Can Amino Acids Help Depression and Anxiety?

Amino Acids Help Depression and Anxiety

Fight Depression and Anxiety Using Amino Acid

Psychiatric medications help millions of people suffering from mental health disorders every day. Side effects from these medications. However, can often be nearly as debilitating as the disorders themselves. Because of this, more and more people are seeking help through alternative therapies, including dietary changes and supplementation with amino acids.

Amino acids are the universal building blocks of proteins and enzymes. Proteins play a crucial role in virtually all biological processes in the body, including the body’s metabolism, muscle contraction, immune protection, and the transmission of nerve impulses.

Certain amino acids can be made by the body and are called nonessential amino acids. However, the essential amino acids cannot be made and so they must be obtained through the diet.

Many people suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and several other mental illnesses have been shown to have low levels of certain amino acids.

Essential Amino Acids For Depression and Anxiety

Some of these amino acids are important in the production of neurotransmitters, while others play a role in determining how neurotransmitters function.

GABA (gamma amino buytric acid)

GABA is an important and abundant amino acid. It serves as an inhibitory neurotransmitter to block the transmission of an impulse from one cell to another in the central nervous system.

Some research has shown GABA to be depleted in those suffering from both mania and depression. It appears to calm the brain which makes it a good sleep aid.

Taking a supplement of GABA has shown to help treat mania, anxiety, and some cases of depression. Some people taking GABA have experienced mild tingling in the face and neck.

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin decrease anxiety and promote sleep by increasing the effects of GABA in the brain.


Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid that stimulates the production of norepinephrine and transmits nerve impulses to the brain. It eases the symptoms of depression, improves memory and mental alertness and function of the thyroid.

Tyrosine is also considered to be a mild antioxidant. Research shows it acts as an adaptogen – helping the body adapt to and cope with stress. It is synthesized in the body from Phenylalanine.


This essential amino acid acts as a precursor to norepinephrine and helps ease depression and fatigue as well as improve memory. Fifty or more percent of Phenylalanine is converted to Tyrosine in the liver.

Too much Phenylalanine can cause agitation, irritability, headache, and high blood pressure. You should avoid in those with a history of hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, or melanoma.


Taurine is a nonessential amino acid useful in treating mania. It suppresses the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. It also helps to stabilize the excitability of the membranes in the nervous system. Taurine is effective at reducing hyperactivity and anxiety and works well as a mild sedative.

SAM-e (s-adenosylmethionine)

SAM-e is found in every living cell of the body and is often an effective treatment for depression without the side effects of prescription antidepressant medications. It works as a mood enhancer by increasing the action of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

It also improves receptor function and has been shown to ease anxiety. Another common problem for those with bipolar disorder. SAM-e helps maintain cartilage and protect joints and improves the liver by moving bile from the liver to the gastrointestinal tract.

It has been studied extensively around the world in more than 100 trials but is not marketed as a drug in the United States. SAM-e should not be taken with MAOIs or other antidepressant medications without first consulting a doctor.

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

5-HTP is an amino acid that is the transitional step between tryptophan and serotonin. It is believed that its ability to balance the mood in bipolar patients, reduce the severity of migraines.

It also reduce appetite and aggression is because it raises serotonin levels in the brain like many prescription antidepressant medications. 5-HTP is also thought to be useful in preventing other conditions including fibromyalgia, bulimia, obesity, insomnia, and PMS.