Amino acids are the building blocks of life. They help regulate our thinking, energy, moods, pain, mental functions, digestion, immunity, and more. Deficiencies can cause major problems.
There are 20 amino acids. Nine are known as essential amino acids. They can’t be made by the body and must be obtained from our diet. Nonessential amino acids can be manufactured from within our own cells. Individual amino acids are joined together in sequential chains to form proteins. Protein, the body’s building material, is essential to every cell and makes up our muscles, hair, bones, collagen, and connective tissue.
Essential and nonessential amino acids are involved in every bodily function. They are the raw materials for the reproduction and growth of every cell. Amino acids are in every bone, organ (including the brain), muscle, and most every hormone. Amino acids are also needed to make enzymes.
Enzymes are protein molecules that coordinate thousands of chemical reactions that take place in the body. Enzymes are essential for breaking down and digesting carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Essential Amino Acids
Nonessential Amino Acids
- glutamic acid
- aspartic acid
Results of Amino Acid Deficiencies
- poor immunity
- mental confusion
- chemical sensitivities
- cardiovascular disease
- high blood pressure
- inflammatory disorders
- poor detoxification
Amino acids can be taken as a blend to shore up any underlying nutritional deficiencies. Taken individually, they act like drugs to produce specific reactions. It’s best to take single amino acids on an empty stomach: 30 minutes before or one hour after eating. Individuals with mal-absorption syndrome, irritable bowel, leaky gut, and chronic illnesses are wise to take an amino acid blend in addition to any single amino acids. The Essential Therapeutics CFS/Fibromyalgia formula contains all the essential amino acids.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) treats anxiety. It can be formed from the amino acid glutamine and has a calming effect on the brain similar to Valium and other tranquilizers, but without the side effects. Used in combination with the B vitamins niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) and inositol, GABA can alleviate anxiety and panic attacks. Many of my patients are surprised by the effectiveness of GABA in treating their anxiety and panic attacks. To treat anxiety, start with 500 mg. two–three times daily (or as needed) on an empty stomach. Some individuals may need up to 1,000 mg. two–three times daily.
L-theanine. Found also in green tea, it has a calming effect on the brain. It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and increases the production of GABA. L-theanine also helps boost dopamine. Like GABA supplements, L-theanine doesn’t cause drowsiness. L-theanine has been shown to increase Alpha waves, which are associated meditative states of mind. Individuals taking L-theanine report feeling calm and relaxed. Research with human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates its relaxing effect in approximately 30 to 40 minutes after ingestion. Recommended dose of L-theanine is 100–200 mg. taken as needed, or 2–3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Lysine treats viral outbreaks. As the essential component of all proteins, it plays a major role in soft-tissue formation and repair. A lysine deficiency can cause a person to bruise easily and have a difficult time healing wounds. It is used for treating cold sores and is one of the most important and cost-efficient supplements I prescribe in treating herpes.
Lysine is also one of the most effective therapies for shingles. Cortisone reduces the itching but does nothing to rid the body of the skin lesions. In addition, steroids (such as cortisone) weaken the immune system and can cause further outbreaks. To treat shingles, use the natural antibiotic, antiviral herb echinacea along with 1,000 mg. of lysine and 25,000 IU of vitamin A, daily for two weeks or until the lesions disappear.