Amino acid therapy can be very helpful to everyone struggling to deal with sugar cravings. Sugar cravings can be persistent and often create intense discouragement in people trying unsuccessfully to fight them. However, a variety of simple amino acids, which can be bought over-the-counter at vitamin stores or on-line, often do the trick! How so?
Amino acids are small molecules which make up the protein we eat, such as meat, eggs and fish. They can be found in smaller amounts in other foods as well. When we digest our protein, these amino acids are liberated and go throughout the body, accomplishing various crucial tasks. Some of them very quickly make their way to the brain, and create chemicals called neurotransmitters, when enough vitamins and minerals are floating around. These neurotransmitters (NTs) mediate mood and behavior. When all is well, they give us energy, focus and drive. They calm us down and give us stress resilience. They sooth and comfort us when we are hurting, and they help us sleep.
However, sometimes they don’t work very well! There are several reasons for this. One reason is that they have become very depleted by stress, eating too much sugar, or not eating and optimally digesting enough protein, fruits and vegetables for the raw material needed by the brain to keep making them. When that happens, we get SYMPTOMS and CRAVINGS! Now, some people can get cravings for alcohol, coffee, marijuana or nicotine. Others get cravings for SUGAR! Some of us crave all of it! Why??? Different substances fire (thus further depleting) different NTS, with different effects. Caffeine usually fires norepinephrine and adrenaline, giving us energy and a clearer head. However, sugar, alcohol marijuana and nicotine can fire whichever NT is needed at the time, temporarily providing relief. They are VERSATILE! This is probably the reason they are so universally popular.
So, someone may put a tablespoon of sugar in their coffee for energy (and because it tastes good!). Someone else may find that it soothes a broken heart or comforts the pain of a broken leg. I might have a sweet bedtime snack (or 10!) to help me sleep while you might eat a box of Oreos following a date or a job interview you think went south. It’s the same solution to different problems! What’s nice is that once we recognize which NT system you are trying to fire, or which depleted NT system is creating the craving, you can choose the exactly right amino acid to actually rebuild that system from scratch, not just fire it. Thus, amino acids can bring relief, and turn off a craving within 20 minutes! Amino acids are actually anti-addictive because they are rebuilding the NT systems rather than depleting them, so over time, you can take less and less to get the same effect rather than more and more.
Finally, some sugar cravings come from low blood sugar or going too long without protein and real food. We even have an amino acid for that! It can feed the brain, turn off the craving and buy you time to find real food.
What’s not to love?!?