Amino acid deficiencies and neurotransmitters

An illustrated silhouette of a person shows multicolored fibers in place of the spinal cord and colorful lights in the brain area.
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The field of neuroscience is growing by leaps and bounds now that technology is advanced enough to pin down the functions of hormones and neurotransmitters. What this means for you is that you can now know what foods to eat and what supplements to take to help lift your depression. Did you know that most depressed people crave the very foods that cause depression, like sugary junk foods or fried foods, thinking that it lifts their spirits? In this section, we will explore how to trick your own brain out of craving the things that are the worst for you.

Amino acids feed the four major neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the messenger nerve chemicals that keep the brain thinking by sending a feeling or thought across a synapse (gap) between two neurons in the brain. Everything you think and feel depends on neurotransmitters! If you don’t include enough amino acids in your diet, an imbalance in these neurotransmitters will be triggered, sending you on an emotional tailspin. Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure demonstrates that some depressed and anxious patients feel better even within ten minutes of taking an amino acid supplement. The book offers personality type quizzes and supplement recommendations based on your particular emotional stressors, and it’s a very good investment in your health.

There are about seventy neurotransmitters, but these four are responsible for your emotional style:


— if you have plenty you feel: confident, flexible, easy-going, positive.
— if you are deficient you feel: obsessive, worried, irritable, sleepless, negative, low self esteem.

Catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenaline)

— if you have plenty you feel: energized, upbeat, alert.
— if you are deficient you feel: a case of the blahs, lethargic.


— if you have plenty you feel: relaxed, stress-free.
— if you are deficient you feel: wired, stressed, overwhelmed.


— if you have plenty you feel: comfort, pleasure, euphoria, love.
— if you are deficient you feel: overly sensitive to emotional hurts, crying often.