Archive for the ‘Amino Trivia’ Category

Jul 29th, 2011

Depression – Part 5

The Need for Neurotransmitters

To relay the brain’s electrical messages from one nerve cell to the next, the nerve endings (axons) must secrete neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters carry pain sensations, while other order voluntary muscle movement; some cause excitory emotional responses, others are inhibitory.

The neurotransmitters that govern our excitory emotional responses are called catecholamines – noradrenalin and adrenalin – derived from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Our reactions to everything we encounter – the way we are stirred by a piece of music, angered by an argument, amused by a joke – depend on the body levels of these specific neurotransmitters. Too much or too little of any of these substances will make us under- or overreact, according to stimulus.

(Continued Monday…)

Jul 27th, 2011

Depression – Part 3

Causes & Effects

Depression can occur from an unexpected stressful event in life – the death of someone you love, for example. The sudden and prolonged stress this causes quickly depletes your body of vital nutrients, resulting in fatigue and torpor, to the extent that it might hardly seem worth making the effort of rousing yourself.

When depression lacks and obvious cause, doctors have difficulty treating it and it often becomes chronic. It might be characterized by intense self-hate, apathy, spontaneous crying spells, lack of mental focus, and a craving for solitude. A depressed person may even be bewildered by the ability of others to show enthusiasm for activities and ideas. And because of the sufferer’s indifference to recovery, this condition is often self-perpetuating.

(Continued tomorrow…)

Jul 26th, 2011

Depression – Part 2

We’ve all found ourselves in situations like this, feeling nothing but despondency and blind to the mass of future possibilities. Of course, once the sun comes out, we’ll remember the Frisbee in the trunk, and the world will be fine. Some people, though, continually live in this state. This condition is called a pathological depression. It strips the sufferers of their sense of self-worth and leaves them feeling inadequate and unresponsive. Often their mental disorder leads to physical illness – sometimes suicide.

We’ll look at the specific causes and effects of depression. Then, by seeing which metabolic pathways are involved, we can formulate and amino-based nutritional program that frees the mind from depression’s deadening grasp.

Jul 25th, 2011

Depression – Part 1

Depression is a paradox. Think of it: The most spectacularly able thing know to humanity – your brain – brought low by an overwhelming sense of futility and uselessness, a belief that life is just too difficult. The Healing Research Trust describes classic full-blown depression as “the loss of capacity to enjoy life, combined with a poverty of though and movement.”

Depression is the common cold of mental disorders. One person in a hundred suffers from it right now. And if it has never affected you, there is a better than one-in-eight chance that it will. It’s easy enough to glimpse the numbing effects of depression. Picture yourself on a family outing. It’s a Labor Day weekend, and you’ve driven into the country. But the sky is lead gray, and sleet spatters horizontally across the windshield, reducing everyone to a sense of despondency and lethargy. Conversation is held in bad-tempered monosyllables, and even drawing a face on the fogged window requires a huge effort. You want to drive home, but it just doesn’t seem to matte enough to bother.

(continued tomorrow…)

Jul 21st, 2011

Anxiety – Part 4

The Effects of Anxiety

However irrational the causes of anxiety, you anxiety results from fear: of begin late for work, of public speaking, or of crashing your car. When we are frightened, our bodies elicit the stress response, releasing adrenalin. Heartbeat increases; nostrils dilate; blood is diverted to the heavy muscles; and the high-frequency beta waves in the brain increase, shifting it to a state of greater alertness, watching for danger. And the low-frequency alpha waves associated with the mental tranquility diminish; the mouth becomes dry; secretion of digestive enzymes slows down; and blood is moved away from the intestines.

This rapid change accounts for the familiar sensations of anxiety; the roller-coaster feeling in your stomach, the slight trembling and clumsiness of your muscles as they prepare for action, and the acute alertness (like the person afraid of flying, who notices each subtle change of pitch in the noise of the jet engine).

(continued tomorrow…)

Jul 20th, 2011

Anxiety – Part 3

(Car Crash Example cont.)

The chance of being hit a second time in the same circumstances is almost non-existent. But the point is that the accident has conditioned your mind to fire the stress response whenever a similar situation arises. This sort of unrealistic fear is the source of anxiety. Our lives are full of the conditions that cause it. Perhaps as a child you were punished for sleeping in class, so that whenever you relax you always feel guilty about it. Or you might have once ben bitten by a dog, leaving you terrified of all dogs. Anxiety might even be caused by a quite unrealistic fear, such as the threat of failing a job interview.

Jul 19th, 2011

Anxiety – Part 2

What causes this extreme anxiety response? The best way to find out is by looking at a classic cause of anxiety. Then, once we understand the psychological an mental problems involved, we can formulate an amino acid blend to fight it.


Imagine sitting in your car at the red traffic light of an intersection. The light changes to green. You’ve repeated these actions so often that you release the brake almost unconsciously, ease your foot off the clutch, and press the accelerator. The car moves forward. Suddenly another car, running a red light, slams into your side. You are treated for shock and a few cuts and bruises, but all things considered, you’re lucky to be alive.

A few weeks later you come up to the same intersection. Again the light is red and the memories of the accident come vividly to life: the screech of the brakes, the thundering concussion as the cars hit, tossing you sideways, the breaking glass. Now, instead, of the easy, reflexive way you usually move off, you are acutely conscious of your actions. You realize that it was exactly this chain of event that led to the accident and that every movement you now make is repeating the chain. The light changes and your throat tightens, your palm is sweaty on the gearshift, and your movements are tense and jerky. The car moves off, and you grit your teeth, your senses alert to danger.

(Continued tomorrow…)

Jul 18th, 2011

Anxiety – Part 1

It’s not all in your mind! Stated simply, anxiety is a stress response. Its symptoms – quickened heartbeat; the taut, queasy sensation in the stomach; perspiration; and heightened mental alertness – are all part of an alarm system. Your body is warning you of a stressful situation, and these uncomfortable sensations are caused by its efforts to respond.

This anxiety response is vital. It prepares us for activities that need increased physical or mental effort and even warns us away from others. It is usually short-lived. One person in twenty,  though, suffers from a continual, unreasoning dread that psychiatrists call anxiety neurosis It  can inflict severe physical degeneration on victims and leave them mentally unable to face the demands of life.

(Continued tomorrow…)

Jul 15th, 2011

Stress – Part 10

Reducing Stress

The message of all this is simple. When the metabolic relay from phenylalanine is not flowing as it should, then your body’s response to stress is inadequate. This is a widespread phenomenon in the West, as are its symptoms of fatigue, lowered resistance to illness, depression, and premature agin. The process can, in effect, remove all the sparkle from you life. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that by supplementing your body with the free amino acids, vitamins and minerals needed for the stress response, you often can easily and surprisingly alter your whole experience of life and health. And despite the great complexity of the interrelated metabolic pathways involved, this task is not overwhelmingly difficult. In essence, it involves examining these metabolic pathways, noting the particular substances involved, and supplying them through your diet together with wisely selected nutritional supplementation.

Jul 14th, 2011

Stress – Part 9

Relay Race (cont.)

The starting gun is fired when the parent amino acid, phenylalanine, reacts with an enzyme called phenylalanine-4-monooxygenase. This produces the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine in acted upon in turn by the enzyme tyrosine-hydroxylase and becomes L-dopa, another amino acid. At this stage, vitamin B6 and phosphorus, acting together as cofactors, convert the L-dopa into the catecholamine neurotransmitter dopamine. The complex nature of the whole process is reinforced when you realize that this reaction also requires the presence of adequate magnesium. The nest state is the production of noradrenalin from dopamine. This can occur only when dopamine reacts with vitamin C and copper. Finally, to convert noradrenalin into adrenalin, your body needs the activated form of methionine, s-adenosyl-methoionine.

What does all this mean? That when you’re taking nutrients as a biological support mechanism – either for general health or a specific healing process – it is vitally important to focus on the entire family of nutrients, rather than expecting results from just one or two. If even a single nutrient is in low supply on the stress pathway, the biochemical relay will become sluggish, and the body will suffer by receiving inadequate amounts of adrenalin.

(Continued tomorrow…)