Medications and Amino Acid Therapy

Many people are on medications that alter, mimic or in some way manipulate neurotransmitter levels in the body. These include stimulants, such as amphetamines (i.e., methamphetamine, “speed”, Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine), ecstasy (MDMA), cocaine, and methylphenidate (i.e., Ritalin, Concerta); norepinephrine-reuptake inhibitors (i.e., Strattera, Edronax); norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (i.e., Wellbutrin, Zyman); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (i.e., Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Luvox); triptans (i.e., Imitrex, Maxalt, Amerge, Zomig); sleep aids (i.e., Ambien, Lunesta); barbiturates (i.e., phenobarbital, Fioricet); benzodiazepines (i.e., Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Lorazepam); MAO inhibitors (i.e., Azilect, selegiline, Nardil, Morplan); COMT inhibitors (i.e., Comtan, Tasmar); and carbidopa/levodopa (i.e., Sinamet, Rytary, Stalevo). While these medications may exacerbate or cause neurotransmitter imbalances in the body, most can be safely used along with amino acid therapy to achieve optimal neurotransmitter function. (more…)

The Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Neurotransmitter (Dys)Function

Close up of sugar and sweetener packets

Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener. Since its discovery in 1965, it has been used in thousands of food products as a non-caloric sweetener. Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). However, aspartame is not the only artificial sweetener found in foods; others include saccharin, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. More than 6000 new products that contain artificial sweeteners were launched in the United States between 1999 and 2004, including soft drinks, baby food, Pedialyte, frozen foods, chewing gum and many (many) foods aimed at weight loss and blood sugar management (see other posts on the effects of artificial sweeteners and blood sugar and weight gain). (more…)

How can I find a provider near me that uses amino acid therapy?

We get requests everyday from people looking for a practitioner in their area that uses amino acid therapy. The best place to start is to contact NeuroResearch at www.neurosupport.com and ask them if there is anyone near you that has taken a training with Marty Hinz, MD in your area; they have the most complete list of providers in the country and should be able to find someone you can contact. (more…)

The Real Power of 5-HTP and L-Dopa

Amino acid therapy involves the determination and administration of the amino acids and cofactors needed to optimize neurotransmitter function. In the vast majority of cases, this involves trying to optimize the function of the “centrally acting monoamines” which include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. The centrally acting monoamines are synthesized from nutrients, including L-tryptophan, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine and L-dopa. These centrally acting monoamines form a system in which serotonin and the catecholamines (which include dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) oppose one another; in  other words, optimizing the function of the centrally acting monoamines involves more than just giving ‘more’ of one precursor or the other; it also involves getting the balance right between them. (more…)

The Biochemistry Behind Amino Acid Therapy – Part 2

Our first post in this series established the role that transporters play in establishing optimal neurotransmitter synthesis, metabolism and reuptake. Again, based on the work of Marty Hinz, MD, Alvin Stein, MD and Thomas Uncini, MD, the Organic Cation Transporter Type 2 (OCT-2) seems to be the dominant transport system with regards to serotonin and the catecholamines (to learn more, please read The dual-gate lumen model of renal monoamine transport and  APRESS: apical regulatory super system, serotonin,and dopamine interaction). Let’s learn a bit more how and why these gates work and how we can optimize their function using amino acid therapy. (more…)