(NaturalNews) Everywhere we look there are advertisements for anti-depressants, stimulants and other substances that are supposed to help us feel better and more energized, but time and again these drugs prove to be ineffective and even harmful in the long term. Amino acid supplements, on the other hand, are an excellent alternative therapy for treating lack of energy and low moods. There are four amino acids that particularly work to improve energy and mood:
Glutamine: L-glutamine supplements are among the most popular amino acid supplements for many reasons. They are useful for treating fatigue and depression. Glutamic acid, which is derived from glutamine, is essential for ideal brain function. During times of stress, your body uses up mass amounts of glutamine that can easily be replaced with a supplement of L-glutamine to keep you functioning at your best. Glutamine is also highly effective at fighting sugar and starch cravings. Take between 500-1,500 mg up to three times daily. Start with the smaller dose and increase as necessary.
Phenylalanine: This is an essential amino acid which cannot be manufactured by the body. Phenylalanine is used to produce tyrosine (see below), and directly affects mood and energy. Phenylalanine supplements are used to treat fatigue, depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), problems with food cravings and overeating, and chronic pain. In supplemental form, you can use D-phenylalanine, L-phenylalanine, or DL-phenylalanine. The first is especially useful in relieving pain, the second is effective but slightly more stimulating, and the third is a combination of the first two forms. Start with 500 mg, one to three times daily, and gradually increase up to 1,000 mg three times daily if needed. Do not exceed 5,000 mg daily, as this can be toxic.
Tryptophan: This essential amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is important for providing a feeling of calm and well-being. A deficiency of serotonin can result in depression, anxiety, insomnia, excessive anger and mood swings. Tryptophan supplements are quite effective, and act quickly to help produce optimal levels of serotonin. Take 500-1,000 mg up to three times per day. A bedtime dosage can be helpful for restful sleep.
Tyrosine: This amino acid is a precursor of adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for maintaining a sense of well-being and energy, and also for promoting a healthy metabolism and nervous system. Tyrosine also works with iodine to promote thyroid health. Supplemental L-tyrosine is excellent for treating fatigue, low moods, depression, low sex drive and anxiety. Tyrosine and phenylalanine can be used in conjunction. Some people benefit more from one or the other; it's important to work with both of them to find the right balance for your individual needs. Dosage begins at 500 mg, one to three times daily. Increase dosage as needed, up to 2,000 mg three times daily.
- Look for free-form amino acids in capsule or powder form to enhance absorption. Tablets are inferior because additives and binders make them more difficult to break down and utilize.
- Take all amino acids between meals, at least twenty minutes before or ninety minutes after. This prevents these therapeutic aminos from competing for absorption with amino acids obtained from food.
- Stimulating aminos like tyrosine and phenylalanine compete with relaxing aminos like tryptophan. Because of this, these amino acids should be taken at different times during the day, with at least 30 minutes between them. Most people prefer to take tyrosine and phenylalanine in the morning, mid-morning or early afternoon because of the energizing effect. Tryptophan, on the other hand, can be used successfully for relaxation in the late afternoon, evening or bedtime.
Balch, Phyllis A. (2006) Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition. Published by Avery Trade.
Ross, Julia. (2000) The Diet Cure. Published by the Penguin Group.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...