DPA (d-phenylalanine) is an amino acid that destroys the enzyme that breaks down endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that you experience with an endorphin rush when you go for a run or when someone gives you a big hug, when you show kindness to someone or an individual does something nice for you.
Taking the amino acid, DPA, as a supplement helps to raise your endorphins and helps when you feel weepy and overly emotional AND reduces the need to self-medicate with treats as a reward or for comfort. This amino acid is a favorite with so many of my clients and community because it makes them feel so lovely.
My recommendation has always been to chew the DPA capsule for the best effects and to get results quickly (in 2-5 minutes) but I’ve now changed my recommendation. Instead of chewing the whole capsule I now recommend opening the capsule into your mouth.
New DPA recommendation – open the capsule instead of chewing it
I’ve updated the Antianxiety Food Solution Amino Acid and Pyroluria Supplements blog as follows:
When it was in a gelatin capsule, the warmth of the mouth dissolved the gelatin and you could eat the capsule together with the DPA. With the cellulose capsule, chewing it leas to much of the DPA getting partially stuck in the chewed capsule, which is not very pleasant to chew and swallow. The DPA is simply much more palatable and effective when it’s opened up into the mouth, rather than chewed. There is one caveat – the taste of the DPA itself – but if you’ve been chewing it you’ll be fine opening the capsule going forward.
My favorite DPA product is Lidtke Endorphigen. It contains 500mg and a tiny amount of vitamin B2 and vitamin B6.
You’ll notice the bottle says: “Maintain healthy endorphin levels to ease minor pain.” Physical pain relief is one of the side-benefits of DPA, but you could easily replace this statement.
Results for weepiness and a deep heart-ache, and the taste of DPA
Missy shares how DPA helps her deep heart-ache sort of feeling:
I have found I was using this product incorrectly. If you are feeling fine, you do not feel much of anything from it. But today I was weepy and felt that deep, heart-ache sort of feeling. I chewed 1000 mgs (2 capsules) and it DID help lift that awful feeling within 15 minutes.
Notice that she said if you’re feeling fine you don’t feel much at all. This is true of all the amino acids – they only make a difference when you need them.
Missy chewed the capsule but with the new cellulose capsule it’s much more palatable when it’s opened up into the mouth. She also reported what about half my clients say:
Tastes like slightly bitter dark chocolate. 🙂
The remainder of my clients don’t like the taste at all, although many say the taste grows on them. I’ve always been in the dark chocolate camp and find it quite pleasant tasting.
If you have a really hard time with the taste of the DPA, you can mix it with a small amount of GABA powder (assuming low GABA is also an issue) or inositol powder (if low serotonin and obsessions and ruminations are also an issue) as both of these are naturally quite sweet.
Results for a compulsive desire for food
Nanner finds that opening a capsule into her mouth gets rid of the compulsive desire for food:
It really helps! Whenever I notice I am opening cupboards when I cannot possibly be really hungry, I open one capsule and pour it into my mouth, let it dissolve. I like the taste! The compulsive desire for food goes away, and I am able to re-focus my attention and get on with my day. Amazing! Now, I just need to form a new habit and remember to DO IT!!! Lol
Take note how quickly this works for her. She is actually opening cupboards and on the prowl for a treat or reward, recognizes this and has some DPA and viola, she no longer needs the sweet comfort she was seeking. In an ideal world she would be taking DPA a few times a day until she has good levels of endorphins. In this instance there would be no cupboard prowling. But as you can see, it can be used on-demand with excellent results.
DPA, glutamine, GABA, tryptophan (or 5-HTP) and tyrosine are ALL powerful for eliminating sugar cravings – is it low endorphins?
The individual amino acids DPA, glutamine, GABA, tryptophan (or 5-HTP) and tyrosine are ALL powerful for eliminating sugar cravings, often within 5 minutes. It seems that this wonderful benefit – over and above the anxiety-reducing and mood-boosting benefits – is often overlooked or poorly understood.
If you’re not certain if your cravings are comfort/reward cravings the best way to figure it which neurotransmitter deficiency is affecting your sugar cravings is to do the amino acid mood questionnaire and also review the list on this blog for further clarification: The individual amino acids glutamine, GABA, tryptophan (or 5-HTP), DPA and tyrosine are powerful for eliminating sugar cravings, often within 5 minutes
The big clue with low endorphins is that you may also feel weepy, overly emotional and sometimes experience physical pain. The emotional connection to the treat – be it chocolate or ice-cream or cookies – feels very real and very strong too and you can’t imagine having to give up this treat you clearly deserve.
Resources for you related to this blog
Here is one paper, which discusses how DPA inhibits or breaks down enkephalins (endorphins are closely related compounds) and as a result helps with depression and pain, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. This paper, discusses beta-endorphins and the reward mechanism and how they can induce euphoria, reduce pain and ease addictions and distress. Despite that fact that this is discussed in the context of drugs and alcohol, more and more research is showing parallels between drug and food cravings.
Here is the amino acid questionnaire
You can find the DPA and other amino acid products I use with my clients here.
As always, thanks for sharing your feedback and questions on my facebook page and in all the blog comments. It allows me to write blogs like this and share your own feedback and experiences.
I have to say that I agree with Sandra’s sentiments and so do most of my clients:
Honestly I think the whole world needs this!
Do let us know if DPA has helped you with reducing weepiness, comfort/reward eating?
Has it also helped with easing physical pain too?
And have you noticed DPA works best when opened up onto your tongue? And are you in the dark chocolate camp and find it quite pleasant tasting?
Additional Anxiety Resources