Crucial Amino Acids in Support of Sobriety and Emotional Wellness

L-Tyrosine: This amino acid is used to increase energy, stress resilience and focus by supporting two neurotransmitters, Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Symptoms of Dopamine and Norepinephrine depletion are fatigue, apathetic depression, and ADHD.  This amino acid is indicated when withdrawing from stimulant drugs, such as caffeine, cocaine, and methamphetamines, as well as, alcohol, opiates, and sometimes cannabis. 

5HTP/L-Tryptophan: These amino acids are used to reduce social anxiety, panic and phobias, agitation, obsessive thinking and carbohydrate craving by supporting the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Serotonin is a precursor to Melatonin, which signals the brain to sleep.  Symptoms of Serotonin depletion are insomnia caused by worry and rumination, anxious agitated depression, overwhelming shame, worry, irritability, sugar craving, and SAD. 5HTP and Tryptophan are indicated when withdrawing from alcohol, SSRI’s, cannabis and ecstasy. 

D-Phenylalanine (DPA): A synthetic amino acid, DPA was created to lower the need for morphine in post-operative patients. It is well-researched for its effectiveness in supporting the opioid neuropeptide: Endorphin. Endorphins relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Symptoms of endorphin depletion are addiction to pornography, gambling, shopping; being overly sensitive to physical pain, loneliness and grief. This amino acid is indicated when withdrawing from the opiate family of drugs, cannabis, and alcohol. It is available over-the-counter as DLPA – a combination of DPA and its mirror form, L-Phenylalanine which is a precursor for L-Tyrosine. 

GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid):  GABA is both an amino acid and a neurotransmitter. Symptoms of GABA depletion are muscle tension, anxiety, panic, seizure activity, feeling overwhelmed, being a “highly sensitive person”, and insomnia due to muscle tightness. This amino acid is indicated when withdrawing from benzodiazepine drugs, alcohol and cannabis.  GABA can cause anxiety and agitation in some people when used in amounts over 500 mg at one time, therefore formulas where it is combined with taurine, glycine, inositol and other calming agents are recommended. 

L-Theanine: Another calming amino acid, L-Theanine is especially recommended for people with ADHD who feel overwhelmed. This amino acid has several interesting properties.  It can block Glutamate, Cortisol and Norepinephrine, which may cause anxiety and agitation, while supporting the neurotransmitters, Dopamine, GABA and Serotonin, often leading to calm, focused attention. It can be helpful at night for the type of insomnia caused by high cortisol at bedtime. It is sometimes found as “Sun-theanine”.

L-Glutamine: This amino acid supports energy metabolism in the brain, reducing symptoms of low blood sugar. It is used to reduce cravings for alcohol, sugar, and other addictive substances and behaviors. It also supports liver function and has an anti-inflammatory effect on inflamed or irritated mucosal tissues. It should be taken on an empty stomach, to avoid stomach acid, which changes its function, and degrades its effectiveness. 

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