Hello, everybody, my name is talia marcheggiani. I am a naturopathic and I work in Toronto and I focus on mental health and hormones, especially women’s hormones. Today I want to talk to you guys about amino acid therapy and amino acid supplementation in preventing cravings, particularly for substance addictions or sugar addiction, but also for improving our mood and mental health and for treating specific psychiatric conditions.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. If you think of a string of beads, amino acids are the individual beads that get connected in a string and then folded up into the proteins that make up our body. Our body is basically just a hunk of protein and water. And these proteins set the stage for all of the chemical reactions, as well as the structure of our body.
When it comes to addictions and mental health conditions, there’s a lot of debate around what sets the stage for someone to experience addiction, or struggle with addictions throughout their life. And one of the things that gets a lot of blame, that also fits the pharmaceutical model, especially when it comes to depression and the prescription of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is this idea that mental health and addiction is something innate, that we’re born with and that needs.
To be corrected chemically with something like a drug like an ssri. And we know that there’s obviously a genetic component to addictions and mental health and it’s certainly not the fault or moral failing in the person that’s suffering from these kind of things, but we also know that our genes don’t write the entire story of our experience and that, for many people, there’s lifestyle changes that can really influence genetic predispositions.
So a study that was done in rats who had a builtin genetic predisposition to addiction, to cocaine addiction, particularly, because they had a deficiency in a hormone called dopamine, or issues with their dopamine synthesis, and cocaine is a really potent stimulator of dopamine, which is kind of like a pleasure and reward hormone, or neurotransmitter, in our brains. These kinds of rats that were treated with amino acids, they didn’t display addictive.
Behaviours, so they were essentially cured and their genetics were no longer relevant in terms of how they were acting out, or their behaviour, which is really promising because it was just amino acid therapy. So neurotransmitters are hormones that work in our brain; they’re produced and act in the brain. Well, we know now with more research, I mean that’s the traditional definition of neurotransmitter,.
But from more research we’ve found that there’s evidence for the gut producing certain neurotransmitters like serotonin. So you can watch another tutorial where I talk about the gut and how important it is to have a healthy gut when it comes to managing mental health, especially in depression and anxiety. There’s a few neurotransmitters that are really, that really influence our behaviour and our mental health status and so the first one I already mentioned is dopamine, which gives.
Us that sense of reward and gives us a sense of pleasure. So, dopamine is active when you’re doing something that is really internally motivating. You’re engrossed in a task. In terms of addictions, it’s that seeking behaviour. So a lot of people will experience pleasure in seeking out their substance of choice or thinking about indulging in sugar when they get home from work.