Busy lifestyles and overbooked schedules have led us to a society of worn down individuals looking for the next best energy drink or caffeine buzz. Unfortunately, stimulants and other substances that are supposed to help us feel better and more energized, often times prove to be ineffective and even harmful in the long term. Additionally, our typical modern lifestyle and diet are especially responsible for depleting the B vitamins from our system, which lead to decreased energy levels. Amino acid supplements, coupled with a B complex, are an excellent alternative therapy for treating lack of energy and low moods.
Four amino acids that particularly work to improve energy and mood
L-glutamine supplements are a popular amino acid and useful for treating fatigue and depression. During times of stress, your body uses up mass amounts of glutamine that can easily be replaced with a supplement of L-glutamine to keep you functioning at your best. Glutamine is also highly effective at fighting sugar and starch cravings. Take between 500-1,500 mg up to three times daily. Start with the smaller dose and increase as necessary.
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid which cannot be manufactured by the body. Phenylalanine is used to produce tyrosine (see below), and directly affects mood and energy. Phenylalanine supplements are used to treat fatigue, depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), problems with food cravings and overeating, and chronic pain. In supplemental form, you can use D-phenylalanine, L-phenylalanine, or DL-phenylalanine. The first is especially useful in relieving pain, the second is effective but slightly more stimulating, and the third is a combination of the first two forms. Start with 500 mg, one to three times daily, and gradually increase up to 1,000 mg three times daily if needed. Do not exceed 5,000 mg daily, as this can be toxic.
This amino acid is a precursor of adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for maintaining a sense of well-being and energy, and also for promoting a healthy metabolism and nervous system.Tyrosine [http://www.ediblenature.com/store/Search.aspx?SearchTerms=Tyrosine] also works with iodine to promote thyroid health. Supplemental L-tyrosine is excellent for treating fatigue, low moods, depression, low sex drive and anxiety. Tyrosine and phenylalanine can be used in conjunction. Some people benefit more from one or the other; it’s important to work with both of them to find the right balance for your individual needs. Dosage begins at 500 mg, one to three times daily. Increase dosage as needed, up to 2,000 mg three times daily.
This essential amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is important for providing a feeling of calm and well-being. A deficiency of serotonin can result in depression, anxiety, insomnia, excessive anger and mood swings. Tryptophan supplements are quite effective, and act quickly to help produce optimal levels of serotonin. Take 500-1,000 mg up to three times per day. A bedtime dosage can be helpful for restful sleep.
- Take all amino acids between meals, at least twenty minutes before or ninety minutes after. This prevents these therapeutic aminos from competing for absorption with amino acids obtained from food. Since some amino acids help with food cravings, some clients have found them beneficial for weight control as well.
- Stimulating aminos like tyrosine and phenylalanine compete with relaxing aminos like tryptophan. Because of this, these amino acids should be taken at different times during the day, with at least 30 minutes between them. Most people prefer to take tyrosine and phenylalanine in the morning, mid-morning or early afternoon because of the energizing effect. Tryptophan, on the other hand, can be used successfully for relaxation in the late afternoon, evening or bedtime.
- Take amino acids in capsule or powder form for best absorption
B Complex Vitamins
All of the B vitamins are vital for energy and the production of serotonin (a problem since these nutrients are used up rapidly in times of stress). You can get vitamin B from eating more whole grains, green vegetables and dairy products. A quality vitamin B supplement is also recommended to make up for any dietary deficiencies (especially if you’re not buying organic). It can’t be stressed enough that all of the vitamins in the B complex are equally important. These vitamins work together in a synergistic way. If you don’t have enough of one type of B vitamin, the other kinds will not be able to function effectively.