Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amino Acids Help ADD, Depression

I have suffered with ADD throughout my life. As a child I became a sugar and chocolate junky to help myself feel better and be able to better concentrate. I'd start the day with my favorite sugar sweetened cereal, eat more junk at lunch and "mainline" Hershey's chocolate syrup, sucking it straight from the container as soon as I got home from school.

I would also gorge on high carb foods like potato chips, other starches and candy bars to give myself a mental "boost". Powdered Nestle's Quick I enjoyed eating from it's box with a spoon, not bothering to mix it with milk.

And it did "help". With all that sugar and chocolate stimulating my system, I was mentally alert and had very fast recall. Problem was, I couldn't sit still, focus on anything for extended periods and would blurt out creative, "wiseguy" answers in class. This would crack people up, which was my goal and my reward. It also disrupted the lesson which did not gain me the favor of my teacher.

At night I would often have nightmares which I never had any recall of the next day. My family would hear me screaming and thrashing about in my bed. I attribute this to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as my body overproduced insulin to try and regulate all the sugar I was pouring in.

I've also struggled with bouts of depression from time to time.

Over the years, I've tried reading books on nutrition, nutritional therapy, food allergy treatments, acupuncture, natural supplements and prescription drugs to try and alleviate my ADD. All this has been quite expensive. Until now, acupuncture is the only treatment that had some positive effect.

I recently began using a product called "Neu Becalm'd" from a company called Neurogenesis. It is a natural amino acid mix and actually helps me feel better and focus. It is available online. The two main active ingredients seem to be D-L Phenylanaline and L-Glutamine. They recommend taking it up to 3 times a day.

A less expensive solution is to buy these amino acids separately at a health food store. In Neu Becalm'd the ratio is 1 part L-Glutamine (300 mg) to 2 parts D-L Phenylanaline (600 mg). Make sure you get D-L Phenylanaline and not "L- Phenylanaline".

If you decide to try it, give it a few days and see if you notice any difference. For me they were subtle but significant. And there should be no side effects. Don't eat for at least 30 minutes after taking.

Hope it helps you as much as it has me.


For more info I recommend the book, : "Overload: Attention Deficit Disorder And The Addictive Brain" by David Miller and Kenneth Blum, Ph.D.

It was a bit of a revelation. I learned that:

*Addicts, their offspring and those with ADHD and ADD may be born with a predisposition to abnormal neurotransmitter levels, leading to sensitivity, discomfort, anxiety and pain.

*Some symptoms of ADD and ADHD parallel the "Common Characteristics" of ACOAs.

*Many people with ADHD are children of alcoholics and ADHD is common in the relatives of ADHD children.

You can read more about this here:

The Reward Deficiency Syndrome

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 4

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 3

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 2

The ACA ADD Connection

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


amy eden said...

Hey, Craig,

Hmm! Interesting!

I was always very drawn to candy when doing homework or sitting down to "concentrate." I hadn't heard that amino acids could be beneficial, so this is really interesting to hear.

Do you feel they work quickly, or does it take time to build up in the body?

I know that incorporating a meditation practice into one's day helps concentration and calm as well - even if I meditate for only 15 minutes, I'm much calmer and focused for the rest of the day.

Great post!

amy eden

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Amy.

I felt a difference after a few days. Of course, everyone is different.

The meditation thing is a real challenge for me. I need to make the time to do it! Do you have a post on this? Any techniques you recommend?

I really enjoy your blog. It is carefully crafted and well written!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Children who spent hours in front of the television are not always jolly, lively, and happy. They apart from developing a dislike towards their neighbouring environment and suspiciousness also run the risk of falling into depression. Studies have also shown that most of the children watch the television out of insecurity and a mental disturbance also.

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Anonymous said...

This article was actually very helpful.

I'm a psychology major in Las Vegas, and I have been suffereing with ADD all of my school life. What I ate and the things I did during my childhood is almost exactly like what you described. I constantly ate sugar foods and wouldn't be able to concentrate clearly unless I had something to eat during my homework.

In 8th grade (about 5 years ago) I was diagnosed with ADD. I tried their diets, but they always made me sad. So they put me on Adderall, and I took it regularly for 4 years.

Adderall was amazing. After a week of taking it everything seemed to click. I didn't need tutoring anymore and I went from being the lowest, most challenged person in class to the person who you went to for tutoring.

However, I had horrible side effects. I never ate or slept and I was always mad. I even started having heart pains. So my boyfriend convinced me to stop.

It was literally amazing (in a bad way). I couldn't believe that after 4 years of taking it and understanding and remembering and focusing so clearly that I could go back into the dark so suddenly.

I can't describe how terrible it was. I was the best in my math class the year before and suddenly I was failing and couldn't remember anything, even things I had known for years. Think of the one thing you know better than anything, and then imagine waking up one morning and not understanding anything about it.

So now I'm suffering greatly. I'm struggling to keep up in my college courses and keeping my test scores just high enough without any medicated help.

Reading your article really gave me some insight on another, more natural option. I'm going to talk to my doctor about it and see what could work.

But in the meantime, do you have any other suggestions to help for now? Please let me know.


C said...


Sounds like you are going through a really tough time.

There are a couple more products I haven't tried yet but may offer some promise:

One is Procera AVH

The other is Attend

Alex said...

It is an Interesting post. I don't know that using amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, we can be free from depression. But I helped myself to overcome depression by beat depressiontechniques.As we know about these now we should start using the food to be free from depression.

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Anonymous said...

This is something I cant quite grasp. Okay Serotonin deficiencies are not true. Exercise and diet are true. Going from a to c is fairly routinely done by people in denial. The UNDERLYING cause of the depression might play a role-ya think?! Weird article.