Amino Acid Therapy for Addiction Management

ADDICTION

Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide both directly and indirectly. While the term “addiction” is used interchangeably for many psychological disorders, physiological addiction is due to chemical imbalances in the brain that affect reward centers.

ADDICTION & AMINO ACIDS

The road to recovery from alcohol and drug abuse is difficult. Patients facing recovery after months or years of alcohol/drug abuse often are unsuccessful or endure multiple relapses due to the long term affects these substances have had on their brain and nervous systems. When substances (alcohol, illegal drugs) are used for an extended period of time, neuronal networks begin to form new connections, creating the physical addiction to the substance.

ABOUT NEUROTRANSMITTERS

The term “brain chemistry” often refers to the chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body. Generally, neurotransmitters can be categorized as either inhibitory or excitatory. Inhibitory neurotransmitters help to regulate mood by decreasing excessive excitatory signaling, and are easily depleted when excitatory neurotransmitters are overabundant. Excitatory neurotransmitters potentiate stimulatory signals sent through the neurons of our body that are integral to learning, memory, and other daily processes.

NEUROTRANSMITTER DESCRIPTIONS

SEROTONIN

is considered the master neurotransmitter. When serotonin is out of range depression, anxiety, worry, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, carbohydrate cravings, PMS, difficulty with pain control, and sleep cycle disturbances can result

DOPAMINE

is known as the focus neurotransmitter. When dopamine (D) is not in the proper ratio relative to serotonin (S), there are typically issues with the person’s ability to focus and memory, such as forgetting where we put our keys or daydreaming.

NOREPINEPHRINE

is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is responsible for stimulatory processes in the body. Concentration and focus are affected when the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated by norepinephrine and epinephrine.

EPINEPHRINE

is converted from norepinephrine, and is an excitatory neurotransmitter involved in the body’s “fight or flight” response. This neurotransmitter regulates brain functions such as metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure. Elevated levels of epinephrine (E) are associated with hyperactivity, anxiety, and low adrenal function. With lower than normal levels of epinephrine, the patient may be experiencing decreased energy, fatigue, depression, insufficient cortisol production, chronic stress, burnout, poor recovery from illness, dizziness, and persistent adrenal stimulation. Long-term over-stimulation of the adrenal glands can cause epinephrine stores to be depleted, resulting in low energy and weight gain.

GABA

is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is often referred to as “nature’s valium-like substance. High excretion levels of GABA indicate excitatory overload, because of the increased demand for GABA to balance the surplus excitatory neurotransmitters (i.e. glutamate). Low GABA levels are associated with adrenal distress and Hypothalamus-Pituitary Axis (HPA) feedback dysfunction.

GLUTAMATE

is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays a major role in learning and memory. When glutamate (Glu) levels are consistently high, it can be an indicator of excitotoxicity (Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia). Elevated glutamate levels are associated with panic attacks, anxiety, excess adrenal function, impulsivity, and depression. Low glutamate levels have been associated with agitation, memory loss, sleeplessness, low energy level, insufficient adrenal function, and depression.

HISTAMINE

is an excitatory neurotransmitter that helps to control our sleep-wake cycle. Elevated excretion values of histamine are typically associated with allergic reactions and inflammation, and may be an indicator of reduced energy production and adrenal dysfunction. Low levels are associated with circadian rhythm disruption, adrenal deficiency, and lethargy.