Today I’m reviewing DPA (or d-phenylalanine) for weepiness, pain and comfort and reward eating. This amino acid is a favorite with so many of my clients because it helps with the above by boosting your endorphins and when you open a capsule onto your tongue you feel like you just got a big hug. It’s a really good feeling!
I’m also sharing some additional resources for you on DPA.
DPA and endorphins
DPA 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 someone does something nice for you. Taking the amino acid, DPA, helps to raise your endorphins.
Low endorphins and weepiness
With low endorphins you’re very weepy. You may be overly emotional. If you watched a TV ad or you watched a really sad movie, you may be more prone to crying than the average person.
It’s also known as the break-up pill and is very helpful when going through a relationship split.
It’s also extremely helpful after a stressful event. I spoke with a friend who was impacted by Hurricane Harvey and recommended DPA for the weepiness she was starting to feel a few days after the clean-up efforts. It’s one of the amino acids I recommend in my blog: Nutrition solutions for psychological stress after a natural disaster
Low endorphins and pain
As well as being sensitive to emotional pain (the crying and the weepiness), you also tend to be sensitive to physical pain when endorphins are low.
We know acupuncture raises your endorphin levels and eases pain. Using DPA helps physical pain in a similar way. Pain can be caused by low GABA and low serotonin, an inflammatory diet, a high oxalate diet or nightshades, something physical like a fall, osteoarthritis or an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis. If there is also a low endorphin aspect to your pain, DPA can provide some pain reduction.
Low endorphins and comfort/reward eating
Another symptom of low endorphins is comfort/reward eating. You may relate to the term emotional eating. It often goes like this: “This is my reward. This is my treat. I absolutely deserve it.”
And when you consume those carbohydrates – that bowl of ice cream, that bowl of cereal, that chocolate chip cookie, that chocolate cup-cake – you feel like “this is my reward, this comforts me.” When you use DPA you can literally take it or leave it. Really!
DPA is one of the amino acids that help you easily quit sugar without having to use massive willpower and without feeling deprived. The best way to figure it out is to do the amino acid mood questionnaire
Here is a summary to help you figure out which brain chemistry imbalance is driving your sugar cravings (and mood issues):
- if you have to eat sugar when you haven’t eaten in awhile it’s likely low blood sugar and glutamine on the tongue stops the sugar desire on the spot
- if you stress-eat your sugar cravings are likely due to low GABA, and GABA will stop the stress-eating and calm you down
- if you eat sugar or carbs to feel happy (and especially from late afternoon onwards) then your sugar cravings are likely due to low serotonin, and tryptophan stops the cravings and boosts mood and reduces anxiety
- if you eat sugar for an energy boost then it’s likely due to low catecholamines and tyrosine will stop those cravings and give you a mood and energy boost
- if you are a comfort-eater or big emotional eater, then it’s likely due to low endorphins and DPA will stop that “I deserve-it-reward-eating” and also give you a hug-like mood boost
And remember it’s not unusual to need to address all areas. You can have low GABA anxiety and low endorphins too and low blood sugar. If this is the case I have my clients address one at a time.
If addressing low endorphins helps reduce or eliminate the reward eating and helps you eat less or no sugar it means less impact on your adrenals and more even blood sugar levels and therefore less anxiety too.
As with all the amino acids, when using DPA:
- Start low (500mg is a typical starting dose) and increase as needed.
- Do a trial to determine if the emotional eating is due to low endorphins. I always do this with clients before starting any amino acid. Be sure to read how to do an amino acid trial. It has the amino acid questionnaire, the precautions and information on how to use targeted individual amino acids.
- Take between meals and away from protein for the best effects
This blog post is part of the series of amino acid product reviews:
- Tryptophan for low serotonin (worry-in-the-head anxiety)
- GABA for low GABA symptoms (physical anxiety)
- Glutamine for calming, intense sugar cravings, gut healing and low blood sugar
- Tyrosine for focus, motivation, energy, a good mood and possibly even anxiety
The resources in this blog and my other articles are intended to be used in conjunction with my book: The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings. If you do not have my book I highly recommend getting it and reading it before jumping in and taking the amino acid supplements:
There is a complete chapter on the amino acids and one for pyroluria, plus information on real whole food, sugar and blood sugar, gluten, digestion and much more.
The Lidtke Endorphigen 500mg product is the one I recommend. You can find this DPA product and the others I recommend on this blog: The Antianxiety Food Solution Amino Acid and Pyroluria Supplements.
Update Feb 20, 2020:
DPA is one of my top products that I recommend. I do find it much more effective than DPLA (for endorphin boosting) so I no longer recommend or use DLPA.
I used to recommend simply chewing the capsule to get the quickest and best effects and this worked well when this product was produced in a gelatin capsule. Now it’s made with a cellulose capsule and chewing doesn’t work at all well so opening the capsule (or just biting off the top) and tipping the powder into your mouth works well.
It does taste quite pleasant – some of my clients think it has a dark chocolate-like taste. A few people don’t like the taste at all but even then, it is still very effective when low endorphins are an issue.
I’d love to hear if DPA has worked for you and how it’s helped?
If you have questions please post them below or on the supplements blog