(along with praps magnesium malate & definitely passiflora) are the 3rd big thing that has helped me with FM, since April 2021. Altho I’m not a supp health nut in any way: I don’t take anything if I don’t see it working. Just leaving no stone unturned for things that really make a difference.
After bad experiences with 5-HTP, tryptophan, melatonin & CBD oil, I read about GABA on forums and suggestions to take it with glutamine, magnesium and passiflora. That’s basically still making a lot of difference as I’ve reported on my blog, in my blog summary and in a thread about GABA and it’s analogs / derivatives.
Now I’m balancing the GABA out with further amino acids (to balance out serotonin vs. dopamine), but also seeing that whether they increase serotonin or dopamine or both, each amino acid has a different effect on me (600+600mg(?) GABA improves a lot: stiffness, seizures etc., 400mg glutamine prevents it from relaxing me too much, 200mg theanine makes me more alert in the mornings, taurine adrenalizes me, so in 1-5-mg specks might become my “coffee”). So I’ll be bundling my infos on & experiences with them in this thread.
Which website do I recommend most for treating with amino acids? After comparing with Healthwell, Perkins, Jockers & Levy (see below): Trudy Scott's anti-anxiety blog "everywomanover29", starting with her version of the amino acid questionnaire; fibromyalgia is named under "low serotonin"
As always I keep turning over the amino acid ‘slab’ and the stones under it again & again, last week I was researching what others say about balancing serotonin & dopamine.
But up to now the website that seems most useful to me & fits best to my own experiences despite the name is Trudy Scott’s antianxiety blog everywomanover29. People like drjockers and Cynthia Perkins seem to have a lot of knowledge about them too. But my excerpts of what they say (below) always boil down to the fact that things they might say differently are all things I’ve tried already. Trudy Scott as opposed to Cynthia Perkins for instance disputes the theory that if GABA works you shouldn’t take it (because it means your brain is leaky), and her argument fits for me, the alternatives don’t. Reading her debate with Datis Kharrazian, a proponent of the leaky brain theory is interesting. I’ve skimmed thru her book and then given it to my acupressurist, but it didn’t help me much beyond the important stuff is there on the website, incl. her version of the amino acid “questionnaire”, which she has developed further from someone she cites. 1-2 other therapists also mention “the questionnaire” positively, not specifically hers. It’s nothing big or spectacular, just a list of symptoms with suggestions with which amino acid to start.
Said it before I think: I was lucky that the 750mg GABA I started with is still a good dose for me, and less isn’t. A colleague didn’t do the test, but started with 100mg as I/Trudy Scott suggested, which was good, she added, but a bit more was too much, so is now on 300mg. My acupressurist didn’t do the test and even 100mg was bad for her, so she did the test, then read the book and now has success with tyrosine instead. They are both opening capsules as she suggests, but that’s too acidic for my stomach, so I bought empty capsules and powder and encapsulate everything. Her blog is also interesting because of the user questions and experiences on it, so much information.
She also comes across/words as a kind, considerate person, not someone throwing advice at your head, which is refreshing.
Trudy Scott's version of the amino acid questionnaire
Personally, I, JayCS, only have a few of the low GABA and low serotonin symptoms, but taking GABA helps me a treat. Mine are for low GABA: stiff muscles, insomnia, overactive brain, IBS, used to have fear of heights, for low serotonin: hyperactivity, digestive issues, fibromyalgia & other pain syndromes, insomnia, used to have social phobia & bad self-esteem; absolutely none of the other 3.
These are the lists summarized, for the exact & updated lists check her website:
Low GABA (e.g. try GABA)
Feeling worried or fearful; Panic attacks; Unable to relax or loosen up; Feeling stressed and burned-out; Acrophobia (fear of heights) Stiff or tense muscles Craving carbs OR alcohol OR drugs for relaxation and calming Insomnia Have intrusive / perseverate thoughts, or have an overactive brain; OR have unwanted thoughts – thoughts about unpleasant memories, images or worries Inability to prioritize planned actions; Poor focus Pains: Rectal spasms; Burning mouth; Visceral pain/belly pain with IBS.
Low Serotonin (e.g. try tryptophan (5-HTP if cortisol isn’t high), GABA)
Anxiety (maybe worse in winter), Panic attacks or phobias, Feeling worried or fearful Obsessive thoughts or behaviors Perfectionism or being overly controlling Irritability; PMS or menopausal mood swings Winter blues or seasonal affective disorder; Negativity or depression Suicidal thoughts Excessive self-criticism, Low self-esteem and poor self-confidence Sensitivity to hot weather Hyperactivity Anger or rage Digestive issues Fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint syndrome, or other pain syndromes Difficulty getting to sleep; Insomnia or disturbed sleep Afternoon or evening cravings for carbs, alcohol or drugs
Low Catecholamines (e.g. try tyrosine)
Depression and apathy; Easily bored Lack of energy; Lack of drive and low motivation Lack of focus; Attention deficit disorder; Procrastination and indecisiveness Craving carbs, alcohol, caffeine, or drugs for energy
Low Endorphins (e.g. animal protein, DPA/Endorphigen)
Heightened sensitivity to emotional OR physical pain Crying or tearing up easily Eating to soothe your mood, or comfort eating Really, really loving certain foods, behaviors, drugs, or alcohol Craving a reward or numbing treat
Low Blood Sugar (e.g. glutamine, 500mg praps several times a day between meals)
Crave sugar, starch or alcohol any time during the day; Intense cravings for sweets Irritable, shaky, headachey – especially if too long between meals Lightheaded if meals are missed Eating relieves fatigue Agitated, easily upset, nervous
Amino acids: 1) Balancing GABA 2) glutamine, 3) theanine, 4) tyrosine, 5) SAMe 6) tryptophan (vs. 5-HTP), 7 glycine (incl. magnesium glycinate)
1+2 Balancing GABA & glutamine: 1. Healthfully, 2. Perkins: 3. Jockers 4. Levy. New ideas for me: B6, as P-5'-P? Lithiumorotate? Zn? Doses?
1.1 NO Healthfully: tyrosine, tryptophan, B6, high complex carb early, low protein late
by increasing dopamine with tyrosine & B6 in the mornings, tryptophan & B6 in the evenings… (is this my own addition??: glutamine, SAMe) in the morning and high complex carb & low protein meal at night? How to Balance Dopamine and Serotonin Levels | Healthfully
1.2 Zn Cynthia Perkins: Low carb (<50mg) paleo, high animal protein; (Mg) Zn <40mg, lithium orotate 125-200mg, glycine often excitatory; praps, or not: taurine, vit. B6, SAMe, NAC, theanine
Many warnings about supps: Keto diet. Glutamate good for learning, bad for seizures. Too much excitement in … RLS, fibromyalgia, too much acetylcholine, Low GABA: tension, anxiety, attention, insomnia, GERD. Important vor sleep, body temperature,… “When GABA is low, glutamate is high and vice versa. … glutamate as the accelerator and GABA as the brakes…” GAD may be the problem. B6 necessary. GABA-glutamate-conversion. Or too much calcium. Mg & some zinc (<40mg) can help, or lithium orotate, Boswellia, wormwood, nettle, chamomile (herbs: careful). Careful: glycine can often be excitatory, vit. D. Taurine can help, but can also increase glutamate via the GABA shunt, vitamin B6 & SAMe can become a problem. No grains incl. whole grains too. Low carb paleo, high animal protein. Organic.
GABA itself can be stimulating tho, via the shunt. NAC may help, but may also increase glutathione, which’d increase glutamate.
Theanine may cause problems, so preferably lithium.
(German link Lithiumorotate no sfx, good for serotonin, so seizures, immune system 125–200 mg https://www.klinik-st-georg.de/lithium-ein-wichtiges-mineral-mit-breiter-klinischer-wirkung/
Product: Lithium Orotate 125 mg - Nahrungserganzungen -Super-Nutrition)
Herbs such as Valerian, kava kava etc. can increase GABA in a way that the body produces less.
Avoid excitotoxins such as MSG, aspartame, glutamic acid, soy sauce, tofu.
Glutamine can stay that instead of increasing GABA.
Cheese, peas, walnuts, mushrooms, broccoli might elevate, at least if you have much too much.
Collagen high. Vit. K2 in dairy protein is good.
Diet: Best avoid fruit. <50g/d carbs. Mg: Try, not citrate or aspartate. CBD oil makes it worse. Intermittent fasting (IF) not good.
1.3 Dr Jockers
New GABA info here: Here it blames the gut microbiome for too little GABA. Might get into only certain parts of the brain.
DrJockers Aug 15th: Strange doses, wrote; 91 comments, #92 wd be mine…
These are his doses: 1-2g magnesium (threonate), 100-200mg GABA, 4-12g glutamine (B6/Zn if irritable headaches, anxiety). taurine: 300-600mg. theanine 50-100mg, passionflower.
In contrast Trudy Scott starts glutamine with 500mg! for low blood sugar and her dosages are far more individual and careful.
1.4 Sanford Levy
3 Theanine seems to be working for me as research suggests: it helps sleep but stops drowsiness. It increases dopamine, it's unsure what it does to serotonin.
As I pulverize a tablet, it contains filling agent. I could work out the exact amount if nec.
Slightly decreasing more (300 on Aug 4th seemed better), alertness, energy, relaxation without drowsiness, 100-600mg, no sfx known!. It is partly for DOPAMINE (“opposite” of serotonin, but not sure what it does to serotonin), like glutamine, levodopa, as well as taurine, tyrosine, SAMe and Mucuna pruriens!
4 Taurine is supposed to help sleep (research), but it adrenalized me, so I'm keeping it as an upper in the mornings/daytime, starting with specks of 1-5mg and trying more (up to 100mg?)
“500mg” taurine adrenalized me all night (4h40 sleep) & day Aug 20th. Praps I’ve found my coffee, as my acupressurist suggested! I’ll start with specks in the mornings, increasing depending on how I feel or need to get up, like next Tuesday at 7:15 for work. And praps it will get a handle on sleeplessness by getting me up, despite little sleep and then letting me get tired again properly after… Tried maybe 100mg on Aug 28th.
According to Jockers it increases GABA…
Taurine: increased sleep in flies.
Taurine increased serotonin & glutamine in rats
Taurin highly selective effect: Effect of intraventricular administration of glutaurine on norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin turnover in different brain regions in rats - PubMed
Taurine Regulation of Neuroendocrine Function - PubMed influences many things!
(Taurine, energy drinks, and neuroendocrine effects - PubMed energy drinks - thoughts)
The Effects of an Oral Taurine Dose and Supplementation Period on Endurance Exercise Performance in Humans: A Meta-Analysis - PubMed single dose 1-6g helps endurance.
5 SAMe: 400-800mg in the mornings, as stimulating, not much research
6 Tryptophan: Supposed to help sleep slightly better & with less sfx than 5-HTP, but it caused severe sfx for me: GI and dead tired; so if at all: VERY low dose, encapsulated
7 Glycine helps normalize sleep patterns, but may be excitatory for others; in my case excitatory, which is probably why I've had success leaving the magnesium glycinate again.
It’s supposed to help the GABA cross the blood brain barrier (Dennis). But I don’t need that, as GABA is working well enough already. Got it in the magnesium glycinate anyway, see above: Glycine works like GABA, as inhibitory neurotransmitter, helps normalize sleep patterns like glutamine & theanine, to relax and calm. This is in the added new magnesium form, that fits.
Mg glycinate can cause insomnia in some and it’s a GABA antagonist, it says here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/8xmbi2/magnesium_glycinate_gives_me_insomnia/
MEDS: 1) NAC = glutamate antagonist, 2) levodopa=L-dopa for dopamine
1) NAC sleep -2400mg, better or worse (med)
(N-acetylcysteine) as I wrote here (better liposomal) as glutamate antagonist and to help sleep is mentioned on the last link (CFS/ME, with fibromites there too) suggest 1800 or 2400 mg, whilst more causes - again - diarrhea. The last person on that page also says “I elevated my glutamate / GABA levels with excess taurine” and very importantly “Once elevated Glutamate seems to be slow to rebalance” - got to watch that!
levodopa/L-dopa for RLS.
In my case it seemed OK at the small dose of 50mg, which isn’t sposed to help. 100mg seemed to increase instead of decrease my lower back unrest, LBU. But because I now know it’s probably because of trying to sleep on my back and due to my SIJ/tailbone, maybe I can try it again. Not sure what the sense of it is tho, as it was recommended to find out if it betters the LBU, which is better due to only sleeping twisted on my back.
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) was the only thread about amino acids here up to now.
A pubmed article regarding so-called “leaky brain”, despite it being a functional doc thing: Leaky brain in neurological and psychiatric disorders: Drivers and consequences - PubMed Kharrazian used to claim that taking GABA is bad for you / will stop working due to its effect not being possible in a healthy brain. Post contending his hypothesis below
Supps I'm doing & planning at the moment
As you can look up in my fibro blog, for me at the mo it’s a balance of GABA (for serotonin), glutamine (for dopamine, like NADH) and theanine (for dopamine, like NADH, sleep) that help a lot (10 symptoms), incl. energy up (that Q10 & praps NADH give others), and stiffness down. However due to impatience whilst increasing I’ve been thru an overdose of glutamine (severe neuropathy for a few hours) and then GABA (serotonin syndrome and return of symptoms for at least a week), plus increased focal seizures after a 3 month break. Improvement again, I’m back medium high. Next after readjusting probably re-trying tryptophan in specks (don’t tolerate much, serotonin), SAMe (also dopamine), taurine, then Ribose, NAC, serrapeptase, mucuna pruriens (also dopamine), probably not tyrosine (dopamine). Any detailed experiences of any of you with those?
Increasing dopamine (tyrosine) in the mornings and serotonin (tryptophan with low protein meal) at night may help balance serotonin and dopamine, altho the studies are old for my taste: How to Balance Dopamine and Serotonin Levels | Healthfully. As that’s what I’m going for, I might try taking all or some of the glutamine in the mornings instead. (Edit Sep 8th: I’m now using theanine for alertness & relaxing in the morning instead.)
For dopamine: glutamine, theanine, SAMe, taurine, mucuna pruriens (= natural), tyrosine, levodopa/L-dopa (med), dark chocolate, nuts, rhodiola rosea. Glutamine and taurine are precursors to GABA.
For serotonin: GABA, tryptophan, 5-HPT. Of these I only tolerate GABA, or will have to try again with specks. How/if theanine also affects serotonin seems unclear.
I’ve always thought GABA/serotonin has improved stiffness/gait, fine motor skills, but this suggests it may have been glutamine/dopamine: Low Dopamine in Fibromyalgia and CFS