amino acids

Food-Mood Connection Trigger #3 – Amino Acids

Years ago I was dealing with some heavy stuff that was causing me to feel less than stellar. In fact, not only did I feel more tired and I wasn’t sleep well. Soon I found myself feeling blue a lot of the time, being more negative instead of my usual positive self. I was soon drinking close to a pot of coffee a day and I wasn’t eating well at, skipping breakfast, not sitting down for lunch, snacking throughout the afternoon and often going for the easy, quick fix dinners like ordering pizza in. By dinner I wasn’t hungry and opted out eating much while my hubby and children ate dinner. I longed for those days when every day felt like a good day. When I talked to my doctor, his automatic response was antidepressants.

My doctor never asked me about my diet. Now whether or not I was clinically depressed, I knew I didn’t want to go on a prescription. I knew I wasn’t taking the best care of myself and I didn’t know then what I knew now. I guess I innately knew that I taking care of my body by eating better had something to do with how I was feeling and way better than the alternative of drugs.*I knew two things, I needed to eat healthier (and reduce my caffeine) if I wanted to feel better physically and that if I felt better physically I feel stronger to deal “the stuff.” So I made sure I was eating a more balanced diet: less junk food, pizza, baked stuff and sweets and replaced it with planned meals that included fresh fruit and vegetables and good protein. It worked. I started sleeping better and felt more energized. Then I noticed I was more optimistic and positive – and I had a happier disposition. And, I dealt with the stuff – and let go!

Back then I didn’t understand the science behind why I could feel better You see, brain depends on neurotransmitters to transmit signals. Neurotransmitters are made of amino acids, which come from protein in our food. Brain is protein dependent. It needs amino acids, which makes up protein, to manufactures these neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters that regulate mood also regulate our appetite. When we become deficient in our neurotransmitters, we start craving carbs and sugars. The more deficient, the more cravings we have for bad carbs such as refined sugar and processed carbohydrates.

If dietary improvement is not enough to relieve the depression and anxiety, and to counteract the cravings for “bad mood foods” such as refined carbs, sugar, corn syrup, fructose-based substances etc., then supplementation may be necessary. This is called amino acid therapy – the process is to identify negative mood and determine which nutrient supplements would be most useful for the symptoms.

Most common reason for depression is serotonin deficiency. Precursor of serotonin is tryptophan, which is the first to be lost in a low calorie diet. It is most common for people who skip meals and addicted to empty calories.

However, not everyone is suitable for amino acid therapy – particularly if you have pre-existing conditions or taking other prescription medication. Never try to self-prescribed – always consult a qualified professional before taking amino acid supplements.

*Note: This article is not meant to treat, diagnose or cure or take the place of the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please consult with your physician or licensed health care provider if you are experiencing mood or emotional issues to determine the best course of action for you.

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