Could something as simple as targeted amino acid supplementation be the missing piece to your Parkinsons, ADHD, or insomnia healing regimens?
Neurologic issues are some of the most common and complex health challenges we face – and the treatments are often worse than the disease itself! When it comes to medications for Parkinson’s, ADHD, and insomnia, the side effects can be downright dangerous, ranging from balance issues all the way to suicidal depression. It may surprise you to know that there are safe, natural amino acid therapies that get to the root causes of these complicated illnesses to provide relief from the debilitating symptoms.
Hinz Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s are on the rise, with an estimated 60,000 new cases each year and 1.2 million diagnosed overall. But the medication that provides the most relief, L-dopa, is often not well tolerated at therapeutic levels. This may be because of amino acid depletions, and Dr. Marty Hinz has come up with a novel new amino acid therapy to address this.
L-dopa has been found in studies to deplete L-tyrosine, L-tryptophan, serotonin, epinephrine, and the sulfur-based amino acids, which are already deficient in many Parkinson’s patients. Dr. Hinz has been researching these deficiencies in Parkinson’s since 1997 and found that they were a hidden cause of the side effects of L-dopa that keep patients from being able to take enough to be effective.
When these amino acids are deficient, serotonin is out of balance with dopamine, and these two important neurotransmitters are key players in Parkinson’s disease that need to stay in balance for symptom management. He uses a unique amino acid therapy to keep them in balance while on L-dopa, and has found that the tremors, moods, motor function, and ability to function in normal daily activities of his patients are well maintained for years – with no complications – even when the dose of L-dopa is increased.
Here are the starting doses of his therapy. It’s important to note that doses of the amino acids and supporting nutrients change as the doses of the L-dopa change, and you should seek the help and monitoring of a qualified Functional Medicine practitioner if you have Parkinson’s and would like to use this successful amino acid therapy.
- L-tyrosine 1500 mg twice daily
- 5-HTP 150 mg twice daily
- vitamin C 1000 mg per day
- vitamin B6 75 mg per day
- folate 400 mcg per day
- selenium 400mcg per day
- calcium citrate 220 mg per day
- L-lysine 500mg per day
- L-cysteine 4500 mg per day
Amino Acids for ADHD
Fortunately, the success of amino acid therapy isn’t limited to just one neurologic issue. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with deficiency in 8 different key amino acids, which are especially important to a growing and developing brain. Considering that up to 85 percent of children with ADHD are at risk of it continuing into adulthood, novel approaches that are safe for the long term – like amino acid therapies – are needed and can provide natural symptom relief at any age.
According to the CDC, ADHD now affects 11 percent of all children ages 4 to 17 years old. When it persists into adulthood, they estimate that only 11 percent of adults receive treatment for it. There are said to be as many as 7 different types of ADHD, but what I’ve found is that this disease is very individual and each person needs to tailor their amino acid supplementation to their own specific needs. This is what makes finding successful natural alternatives such a challenge – or any treatment, for that matter.
Considering the dangers associated with the stimulant medications, I believe natural therapies along with a clean, healthy diet like my Fat Flush or Radical Metabolism plans are a good first line of defense worth trying. Your Functional Medicine health care provider can even do urinary neurotransmitter and organic acid testing to help you narrow down which amino acids may give you the best relief and what doses are appropriate at your age, weight, and level of deficiency. Here are the 8 that have been found in studies to be effective:
- L-Glycine – this inhibitory, calming amino acid/neurotransmitter is essential for the brain balance of glutamate and GABA. It is also one of the building blocks of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant in the body.
- Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) – this calming amino acid/neurotransmitter has been called the “natural valium” for the brain. Even though levels have been found to be low in ADHD patients, supplementing with it directly has not been found to be as effective as supplementing its precursors – L-Theanine, L-Glutamine, and vitamin B6.
- L-Theanine – not only does this amino acid help with GABA formation, but also with anxiety, sleep, learning, attention, and memory in children with ADHD. It helps to keep the balance between serotonin and dopamine in the brain, while increasing the production of calming neurotransmitters.
- L-Tryptophan – studies have shown that people with ADHD have difficulty with transport of nutrients across the blood-brain barrier, and this appears to be especially important with tryptophan. The brain uses tryptophan to make serotonin, so if brain levels are low, then dopamine and serotonin are out of balance, resulting in ADHD symptoms. This won’t necessarily show in testing, because the levels of tryptophan may be normal throughout the body but not crossing into the brain.
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) – this amino acid is a type of tryptophan that is a direct precursor to serotonin production. It is used in combination with L-tyrosine for dopamine and serotonin balance. It is best used as part of the Hinz Therapy for ADHD, which is similar to his therapy for Parkinson’s patients.
- L-Tyrosine – this amino acid is a building block of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which are all powerful neurotransmitters that ADHD medications target. Supplementing tyrosine can help balance these important neurotransmitters without the harmful side effects that medications have. Tyrosine needs vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and copper as cofactors to be effective.
- Taurine – studies have found taurine to be so effective in reducing ADHD symptoms that it has been proposed as a treatment by itself. Taurine is essential for healthy brain development, intracellular calcium balance, brain activity modulation, and protection of neurologic tissues from toxins. It is also anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, heart protective, brain protective in stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and regulates energy metabolism and gene expression.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine – this amino acid helps the body use essential fatty acids, including Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Carnitine transports these fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cell. Taken in combination with these healthy essential fats, it helps with the inattentiveness that may be associated with low energy production at the cell level.
Supplement Amino Acids for Sound Sleep
With 1 out of every 3 adults affected by insomnia, we need better answers than rescue medications to help with the quality and quantity of sleep we’re getting. The 2 main neurotransmitters that help us sleep are actually amino acids we’ve already learned about for Parkinson’s and ADHD. By supplementing with these amino acids, we can get a good night’s sleep – without side effects.
If you’re looking for a natural “chill pill” to help turn off your brain and relax for sleep, then the combination of 5-HTP and GABA should fit the bill. Both of these amino acids taken together have been shown in studies to shut down that “wired but tired” feeling and improve both sleep quality and quantity.
In the case of insomnia, you don’t need to balance out the 5-HTP with tyrosine because we’re looking only for that drowsy, feel-good effect of increasing serotonin. And unless you have ADHD, taking GABA in its whole form should be absorbed without issue. I recommend 100 to 200 milligrams of 5-HTP at bedtime, along with 200 to 400 milligrams of PharmaGABA, a more easily absorbed form of GABA.
Kris Gethin is an international personal trainer and nutritionist who has transformed clients ranging from Bollywood celebs to world-champion UFC fighters. Kris has been voted the world's #1 trainer by PT Academy and Bodybuilding.com. Join Ann Louise and Kris as they discuss the best exercises to do as we age, how to stay fit even during lockdown and how to effectively ‘biohack’ your environment! You will be inspired with Kris’ down to earth and simple suggestions on how to maintain lean muscle mass as we get older and his recommendations for the best plant-based protein powder to supplement our diet. Kris aspires to help as many people live a healthy, more fulfilling life by raising the bar on health and fitness education through his books, video trainers, blogs, YouTube videos, and show, The Knowledge and Mileage Podcast. His most recent book is “MAN OF IRON.”