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What is Amino Acid Therapy?

Amino acid therapy involves using specific amino acids to address imbalances in the body that can affect mental and physical health. By targeting neurotransmitter levels, this approach can potentially alleviate conditions like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Intrigued by how these building blocks of protein might unlock a healthier you? Discover the transformative power of amino acid therapy in our detailed guide.
Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

Amino acid therapy refers to the use of supplements of essential amino acids in order to treat certain health conditions. It is commonly used in the treatment of depression and anxiety, as well as certain other brain disorders. In most cases, the amino acids are purchased in pill or capsule form and ingested orally to help support certain bodily systems by providing the acids necessary for protein and tissue development in those areas.

There are certain tests which can be performed to determine which types of essential amino acids are needed before starting amino acid therapy. Essential amino acids are ones the body cannot produce or manufacture on its own. They are processed and used by the body to make new proteins, which are then used to create new tissue in every system of the body. When doing amino acid therapy, supplemental acids are targeted to the bodily system or function that isn’t working properly.

The chemical structure of glutamine, an amino acid.
The chemical structure of glutamine, an amino acid.

Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression commonly benefit from amino acid therapy. It is thought that these conditions are caused by undeveloped parts of the brain, or areas of the brain which are overactive or inactive. By restoring amino acids for proper development of new brain tissue, these areas may be able to function properly.

Sometimes very high doses of certain amino acids are needed to effectively treat or prevent an illness or condition. In the case of genital herpes, for example, up to 8,000 mg of the amino acid lysine may be recommended to treat a current outbreak and 500 mg daily to help prevent an outbreak from occurring. High dosages should be monitored carefully by a health professional and only used when absolutely necessary.

Barley, which contains amino acids.
Barley, which contains amino acids.

There are few side effects to amino acid therapy in most patients, especially when compared to more conventional medications. Some patients have reported nausea or stomach discomfort, but this is generally more common when high dosages are taken, and tends to subside once they are lowered for maintenance. If they persist, patients may need to discontinue therapy is it is bothersome. In most cases, this is not necessary.

Doctors have mixed feelings about amino acid therapy, with some highly recommending it and others avoiding it entirely. This may be because there are fewer studies on the effectiveness and safety of this method than with traditional medications, although few adverse reactions have been reported. Some physicians are not knowledgeable on the potential reactions amino acids can have on certain drugs, so a natural health practitioner or pharmacist may be better sources of information.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- I'm not a doctor or anything. I think that anyone can use amino acids, but supplements should only be used when really necessary. I take lysine supplements once or twice a year when I feel a cold sore coming on. They prevent the cold sore from developing or shorten their duration.


Amino acid therapy is beneficial. I think that there are many health conditions where amino acid therapy is definitely worth a try. But I don't think that normally healthy individuals who have a healthy, balanced diet need amino acid therapy. Even though supplements are not medications, they do have side effects. Just because something is found in nature doesn't mean that it doesn't carry risks.

So it's probably a good idea to ask a doctor about amino acid therapy before starting amino acid supplements.


I've read about people using amino acid supplements for so many different things. So far, I've heard of these supplements being beneficial for attention deficiency, fatigue, allergies, infections and even acne!

It's hard to believe that a supplement can do so much. I'm assuming that people are either experiencing a placebo effect, or these people had severe amino acid deficiencies that were affecting their health. I'm not against amino acid supplements, but I think that people should only supplements from reliable brands. And people should not believe everything they hear.

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    • The chemical structure of glutamine, an amino acid.
      By: Bioreg images
      The chemical structure of glutamine, an amino acid.
    • Barley, which contains amino acids.
      By: schankz
      Barley, which contains amino acids.