling like you’re going non-stop, but have nothing to show for it
Inability to relax/feeling keyed up
Muscle tension and stiffness
Feeling stressed out or burned-out
Erratic heartbeat or pounding heart
Cravings for alcohol, drugs carbs to relax or feel calm
Low GABA may also fuel depression, migraine headaches, insomnia and fibromyalgia
SYMPTOMS OF LOW SEROTONIN (neurotransmitters)
Worries and fears
Obsessive thinking and/or behaviors
Being overly controlling
Being a perfectionist
Anxiety that worsens in winter
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Sensitive to hot weather
Lack of self-confidence
Mood swings related to PMS/menopausal
Fits of rage/anger
Pain syndromes, such as Fibromyalgia, temporomandibular and joint syndromes
Sleep disturbance or Insomnia
Craving carbs, alcohol or drugs in the afternoon and evening
SYMPTOMS OF LOW CATECHOLAMINES (neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine)
Lack of drive, poorly motivated
Procrastinating and being indecisive
Desiring caffeine, carbs, drugs or alcohol for an energy boost
SYMPTOMS OF LOW ENDORPHINS (the “feel good” hormone)
Heightened sensitivity to both emotional and physical pain
Eating to soothe the mood
Finding extreme joy in certain behaviors, foods, drugs, alcohol
Craving rewards and treats that numb
SYMPTOMS OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Craving starch, sugar or alcohol at any time of day
Feeling irritable and shaky or getting headaches if you go too long between meals
Cravings sweets intensely
Lightheaded if a meal is missed
Eating appears to relieve fatigue
Easy agitated or upset and nervous
The next step will be to do some personal research on how the following could assist you:
*Taking a GABA supporter, like Taurine for low GABA. Eat Taurine rich foods.
*Taking Tryptophan or 5-HTP, and eating Tryptophan rich foods for low serotonin
*Taking DPA (Phenylalanine) or DLPA for low endorphins
*Taking Tyrosine for low catecholamines
*Taking Glutamine for low blood sugar
*Take a sublingual B Complex with any of the approaches above.
After your research, speak with a professional and decide what approach might be best for you. Take into consideration any contraindications between your new regimen and any medications you are already taking. Do not take amino acids for depression if you are taking an anti-depressant. Monitor your blood pressure with your amino acid regimen, and your blood sugar if you are diabetic. Do not take supplements of any type if you are pregnant or breastfeeding without the advice of your doctor.
The effects of amino acids can typically be felt in minutes to days after their initiation. You should know rather quickly if your chosen regimen is working well for you. If the effects are negative, discontinue the approach. You may consider another amino acid approach if you have additional symptoms to explore. Remember, amino acids naturally occur in the proteins we eat, so unless you have specific health issues, trying them briefly should ideally bring you no harm.
Start with lower doses of the amino acids as you begin, and build up to the suggested dosages over a few days. If the approach is working well for you, follow it for about a month, then switch to one week on and one week off. The idea in natural health is support your body’s own functioning, and not just “add” something it doesn’t have.
Reach out with your questions and comments below!
Wishing you health and happiness.
©Lora Coleman 2018
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