The following material regards the use of amino acids and other natural measures to treat depression. Additionally, it discusses concepts that are often germane to the treatment of a depressive state.
The concepts and approaches suggested in this material certainly do not apply to everyone suffering from depression. However, many of the concepts and approaches discussed below may be germane to many, if not most, persons in a depressed state. These concepts and approaches certainly apply to myself. They have also applied to every one else that I have treated for depression (admittedly only about six persons).
Currently the medical model almost summarily uses various antidepressant medications in to treat depression. Simplistically stated, these medications operate to increase availability of, or the usage of, certain neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and/or dopamine. They do so to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Many orthomolecular and naturopathic practitioners and books extol the use of 5HTP or the amino acid tryptophan to order to increase one’s serotonin level, and the use of the amino acids tyrosine, phenylalanine, or both to increase the dopamine level in the brain. They recommend this for the treatment of depression. Certainly, these amino acids, taken along with the necessary vitamin and mineral cofactors, do exactly as intended, which is to increase serotonin or dopamine in one’s brain. And certainly, doing so often substantially alleviates the symptoms of depression.
The substitution of antidepressants that work on the serotonin or dopamine axis with nutrient precursors that do the same represents “an allopathic conceptual approach” to depression.
However, depression, far more often than not, is not simply a lack of serotonin or dopamine or both. This is true even if raising the levels of one or both of these two key neurotransmitters often brings substantial relief to this state of mental and physical dysfunction.
Depression, far more often than not, is a broad deficiency state across most, if not all, of the entire neurotransmitter range… and there are about 100 known neurotransmitters. Once depression is recognized as such, it is profoundly treatable in an amazingly short time.
Incidentally, stress is often blamed for the onset of a depressive state. This fact skews the real truth here. It is simply the fact that stress is very biochemically depleting, and therefore depression is the end result. A depressed person is just not getting enough nutrients in which to deal effectively with stress as a result of malabsorption, an inadequate diet, or both. A nutrient replete person can deal with a rather inordinate amount of stress, even if this stress is felt on a chronic basis. However, as soon as a person under chronic stress falls short in the nutrient department, depression is the inevitable end result. And despite the same stressors being present, as soon as this same person under great stress becomes nutrient replete again, they are no longer depressed in any degree whatsoever. This I know for a fact as a result of hundreds of informal self trials of inducing and then correcting depression in myself within the past four years, and as the result of a great deal of research and other experience.
In my recovery from manic depression, I began to use tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine in mid 1997, with very substantial and positive mood effect. I initially used tryptophan, taurine, and GABA daily for brain inhibition and to assist with sleep (this regime is very similar to what Julia Ross suggests in her book “The Mood Cure”). I also used the key nutrient combination of 500 mg. of L-carnitine in the morning and phosphatidyl choline throughout the day to slow the spontaneous rate of neuronal firing in my brain, an effect that was very similar to lithium. In addition to this, to treat depression in myself I used both tyrosine alone and/or a tyrosine/phenylalanine combination on a fairly regular basis from May 1997 until February 2000. The use of tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine did substantially help me to alleviate depression in myself, and I learned a great deal from the use of these amino acids…
I later found that just increasing my serotonin and dopamine levels, as helpful as this was to my mood and well being for a few years or so, was a rather weak approach to treating depression in both myself and other persons vs. increasing the levels of all of my neurotransmitters all at once.
One must realize that out of the roughly 100 known neurotransmitters, 99 of them are amino acid based, and the key exception here is acetylcholine. Assuming that all of the vitamin and mineral cofactors are present for all neurotransmitters to be produced, the entire amino acid range, choline (or phosphatidyl choline, It’s more active form), and L-carnitine (an often key accessory nutrient) represents precursor loading of the entire neurotransmitter range, for all ostensible purposes.
In February of 2000, I began to experiment with taking broad based amino acids, rather than simply taking a few individual ones to treat depression in myself. Almost immediately, by a process of trial and error, I found that a mixture of two readily available blends of amino acids, along with added tryptophan, carnitine, phosphatidyl choline, and vitamins B complex and C, would boost me out of any degree of depression that I was in and/or keep me out of depression entirely if I took it in adequate quantity often enough.
Specifically, the two blends of amino acids that I am referring to here are Pure Form 20 and WAC blend from www.jomarlabs.com. After trial and error of a number of Jomar Laboratories blended amino acid products in early 2000, I settled on a 50/50 mix of these two specific blends to affect mood change in myself. These two blends are quite reasonable in cost, reasonable enough for most persons to be able to afford in quantity. Pure Form 20, which is 20 different amino acids, costs only $11.00 for 125 500mg caps, $38.60 for 500 500 mg caps, and $120.60 for 1000 grams (one kilogram) of powder. WAC blend costs only $28.30 for 505 450mg caps. or $88.00 for 1000 grams (one kilogram) of powder. I would commonly get a kilogram of each blend in either powder (the powder does not taste too good… yuck!) or capsule form and take between 30 and 50 grams or more in total of these blends on a daily basis (15 to 25 grams of each blend). To these amino acid blends, I would add some tryptophan, for which I had a prescription, and ALWAYS add carnitine and phosphatidyl choline as well (if I did not add choline I would get a bit of a headache if I took too large a dosage of these two blends). I would also always take vitamins B complex and C at the same time, along with lots of water.
The effect of my using the broad based neurotransmitter precursor approach discussed above on my mood and well being was, and still is, absolutely awesome!, compared to my prior approach of just using tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine in order to effect mood change in myself.
A crucial catch to my taking amino acids and other nutrients orally in order to change my neurotransmitter levels was that I had to be adequately absorptive in my gut for enough nutrients to be absorbed. Being adequately absorptive in the gut is not always the case in a person that is depressed. The reverse here is almost invariably true in myself, i.e. when I have become depressed, I am seriously malabsorptive as well. Depression and a serious degree of malabsorption are nearly synonymous.
As the result of literally hundreds of informal self-trials since late 1997, I have found that the absorptive rate in my intestines could, and often did, vary widely from day to day and week to week, depending on a number of common variables (and I have become very familiar with them all). I have found that a serious degree of malabsorption in myself can be rather readily corrected, once I learned what to do in this regard.
To give the reader a bit better idea here, on a scale of one to ten, I could, and often was, absorbing a degree of “8” one day (good) and a degree of “3” the next (poor), and vice versa. Even a single exposure to a rather small amount of a food that I was allergic to could substantially impair my intestinal absorptive ability for days, assuming that I did not recognize this and intervene. I also learned that if I was bloated in my abdominal area any significant degree, it meant that I was malabsorptive to some degree… and that the more bloated I was, the more malabsorptive I was as well. In addition, I learned that if I was exposed to a lot of allergic food, that I could quite easily get to the point where I could not even absorb water well, much less almost any nutrients at all, until this situation was resolved. And lastly, I learned how to massively correct my nutrient absorptive rate within a matter of hours.
Once I learned how to correct my nutrient absorptive rate within a matter of hours, I could effect absolutely profound change in my mood and well being a handful of hours after this as well, as I could get a high quantity of essential nutrition into my body. I have found that it does not take the brain that long to build a lot of neurotransmitters, once it has adequate nutrient raw material to work with. Even four or five hours can be extremely significant in this regard. Once I put the above concepts together, I realized that I had gained complete and profound control of any and all states of depression in myself, as well as I could avoid such states entirely if I so wished to do so. This is a fact that has been true for over three and a half years. It is also a fact that I fully expect will remain so for the rest of my life, as long as I have access to the supplements discussed here.
I can quite literally correct a state of very severe depression with suicidal ideation in myself within a single day. I have intentionally induced and then corrected such a severe state of depression many dozens of times in myself in the past four years within the timeframe specified. I have also corrected well over a hundred states of serious depression that were simply not severe enough to exhibit suicidal ideation during this same period of time as well. These corrections of depression represent a very profound degree of mood change within amazingly short time. They also represent a degree of mood change that no one else in the world is able to perform as quickly as I can in regard to either them self or anyone else, to the best of my knowledge.
Incidentally, for over four years I have tried to find some party involved medical research anywhere in the world that would take a solid look at what I am doing to treat depression in myself to determine It’s validity, and then determine how applicable what I am doing is in regard to other bipolar persons. As a layman, I am fully aware that my ability to bring forth the many important truths in this document is almost nonexistent. This entire situation is a real shame, for in essence it may mean that a number of truly revolutionary concepts are at a complete standstill in regard to the most effective treatment of a depressed state in the majority of bipolar persons. However, it is my opinion that the seeds of truth represented here will eventually move forward, even if it takes decades in which to do so. These seeds of truth are just much too valid and far too important to be ignored forever, even if their primary discoverer was a layperson that had a history of mental illness.
A number of realizations came about as the result of my performing the above on myself on a repetitive basis over the past four years, as well as my treatment of a few other persons.
One realization that I had, and clearly the most important, was that the human brain is far more protein dependent than most persons realize. Everyone knows that their muscles need protein, but few know that that their brain, as small as it is, probably needs, uses, and uses up more protein that all of their muscles put together, despite the fact that their muscle mass is far greater than their brain mass.
A second realization that I had is that it is often very helpful conceptually to think of a state of depression as just a protein deficient state that has “tripped over to the point of body and brain dysfunction”.
The third realization that I had is that when the above occurs (a state of protein deficiency that has gone too far), it is extremely common for a person to crave “cheat fuels” such as sugar or alcohol, rather than protein, which is what they really need. Cheat fuels only make things worse, not better. Often, just the simple measure of eating a large piece of broiled fish instead of getting that box of ice cream or that bottle of vodka when you first sink into a state of depression represents very powerful and effective chemical intervention. This measure is even much more effective when a powerful digestive enzyme such as DigestEnz is used to assist in the protein breakdown of protein foods. EVERY depressed person should be using such a digestive enzyme at every single meal when they are depressed.
The fourth realization that I had, and one of the many reasons for this post, was that I realized that the common naturopathic approach of using the amino acids of tryptophan (or 5HTP), tyrosine, and phenylalanine to treat depression was a flawed conceptual approach that was probably the result of copying the medical model approach to depression (which is simply monkeying with serotonin and dopamine levels in order to alleviate depression, for the most part).
The fifth realization that I had was that I found that other persons responded to the amino acid blends of Pure Form 20 and WAC in dosages that were often much different than that which I often needed. I found that some depressed persons responded quite well to as little as eight grams total (four grams of each blend) of the two amino acid blends I was using, some responded quite well to fifteen grams total of these blends, and for some persons fifteen grams total was way too much, etc.
The sixth realization that I had was that if these amino acid blends were taken in dosages that were too high for one’s biochemistry at the moment, that they could quite easily become hypomanic or manic on these blends, similar to a bipolar person taking too much tyrosine, phenylalanine, or aspartic acid at once. One ALWAYS needs to “slowly dose up” with these blends, being cautious to not become too manic if they are bipolar (or even if they are “normal”), the same as when they are taking tyrosine or other excitatory amino acids. Another idea that might help here is to add some taurine to these two blends, as taurine is almost always inhibitory, such that the resultant mixture might be more balanced in regard to excitation and inhibition.
The seventh realization that I had in taking these two blends and the additional nutrients that I mentioned, was that the hair on my head grew in both thicker and faster and that the muscles on my arms and legs both grew noticeably and became firmer, despite the fact that I was not exercising at all. These were both unexpected side effects, and most welcome ones.
Protein, in the form of free from amino acids, enormously helps me, both physically and mentally. Protein, in the form of steak, fish, etc. also helps me greatly, but not nearly as much or as fast as free form amino acids do. This appears to be true even though I have recognized and treated a severe deficiency of HCL (stomach acid) in myself. I need, and I take, as many as 20 to 25 625mg. HCL capsules when I eat a large meal, and 7 or 8 capsules of HCL for even a single small can of tuna fish. Digestive enzymes do help my mood and well being when I eat high protein foods as well, due to the fact that they break this protein down better such that it can be absorbed into the body. However, the use of digestive enzymes coupled with eating protein foods does not help me nearly as much as when I am severely depressed as the taking of amino acids as I am suggesting here does.
The eighth realization that I had, a realization that came a bit later than those above, is that it is ALWAYS wise to add fish oil and the other “good oils” to one’s regime when they taking high dosage free form amino acids such as I am suggesting here. Don’t neglect these good oils when you are using amino acids, and try to take some the same day. The brain is 60% fat, and fat is clearly important to its proper function.
The ninth realization that I had is that correcting floral status in the gut is often very helpful, if not sometimes crucial, to the correction of a state of depression, as well as good gut floral status does seem to help me substantially when I eat high protein foods. Adequate good gut bacteria appear to me to play a key role in protein utilization for reasons that are unclear to me at this time (I use the probiotic Primal Defense for this).
The tenth realization that I had is that the repetitive juicing of raw organic non-allergic vegetables ought to always be used to treat a depressive state (and eat some of the fiber as well, don’t throw it all out). Juicing is mineralizing, it is alkalizing, it is “gut healing”, it does not need either digestive enzymes or HCL to help someone tremendously (even if they are in deficient in these secretions), and it contains a powerful array of essential and easily absorbed nutrients.
The eleventh realization that I had is that alternative medicine is close to putting together an intervention for depression that would be so powerful and so fast acting in enough persons that it could revolutionize the treatment of depression worldwide in a matter of a few short years. Unfortunately, they just do not realize this at all yet, despite my stating this to many persons in this movement for the last few years. Alternative medicine did teach me most of the puzzle pieces reflected in this material. Alternative medicine just has not coupled these pieces together well such that they can generate the amazing results that I know from a great deal of experience are possible. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before alternative medicine does couple these puzzle pieces together. As a result of what I know, I am morally obligated to do all that I can for the rest of my life to be a catalyst in this event occurring.
Nothing that I have done (and I have tried much) has done more for me both physically and mentally than adequately correcting my gut absorptive status (within a matter of hours) and taking the free form amino acid blends and the necessary added nutrients that I have mentioned here have done for me, both mood-wise and otherwise, or is even close. These necessary added nutrients I am speaking of here are tryptophan, phosphatidyl choline, carnitine, EFA’s, and the entire vitamin and mineral range for the most part.
Quite obviously, the use of an amino acid such as glutamine can increase one’s intestinal absorptive rate substantially. Therefore some dosage adjustment may need to be made when preceding the use of broad based amino acids an hour or two before with glutamine. The use of glutamine to heal the gut and increase absorption in a person that is depressed is perhaps always wise trial intervention. However, the use of glutamine, as it increases absorption, will cause difficulties if the issue of hidden food allergy has not been properly dealt with. Glutamine can, and often does, result in greater absorption of food allergens, at least temporarily.
Much less obvious than the above, if not quite rarely known, is that the usage of a high dosage bentonite/psyllium/water combination prior to taking glutamine can “unblock” a number of common problematic issues in the intestine within a matter of hours, and thus allow one to substantially increase their nutrient absorption rate as well (assuming the use of such a combination is not contraindicated for some reason). High dosage bentonite/psyllium/water acts as a “gooey sticky plug” that travels down the intestines, cleaning out a number of common problematic issues as it does so. This “gooey sticky plug” can, and does, very effectively remove yeast, many “bad bugs”, undigested food, allergic food residue, excess mucous, etc. from the gut. In the proper dosage for one’s gut size and gut status, high dosage bentonite/psyllium/water is a gut cleansing routine that is unparalleled, in my opinion. However, if there is any bleeding in the stomach or intestines, any ulceration, any serious gut abnormality, any allergy to psyllium, any severe constipation, and/or any stricture (see Bernard Jensen’s “Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management”) in the gut, the use of such a gut cleansing routine may be contraindicated.
When I take a high dose of bentonite/psyllium/water to purge my gut, I know that I am going to need to replace my good bacteria as well. I have found that if I only wait 4 to 6 hours after taking a very high dose of bentonite, etc. that I can take an usually high dose of a good probiotic and experience no serious die off whatsoever, despite the fact I was high in candida and/or bad bacteria before I took this cleansing routine. It took me years of playing with this stuff to really know what I needed to do here, and what dosages, etc. worked well for me.
I have also found that if I waited until the next day before I took a high dose probiotic after gut cleansing, that I would get a pretty serious die off reaction (I reach for high dose vitamin C on a repetitive basis when this happens, and it helps enormously). Apparently, candida and bad bacteria proliferate very quickly in the gut (I once saw a reference stating that candida can double in 20 minutes in the gut, and my feeling here is that bad bacteria can proliferate very quickly as well).
The keys to do the therapy that I am suggesting here effectively are both proper timing and proper dosage of the substances taken, or for someone to at least be in “the right ballpark” in these regards. However, there is some latitude for error here, and this latitude is sometimes quite substantial.
It took me quite some time to work all of the above out in myself. This was because I was in entirely new and uncharted territory in regard to many of the concepts and substances used, as well as the dosages of these substances. The effort I made here was well worth it. I gained a profound degree of control over depression in myself, after having regularly suffered from both depression and severe depression for over thirty-five years. It also appears likely to me that what I am doing to treat depression in myself may ultimately represent a very important breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of depression the world over. And yes, I am fully aware that the aforementioned, despite it most probably being the truth, is perhaps still a decade or two away from being realized, if not longer. This long delay is due in part to the fact that there is very little motivation by the current medical model to replace their current treatment methodology of using anti-depressive medication to treat depression, as well as there is a great deal of fiscal and other motivation for them not to do so. This delay is also due to the fact that there is not anywhere in the world at the current time for a bipolar person “to go be heard by medical research” if and/or when this person discovers something of substantial importance about his or her illness.
I do suggest that if you are a practitioner using amino acids to treat depression, that you consider using ideas similar to that which I suggest here vs. simply just using tyrosine, phenylalanine, or a combination of both to treat depression in a person. In my opinion, simply suggesting tyrosine and phenylalanine for the treatment of depression is quite outdated, despite the fact that it is still recommended by some persons in the alternative health movement. However, this is a very simple approach, and it often gives enough results to get the patient far more interested in using amino acids and other nutrients to correct depression. Perhaps these are its greatest values.
I do suggest using great caution in the beginning in regard to the dosages recommended, as well as getting the patient fully involved in this issue of dosage from day one. The lines “I can give you a great deal of help steering you in the right direction as far as what nutritional substances to use to effect profound mood change in yourself, but only you can determine the proper dosage for your biochemistry” and “dose up slowly, monitoring the effect in yourself, being cautious to not take too much that you become manic” puts the burden of “what is the proper dosage?” on the patient, where it should ALWAYS lie anyway.
I also cannot recommend enough that if you are using excitatory amino acids with your patients that you first assist them in defining an effective inhibitory nutrient regime for themselves before using any excitatory nutrients whatsoever. This takes a huge amount of the risk out of the above excitatory nutrient regime in regard to It’s making someone too manic, as an answer will already be in place for this. This should really be a must. I refuse to teach any person how to use excitatory nutrients until they learn how to use inhibitory ones, ESPECIALLY if they are bipolar.
In addition, I highly suggest that before any practitioner recommends the above to other persons, that they personally experiment with this regime themselves. A single bottle of 500 caps each of Pure Form 20 and WAC blend costs a total of only $66.90 plus shipping, and tryptophan, carnitine, phosphatidyl choline and the other necessary cofactors will not break anyone’s piggy bank. This stuff will not hurt a “normal person”, and it could teach them a great deal about what amino acid therapy is truly all about.
Never forget the two most common causes of recurrent depression in anyone. These are the issues of the likelihood of multiple hidden food allergies and the likelihood of intestinal dysbiosis. Usually when some one has one of these problems, they almost always have the other as well. These two common problematic issues always ought to always be assessed and/or addressed in any person that suffers from either bipolar disorder or recurrent depression. A possible lack of digestive enzymes and stomach acid ought to be always be assessed and/or addressed in this population as well, especially if the person in question is over 40 years of age.
Lastly, I am not representing that a 50/50 mix of Pure Form 20 and WAC blend from www.jomarlabs.com along with added tryptophan is an ideal amino acid blend for the treatment of depression or anything else. It is simply the best and most affordable amino acid mixture that I have found to date, without someone being priced out of the market if they are taking this stuff regularly in the dosages that I am suggesting here. I am quite sure that, at some point in the future, someone is going to develop a better, more balanced, and perhaps equally affordable broad based amino acid mixture for the treatment of depression than that which I have proposed here.
If anyone wishes more specifics on any of the above, please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.