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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

Panic attacks

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)


Panic attacks


Worries and fears

Obsessive thinking and/or behaviors

Being overly controlling

Being a perfectionist

Feeling irritable


Anxiety that worsens in winter


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Sensitive to hot weather

Suicidal ideation


Low self-esteem

Lack of self-confidence

Mood swings related to PMS/menopausal

Fits of rage/anger

Pain syndromes, such as Fibromyalgia, temporomandibular and joint syndromes


G.I. issues

Sleep disturbance or Insomnia

Craving carbs, alcohol or drugs in the afternoon and evening

SYMPTOMS OF LOW CATECHOLAMINES (neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and dopamine)




Poor energy

Poor focus

Lack of drive, poorly motivated

Attention issues

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


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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