Here is a list beneficial supplements and foods necessary for the following neurotransmitter’s production and utilization:
A few words about neuro-psychiatric drugs. If you are on one or more of these types of medications, do not simply stop taking them and switch over to these natural alternatives. This transition must be done only under medical supervision, as these medications are extremely bio-chemically habituating. Also, while the nutrients mentioned for brain, adrenals and blood sugar health should create no problems and will likely be very beneficial, some of the nutrients and botanicals can function almost like a drug.
These natural alternative should only be taken with the knowledge and guidance of your physician.
The following are botanicals, amino acids and co-factors required for serotonin production and utilization.
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid precursor to serotonin that has been shown to increase serotonin levels, decrease depression and to be effective for nightmares, fibromyalgia, chronic daily headaches, migraines and mood disorders.
- St. John’s Wort has the ability to increase serotonin activity.
- SAMe is a methyl donor in the brain and is a very effective anti-depressant with few side effects.
- Vitamin B6 in the form of Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P) is an essential co-factor in the production of Serotonin. Individuals who consume alcohol on a regular basis have increased risk for P-5-P depletion.
- Vitamin B 12 in the form of Methylcobalamin
- Folic Acid
Iron is essential for the production of serotonin. Iron anemic individuals are typically found to have low serotonin symptoms. Anemia must be managed for proper serotonin production to occur. Since iron can act as a free radical toxin in the body, I don’t recommend taking added iron supplementation unless iron anemia has been medically diagnosed.
Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to serotonin. The brain does not produce tryptophan and is therefore dependent upon peripheral sources and diet to supply it. It is important to note that tryptophan is the most limited amino acid in foods consumed by humans. Supplementation of tryptophan can be helpful, but if a person has blood sugar problems, tryptophan will not be transported effectively to the brain and converted into serotonin. Blood sugar must be managed for proper serotonin production to occur.
Foods richest in Tryptophan include:
- Chicken Breast
- Raw tofu
The following are botanicals, amino acids and co-factors required for dopamine production and utilization.
- Mucuna Pruriens is commonly known as cowhage. Its components include L-Dopa which is converted into dopamine in the brain. It has been demonstrated to have anti-Parkinson influences.
- Beta-Phenylethylamine (PEA) influences endorphins attributed to feeling pleasure, improve attention and relieve depression. Chocolate contains a rich source of PEA.
- Blueberry extract contains a rich and potent source of antioxidants proven effective in free radical quenching of dopamine rich neurons of the CNS.
- D, L-Phenylalanine (DLPA) is an essential amino acid precursor for the production of dopamine. DLPA is effective in managing depression, mood and reducing pain perception.
- N-Acetyl-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor of dopamine.
- Glutathione Cofactors including selenium, lipoic acid and n-acetyl-cysteine are essential nutrients for the synthesis of glutathione that helps protect the neuronal tissue responsible for dopamine production.
- Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxal 5 phosphate)
- Methyl donors such as folic acid and B12 (as methylcobalamin). Deficiencies can stem from hypothyroid conditions, use of oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement, antacid use, decreased levels of hydrochloric acid and h pylori infections.
Foods rich in phenylalanine and tyrosine impact dopamine. These include:
- Valerian Root Extract has been used for centuries as a botanical sedative to manage anxiety, insomnia and restlessness and appears to inhibit GABA catabolism (breakdown).
- Lithium Orotate is a naturally occurring mineral that increases GABA activity and can be used to stabilize mood swings, mania and depression.
- Passion Flower
- L-Theanine is an amino acid found in herbal teas that appears to create relaxation. L-Theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier and raises GABA levels.
- Taurine is an amino acid that is similar in structure to GABA and has anti-anxiety properties. It may be useful in agitation, restlessness, irritability and depression.
Foods rich in glutamic acid and glutamate promote GABA. These include:
- Galantamine is extracted from the Caucasian Snowdrop plant and has been used for decades in Eastern Europe to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain and increase the sensitivity of acetylcholine receptor sites. Galantamine is demonstrated to improve mental and cognitive effects and is a safe and effective way to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- L-Alpha-Glycerylphosphoryl Choline is a form of Choline isolated from lecithin. It is well absorbed and has been shown to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. It significantly improves cognitive functions.
- L-Huperzine A decreases the breakdown of Acetylcholine and can significantly increase levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain.
- L-Acetylcarnitine is very structurally similar to Acetylcholine and is effective in improving cognition.
- Pantothenic Acid has been shown to increase acetylcholine.
- Dietary consumption of choline has a tremendous influence on the production of acetylcholine.