Neurotransmitter Precursor Therapy
Neurotransmitter Precursor Therapy with Amino Acids, Vitamins and Minerals
The brain is one of the most important organs in the body. It is a very complex organ containing 100 billion nerve cells, also called neurons, with trillions of connections. It weighs about 3 pounds and is made of 50% fat, one of the fattiest organs of the body. The brain is involved in everything you do: how you think, feel and act. It determines your personality and is involved in every decision you make.
Neurotransmitters (NT), made by neurons, are the brain chemicals that allow the nerve cells to communicate with each other and the rest of the body. There are hundreds of different neurotransmitters. Some of the most important are dopamine, glutamate, endorphins, serotonin, gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), histamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine and acetylcholine. Each of these and many others, are biochemical messengers that influence our moods, thoughts, and actions in different intricate ways as part of complex brain physiology.
Scientific research has shown that substance cravings, mood swings, sleep problems, symptoms of mental health disorders, and dysfunctional behaviors are largely driven by biochemical imbalances that disrupt the transmission of neurotransmitter signals.
Under normal circumstances our brain cells are able to use the nutrients from our diet to produce the neurotransmitters required for optimal living. But if there is a shortage of nutrients, or other disruptors that prevent optimal neurotransmission, the brain cells will not function well. Factors that can disrupt adequate neurotransmitter production besides nutrients include hormonal imbalances, complex trauma, stress, environmental toxins, stealth infections such as mold or lyme, and genetic predilections. Drugs and alcohol can interfere with neurotransmitter production and communication via several different mechanisms.
Nutrient deficiencies can result from an inadequate diet, or the insufficiency of stomach acids and enzymes to adequately digest the food or impaired absorption due to problems with the intestinal lining. Drug and alcohol users often have a nutrient poor diet. If these deficiencies are present for a long time, this can lead to shortages in neurotransmitter production, causing mood and behavior changes, resulting in the development of substance use problems to cope and to feel better. Medications, drugs and alcohol can mimic the effects of neurotransmitters, thereby bringing temporary relief of the unwanted moods.
Neurotransmitter precursors are nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids that can increase the production of neurotransmitters. Each neurotransmitter has its own building blocks. We can identify the neurotransmitter deficiency with the presenting symptoms, identified by responses to specific questions.
The research on addiction and the use of brain-targeted nutrients emerged with published studies by Dr. Kenneth Blum in the 1980's. He published research that showed that relief of the addicted brain from cravings that led to relapse was possible with the use of a few individual amino acids.
With our precursor therapy, we aim to increase the production of neurotransmitters that are involved in addictions and mood. We do this by using particular amino acid building blocks.
There are five main neurotransmitters that are involved in drug, alcohol and food addictions. Sufficient amounts of these give us a feeling of wholeness and allows us to function well in daily life. (N.B. There are many other neurotransmitters that are needed for optimal brain function).
Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter of reward, absence of which can manifest as restlessness, depression, and emptiness. When we have sufficient amounts of dopamine, and it is working properly, it gives a sense of well-being, pleasure, and satisfaction. Dopamine is made from the amino acid Tyrosine.
Serotonin is responsible for the feeling of relaxation, and stimulates the production of endorphins. Serotonin is synthesized from its amino acid precursor, Tryptophan.
GABA (Gamma-Amino-Butyric-Acid) reduces anxiety and regulates the production of dopamine. This is a naturally occurring amino acid that also works as a neurotransmitter.
Endorphins relieve physical and emotional pain and are made from several different amino acids. We can use D and L forms of phenylalanine to regulate the amount of endorphins available.
Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that helps to maintain blood sugar and reduce cravings for sugar.
The effects of amino acid precursor therapy is immediate. The vast majority of patients with precursor deficiencies may see results within 20 minutes.