If you are using targeted individual amino acids for anxiety and/or depression and doing well on them, you’ll likely get to the point when you’re asking questions like how to discontinue them and does the right dose ever change or need a tweak, especially after some stressful life events. Amy posted this question in the comments section of the blog on using tyrosine to create a sense of calm energy (paraphrased and formatting for ease of reading)
Trudy you are a God send! I stumbled upon your work after following Julia Ross. I have depression and anxiety. I’m currently taking:
1000 mg tyrosine 2x daily
500 mg glutamine morning, 1000mg mid-morning and afternoon
500mg DPA (Endorphigen) 3 x daily (previously I was using DLPA but your recommended DPA was so much better and less stimulating)
50 mg 5-HTP afternoon and
1500mg tryptophan at night
I used the amino acids to treat what used to be referred to as “atypical” depression: loss of motivation, tiredness, lethargic, intense carb craving, feelings of guilt and hopelessness. I would become paralyzed with depression, barely able to get through the days. When I was younger I treated these episodes with antidepressants but as I got older could no longer tolerate the side effects. I’m also still on birth control pills at the age of 46 and believe I may be in perimenopause but can’t stop the pills for medical reasons.
Tyrosine gave me my energy back, glutamine cut the carb cravings. DPA and True Calm work wonders for my anxiety.
I watch my sugar intake and always consume lots of animal protein. I’m so grateful for this solution.
After trialing this seems to be the right combo. I always get confused when is it time to discontinue supplements? Do you stop or slowly reduce or taper?
Does the “right” dose ever change? I’ve been on this combo about 2 months. I’ve felt great but some anxiety/panic creeping back up …. wondering if supplements need a tweak or is this just the result of some stressful life events. Advice appreciated!
I was really pleased to hear the wonderful results she was having and glad that she had trialed the amino acids to find the correct amount for her unique needs and situation. I don’t see this happening often enough and it really is the most effective way to get results. It’s what I do with all my clients – methodical, step-by-step trialing of each amino acid, one at a time and carefully documenting results (both good and bad) in order to find the optimal dose of each one.
When and how to discontinue the amino acids?
To answer her question about when and how to discontinue this is my feedback:
Once you are feeling back to your old self with no more anxiety, panic attacks or depression, you may choose to stop everything at once, but I prefer to slowly lower the amount of one amino acid at a time and add back if your symptoms come back. They don’t need to be “tapered” but doing it this way it helps with preventing your original anxiety and depression symptoms going back to really bad in one big swoop and having to start all over again.
I will add that I have had feedback from someone saying when she stopped tryptophan abruptly she felt the same withdrawal effects as when she weaned off meds but based on my experience this is very rare.
After posting her question Amy made some adjustments – taking less of all of them. As I mentioned above I find it better to lower the amount of one amino acid at a time – kind of reverse of the trialing method you use when starting the amino acids. Also, since she mentioned she felt anxiety/panic creeping back up, I would have expected her to increase some of the calming amino acids.
Does the right dose ever change or need a tweak?
And to answer Amy’s other question: does the right dose ever change or need a tweak?
Yes, the “right dose” can change based on stressful life events especially if you have pyroluria – stressful life events can cause you to dump more zinc and vitamin B6 affecting serotonin and GABA production and increasing the social anxiety.
Amy does mention that she’s on the birth control pill and this depletes zinc and vitamin B6 and hence serotonin) and has an impact on the microbiome – so this may well be playing a role in the need to tweak doses.
There are many other factors that could lead to the need to adjust the amino acids (or other supplement protocols):
- hormonal changes like PMS, perimenopause or menopause
- something contributing to leaky gut like adding back gluten or accidental exposure to gluten
- antibiotics (affecting the microbiome and serotonin/GABA levels)
- artificial sweeteners (because of their effect on the microbiome and hormones)
- starting on other medications (since many cause nutritional depletions)
- adding in a new food like collagen/gelatin (for some people collagen and gelatin may lower serotonin levels)
- running a marathon (it likely depletes zinc and may ramp up cortisol)
- a formulation changing completely without you knowing (one example is Seriphos – used to lower high cortisol – where the core ingredient changed completely and the labeling stayed the same)
- a product changing from using gelatin to cellulose capsules (this may be problematic if you have SIBO)
- you move into a new home and get mold exposure
- you get a new dog or cat and start using Frontline Plus for fleas (fipronil, the active ingredient, targets GABA receptors and recent research points to increased anxiety, aggressive behavior, memory problems)
- you have started using a sauna (depletion of zinc and other minerals, as well as stirring up toxins)
- your need for serotonin support increases as you head into winter-time (some low serotonin folks are more susceptible to the winter blues)
- a recent course of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (impacts on magnesium and GABA levels and the mitochondria)
- you may no longer need them
This is not a complete list of reasons that could impact you but this will give you an idea of what to start to think about.
Hopefully this shows how important it is to monitor how you’re doing and adjust as needed (either up or down) and think about what is changing in your life.
If you’d like to read about the amino acids products Amy uses – the same ones I recommend and use with clients – you can find them listed on my supplements blog.
We appreciate Amy for allowing me to share her results and posting these questions which are a great learning opportunity for you. She shared this with me:
I hope my “story” is helpful. Keep doing this important work! I work in the behavior health field. My colleagues think this is radical thinking and continue to only support the medical model. I’ve done a lot of my own research and trial and error. I wish there were more-open minded clinicians.
Hopefully with success stories like this, all the nutritional psychiatry research and behavioral health practitioners like Amy who have experienced it first hand and/or with clients/patients and family, we’ll change how mental health care is approached.
Do success stories like this lead you to be more open-minded about anxiety nutrition solutions? Have they worked for you?
And have you found the ideal dose of amino acids and then needed to adjust them up or down based on any of the above? How methodical were you in doing your adjustments?