What are Amino Acids?

Before understanding what amino acid therapy is, it is important to first understand amino acids. Amino acids are molecules that bind together to form protein. As proteins are a complex chain of molecules (amino acids), our bodies break down these proteins and remake the separated molecules into the necessary proteins for the body.

Protein and amino acids are key players that make up the core building blocks of the body. Amino acids have been classified into three different categories; Essential, Nonessential, and Conditional.

What are Essential Amino Acids?

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are what we cannot synthesize within our own bodies, we cannot make them. Some of these amino acids are necessary for our growth and even after we have finished growing, so what does that mean for us?

We cannot make these amino acids ourselves however, we do intake these amino acids through our diet or dietary supplements. There are nine amino acids that make up the essential category including:

  • Phenylalanine
  • Valine
  • Tryptophan
  • Threonine
  • Isoleucine
  • Methionine
  • Histidine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
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What are Nonessential Amino Acids?

Nonessential amino acids are what we can synthesize within our own bodies, in other words, we can make them. We do not rely on the foods we eat to make them. These amino acids include:

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine
  • Selenocysteine
  • Pyrrolysine

What are Conditional Amino Acids?

Conditional amino acids can be considered to be nonessential amino acids. As the name suggests, conditional amino acids are not essential, unless the situation demands it.

Certain conditions such as illness, adolescent growth, stress, or pregnancy lead to a greater demand of acids not being met and a change from nonessential to essential.

How do Amino Acids Work?

Ultimately, amino acids are responsible for the core functions of our bodies. Each amino acid has its own responsibility for helping the body with tasks such as breaking down food, growing or regrowing cells, repairing body tissue, and providing the body with energy.

Our bodies are constantly using amino acids to allow the body to function. According to the National Institute of Health, a lower intake of essential amino acids may result in symptoms of :

  • Vomiting
  • Low appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Can Amino Acid Supplements Help?

Amino Acid Supplements

As mentioned before, dietary supplements help provide us with the amino acids we may be lacking. Dietary supplements come in many different forms such as pills, gummies, and powders.

They can help support amino acid deficiencies that our bodies may be lacking; however, they are not to be confused with medicines. Medicines must first be approved by the FDA before being sold on the market.

Medicines undergo heavy analysis which determines whether a drug should or shouldn’t be sold. These determining factors are centered around the target condition and available treatments, the benefits vs. risks from tested data, and strategies for managing the given risks.

Supplements do not need this same approval to be sold. They must follow the labeling and quality requirements, but they do not need that same analysis to be sold.

Can You Take Too Many Amino Acid Supplements?

Although supplements can help achieve a balance, taking in too many can have a negative effect on health. Our bodies will naturally regulate and remove the excess intake however, these changes can alter regular functions such as energy levels, digestion, or brain functions.

Taking in too many can also be toxic to our bodies. If there is too much of one amino acid in the body, it can create an interference with the other amino acids.

It is important to consult a health professional before starting to intake supplements. A professional will be able to properly determine which amino acids we are lacking and avoid side effects.

What is Amino Acid Therapy?

Amino acid therapy is the supplementation of providing the body with the proper intake of amino acids. Rather than introducing outside chemicals that may change the functions of the brain and body, amino acid therapy supplies the body with needed acids.

Amino acid therapy can be supplemented through specific dietary choices, intravenous (IV), and oral supplements. Each method has its own benefits to better fit an individual’s needs and may even be combined to work in conjunction with each other.

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Amino Acid Therapy and the Brain

According to the National Institute of Health, the brain’s reward center, responsible for the feelings of well-being, houses brain chemicals including serotonin, enkephalins, GABA, and dopamine to produce the “brain reward cascade.”

A loss in this brain chemistry through a reduction in neurotransmitters can lead to brain dysfunction. Mental disorders and drug addiction can affect the intake of precursor amino acids and essential amino acids.

A prescribed dosage can best support an individual’s well-being. As blood vessels transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, the blood-brain barrier isolates the brain from the circulation of nutrients and oxygen.

Being a part of the central nervous system, this is in place as a protective agent for the brain to stop many diseases or toxins from reaching the brain. Though, this protection is not free of cost.

Due to this blood-brain barrier, molecules like large neutral amino acids, and precursor amino acids end up competing with each other to get passage through the barrier and into the brain.

Excess amino acid intake adds to this competing struggle. The surplus of certain amino acids leads to the blockage of other necessary and important amino acids in the brain. Without the proper balance, brain dysfunction is prone to occur.

Who Benefits From Amino Acid Therapy?

Everyone can benefit from proper amino acid intake, however, individuals that improperly regulate and struggle with the synthesis of amino acids in their body can benefit from this specific therapy.

This therapy may benefit individuals with deficiencies, typically relating to mental health disorders. They often face issues with generating the needed proteins to function throughout the day.

Older individuals may also benefit from this therapy. As age begins taking its toll on the body, their ability to properly utilize amino acids drops as well.

Chronic fatigue is more common in older individuals. Without the proper supplementation intake of vitamins and amino acids, the body’s metabolism may struggle with synthesizing necessary proteins for repair and use.

Health conditions such as phenylketonuria, a disorder where the body produces excessive amounts of phenylalanine, can find relief in this treatment. Individuals suffering from phenylketonuria are typically placed under a lifelong low-phenylalanine diet.

This method of dietary treatment allows these individuals to avoid phenylalanine overproduction. An amino acid therapy, with the use of large neutral amino acids, was introduced alongside a low-protein diet as an improved method for nutritional intake.

Older individuals may also find amino acid therapy to be beneficial and allow them to reclaim certain lost bodily problems and engage in healthy aging. As the body gets older, the body loses its prime abilities for certain actions.

Sarcopenia is another health condition, determined to be age-related, that shows a decline in muscle strength, fatigue, chronic illness, and many bodily functions.

Vitamins can help older individuals maintain optimal health levels and avoid age-related health diseases. Vitamin C and vitamin E are known to improve immunity in individuals.

Substance Use Disorders and Drug Addiction

A substance use disorder is a mental disorder that affects an individual’s brain and behavior. This results in their inability to control their use of certain substances such as alcohol, marijuana, or medications.

Individuals with substance use disorders struggle with dopaminergic function. Drug use alters many functions of the body including brain chemistry. A core part of addictive behaviors is reinforced by the release of dopamine in the brain.

Substance use disorders usually result in addiction through improper methods of coping. Dopamine release is the main factor reinforcing the addiction behavior as it is labeled as the pleasure molecule.

The forced release of dopamine leads to a dopamine-deficient body making regular everyday tasks appear less satisfactory or rewarding than substance use.

Individuals may find trouble going about their days without the help of drugs. Without the substance, individuals may experience withdrawal leading them back to the substance.

As drawbacks of substance use disorders vary from drug to drug, amino acid therapy helps the body naturally provide amino acid deficiencies.

The natural production of brain chemicals makes for healthy brain chemistry and helps individuals lead a satisfying life.

Mental Health Disorders

According to the National Library of Medicine, about ¼ of the population struggles with mental health disorders. These individuals are given prescription drugs to help them properly function while managing their disorder.

Prescribed medications, such as antidepressants, can cause the downregulation of important neurotransmitters. This regulation, over long-term use, typically leads to a decline in the effectiveness of the neurotransmitter.

Instead of using medications that cause undesirable side effects, amino acid therapy supports the brain’s neurotransmitter synthesis by providing the body with the lacking amino acid precursors and large neutral amino acids.

The neurotransmitter serotonin is affected by certain medications like antidepressant medication. Therapy can help maintain healthy serotonin levels. The medications can adjust hormones within the body.

Mental Health Disorders

These medicines often carry symptoms that drive these individuals to seek medications or even street drugs, such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Suppression or altering of mood
  • Memory loss
  • Reduced emotions
  • Nausea
  • Sexual inhibition
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constipation


It can be immensely difficult for individuals to manage as they face issues in appetite, weight management, stress, anxiety, and depression. Using these medications has allowed them to function but at the cost of certain parts of their bodies.

To better help treat patients with mental health, amino acid therapy supports the body’s natural synthesis of neurotransmitters. The treatment can help with maintaining proper brain functions such as healthy serotonin levels.

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Find Amino Acid Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Your body’s health is one of the most important factors in maintaining a satisfying and enjoyable life. Amino acid therapy supports revitalizing your body. At Find Addiction Rehabs, we offer confidential help with finding all treatment options, including amino therapy.

We hope this article provided help with understanding amino acid therapy. Call now to find top centers that employ amino acid therapy and other evidence-based practices to give you the best possible chances at long-term recovery.

Our hotline is available 24/7 and we can help find the therapies or treatments that are right for you. Whether for you or a loved one, reach out now and get the resources you need to recover!