Sunday, July 02, 2006

Could Amino Acids Provide a Natural Remedy for Panic and Agoraphobia?

Natural Treatments Offer New Hope to Relieve Depression and Anxiety

by John Salerno, PH.D. and Lauren Salani (originally posted by Asbury Press, 6/15/06).

(Note: I have included this article because an imbalance in neurotransmitters, as discussed below, plays a role in the development of anxiety and agoraphobia).

Medical research has shown that fast foods, fast-lane living, inadequate sleep and genetics significantly affect the brain's ability to keep levels of neurotransmitters in adequate supply and balance.

Neurotransmitters, in specific amounts, are vitally important because they are the substances that create our moods, define our behavior, and establish the state of our overall health.

You may have heard some of their names. Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, GABA, Dopamine, Histamine and PEA are a few neurotransmitters with excitatory or inhibitory effects.
The brain extends communication to the organs of the body through nerve cells that "talk" with these substances.

The brain tells the heart to beat, the gastrointestinal system to digest, and the lungs to breathe.
Thus, the list of clinical conditions that could arise from neurotransmitter levels either being insufficient or exorbitantly high is extensive and includes both mental and physical health.

Addressing neurotransmitter imbalances may be the key to getting illness under control. The following is a list of commonly occurring neurotransmitter imbalance symptoms:

— Fatigue
— Chronic muscle and joint pain
— Inappropriate food cravings
— Irritability/hostility
— Inability to focus/concentrate
— Depression or agitation
— Excessive body fat
— Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
— Sleep disturbances
— Physical and emotional stress
— Recurrent diarrhea/constipation
— Headache/migraine

Many people are being treated with medications that either alter neurotransmitter release or imitate their function in the body.

Some medications such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft act to increase the time a neurotransmitter, such as serotonin, will stay in-between the nerve cells to increase the action.

Problems arise when serotonin levels are so low that the quantity is insufficient to make drug levels effective.

The study of the synthesis and metabolism of this and other neurotransmitters has led to the discovery of methods for detecting functional levels of these substances.

Subsequent treatment includes targeting the amino acids which are the building blocks of these excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmitters and providing these amino-acids at therapeutic levels so the body can start synthesizing its own supply and self-correct it's own imbalances.

This is very exciting news. Many patients seeking treatment for a variety of medical and psychological conditions are actually suffering from symptoms of an underlying neurotransmitter depletion or imbalance.

Discovering the root of the problem makes treatment efficient and true relief a reality.
John Salerno, Ph.D. and Lauren Salani, BCIA,C are members of the Behavioral Medicine and Psychophysiology Team at Physicians for Alternative Medicine, P.C.

Physicians for Alternative Medicine, P.C. offers free consultations to those who want to learn how natural medicine can best treat their medical and mental health problems. For more information about neurotransmitter (brain chemistry) testing or to make an appointment call (732) 542-2638.

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