The brain-body connection is a powerful two-way street. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by our brain that send specific messages that influence our brain and/or our body. Think of them as emails. We send them out and hope that they make it through cyberspace to where they need to go…and that the person we send them to opens our message, reads it and understands it. There are many opportunities for error. The email might not get read, the other person may misunderstand it…one thing’s for sure, if the email isn’t sent in the first place, there’s no way you’re getting a reply.
Apply this analogy to neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, three chemicals that exert great influence over our impulse control, mood, appetite, cravings, anxiety, motivation, focus, pleasure and ability to emotionally manage stress. If these neurotransmitters don’t get “emailed”, their message to calm down, stop eating, and exercise good judgment in regards to food portion size isn’t going to be delivered. This is a classic case of how best intentions can be overridden by brain chemistry. The Catch-22 is that eating high-quality foods, getting regular exercise and sleep are integral components to production and function of these neurotransmitters and proper production and function of these neurotransmitters depends on them in return! Without enough rest, nutritious food and movement, our neurotransmitter production is impaired.
Amino acids are building blocks of both protein and neurotransmitters. Certain amino acids, 5-HTP and L-tyrosine, are directly converted into serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter pathways respectively (GABA and DLPA are important for balancing excitatory/inhibitory stimulation in the brain as well as dopamine and norepinephrine balancing). Unlike hormone pathways that can split off and convert into many possible hormones, the conversion of amino acids into the neurotransmitter pathways is quick and straightforward. You will know within 1-2 hours of taking the amino acids if you are on the right track.
You are a good candidate for amino acids if you are chronically sleep deprived, have mood swings, are protein deficient (via impaired digestion or eat poor quality sources of protein that don’t meat your nutritional demands for higher metabolism of certain amino acids), feel out of control with food choices and portion control, crave sweets, suffer from low energy or lethargy, are easily stressed or quick to anger, or a number of other symptoms. Take this free neurotransmitter questionnaire (scroll to bottom) to get an idea of whether or not you might benefit from amino acid therapy.
Listen to this podcast with Dr. Kalish to learn more about the recent research discoveries made on monitoring neurotransmitters (here’s a sneak peak). It truly is a breakthrough that can help a lot of people balance their brain chemistry to lead happier lives. Dr. Kalish also delves into amino acid dosing and how effective this type of neurotransmitter therapy is…especially when combined with a nutrition program that optimizes the building blocks needed to sustain health.
Contact me if you have questions or comments.