Alcoholism, Part 3 -- Fixing the Brain — 2 By David Gersten, M.D.

Last month we looked at the devastating impact that alcohol has on the brain. Every important neurotransmitter system is impaired by alcohol. Alcoholism brings with it three major toxins, namely: Alcohol (ethanol), acetaldehyde (a primary bre akdown product of alcohol), and tetra-hydroisoquinolines (THIQs). Acetaldehyde combines with neurotransmitters to make THIQs, which are addictive, morphine-like compounds. These three toxins act as pseudoneurotransmitters by binding to neurotransmitter receptor sites. When the alcoholic is drinking, his brain “thinks” there is enough serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, acetylcholine, and GABA. But the brain has been tricked by alcohol and its two related toxins. As soon as the alcoholic stops drinking, his brain truly experiences serious deprivation of all major neurotransmitters. He resumes drinking because alcohol makes the brain “believe,” once again, that it has plenty of GABA, serotonin, and the other major neurotransmitters. In the last article, we went into detail about the process by which the brain is damaged, and reviewed the theory that disorders of GABA (gamma-amino-butyric-acid) may be the single most important factor in alcoholism. In this article, the focus will be on specific neuro-cognitive problems caused by alcoholism, and how we can treat those problems in a natural way. Before exploring these symptoms and problems, let me clear up a very important and controversial issue surrounding alcoholism. In order to move toward an understanding of how to cure alcoholism, let's start by addressing two important issues that are frequently misunderstood. First, let's talk about the alcoholic personality, the type of makeup that predisposes one to become alcoholic. Understanding this makeup will make it easier for you to know which kind of psychotherapy or support system will best suit you. Here is the answer. In 1984 a study of 650 young men showed that there was no evidence whatsoever that there is an “alcoholic personality.” So, folks you can throw out the notion that your mother, father, your abuse, neglect, or stress caused your problem with drinking. Alcoholism is not a psychiatric disorder and does not belong in the DSM-IV, the psychiatric bible of diagnosis. Secondly, you need to understand that support systems, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), according to a great deal of research, do not have better than a 5 percent cure rate. Mind you, I refer my alcoholic patients to AA. AA was never intended as a treatment modality. It is support and is profoundly helpful. But alcoholism is a physical disease. You cannot cure diabetes or cancer through support groups or psychotherapy, nor can you cure alcoholism through such support. I also don't buy into the nearly universal belief that alcoholism is an incurable disease. The point of this tongue-in-cheek discussion of the “Alcoholic Personality” is to help you finally set aside such a notion. There is not a “Diabetic Personality” or an “Arthritic Personality.” Similarly, alcoholism is a disorder of severely disturbed biochemistry. There is metabolic chaos from head to toe. In this article, we continue to examine and repair the metabolic chaos within the brain and nervous system that we began to heal in the last article. Treating Specific Neuro-Cognitive Problems Every neuro-cognitive, psychological, or mental-emotional problem is associated with specific neurotransmitter problems. Here is how you can address each of these major symptoms associated with alcoholism. Anxiety and Insomnia

and B Complex. GLA and PGE1 drop. Over time. there is a genetic defect in handling the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). you can treat the depression caused by . social life. People often blame their depression on what alcohol has done to their performance at work. for L-tryptophan requires P-5-P to get converted into serotonin. although many alcoholics have both of these “anti-depressant” neurotransmitters depleted. In addition. the alcoholic drinks because his brain is asking for more PGE1. At least half of depressed people suffer from a norepinephrine depletion and not serotonin depletion. The amino acids. Vitamin B-3 (niacin or niacinamide) helps with serotonin chemistry. So consider these two for tremors as well as anxiety. which converts into prostaglandin 1 (PGE1) in the brain. Both L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan should be taken away from meals and from other amino acids in order to get into the brain more readily. Anxiety and sleep disorders are closely related. Niacin can cause a brief but uncomfortable skin flush. the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. so supplementation with L-tryptophan or 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan) will help with sleep and anxiety. a B vitamin helps regulate serotonin and treats anxiety and panic disorder. Because alcohol can mimic PGE1. taurine. decreasing tremors as well as the risk of seizures. Depression At least 40% of alcoholics are affected by depression. In one study of 30 patients treated with Vitamin B-3. PGE1 is very much involved in mood. as a result. The amino acid L-tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin. both enhance alpha brain waves. You will also want to take P-5-P (pyridoxal-5phosphate. Tremors The amino acid. the active form of Vitamin B-6). 20 were cured of all their symptoms in approximately two months. the ability to produce PGE1 drops in the alcoholic brain. The amino acid L-tyrosine is the precursor to norepinephrine. take calcium. Inositol. Alcohol helps the brain produce PGE1. AA. became widely accepted. While his first huge contribution. Orientals lack this genetic defect and. The two most important neurotransmitters involved in mood are serotonin and norepinephrine. and marriage. We've already talked about the use of Ltryptophan to increase serotonin levels. became quite interested in nutritional approaches to treating alcoholism. have an incredibly low incidence of alcoholism. and so he continued his orthomolecular research outside of the mainstream. In alcoholics. and so he succumbs to what his brain is demanding. L-tyrosine must be taken with P-5-P in order to get converted into its end product. but niacinamide (another form of B-3) won't do that. not understanding that they have profound neurotransmitter problems. stabilizes nerve tissue. This is what the SSRI anti-depressants do (drugs like Paxil and Zoloft). By supplementing your diet with GLA. Due to the genetic defect. by taking whatever meager supply of GLA that is present and converting it into PGE1. namely norepinephrine. Serotonin is the main neurotransmitter that induces sleep. the medical establishment did not support his claims about niacin. Bill Wilson was at the forefront of Orthomolecular Medicine.44% of alcoholics suffer from anxiety. magnesium. L-glycine and taurine. Like L-tryptophan. They increase serotonin levels. you have a tryptophan deficiency. If you ever blacked out due to drinking. Bill Wilson. Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid Defect Amino acids are not the only nutrients involved in brain chemistry. Take GABA for anxiety. which are calming.

all of which are involved in wound healing. Phenylalanine. Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Tract and Brain While this is a complex subject. The mineral. and amino acids required to produce neurotransmitters and to maintain good overall brain health. B vitamins cannot be stored in the body. Alcohol destroys B vitamins. An impaired liver gives rise to poorly assimilated nutrients. It is also the largest part of our immune system. Few people know that the GI tract is like a second brain in that it produces huge amounts of neurotransmitters. are important for healthy neurotransmitter function. The main purpose of DNA is to take amino acids and use them to build protein. Vitamins and Minerals B vitamins. 4) acting as the first line of defense of the immune system. so they must be ingested and absorbed on a daily basis. The remaining 11 major amino acids are either “Non-Essential. neurotransmitters. Valine. improve sleep. and 5) removing waste. Amino acids are called the building blocks of life. which must wait until next month for deeper analysis. our bodies stop making these amino acids…at which point they become “Essential” and we must either ingest foods with those amino acids or take nutritional supplements. and K. decrease anxiety. and Leucine. Ultimately the alcoholic will fully recover when his brain and GI tract have fully recovered. Tryptophan. These minerals stabilize the cell membrane of neurons. GLA is a wonder nutrient. There are 9 “Essential” amino acids. it would take up the space of two tennis courts. All nutrients absorbed through the GI tract pass through the liver. so start supplementing with a good multiple B vitamin right away. The first four GI functions are impaired in alcoholism. Without a healthy GI tract. This group . it is important to now look at them as a whole. manganese. Methionine. The L-glutamine you will take to increase GABA levels in your brain is also extremely helpful in restoring intestinal health. Calcium and magnesium help to calm the nervous system. balanced supply of the vitamins. Lysine. Start taking the herb Sylamarin to begin liver repair. E. as they relate to a particular symptom. part of the digestive process. and these four affect the brain for better or for worse. Consider this: If you were to open up the GI tract.” Conditionally essential amino acids are those that our bodies ordinarily can make but due to a variety of stresses and illnesses. Alcohol inhibits fat absorption. It is a huge organ with five major functions. Amino Acids While each section of this article has discussed amino acids. is often damaged in alcoholism. 2) keeping toxins out of the body. The liver. namely: 1) absorbing nutrients. Each gene in our DNA codes for one particular protein. minerals. hormones. D. for now I want to mention that alcohol damages the lining of the GI tract. and “Conditionally Essential. it is impossible to get an adequate. which means that we must ingest these from food: Arginine. impairing absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins: A. Threonine. is needed for proper functioning of the B vitamins and also helps stabilize blood sugar. enzymes and other tissue structures. or nerve cells. 3) manufacturing neurotransmitters.GLA and PGE1 deficiency.” meaning our body can make these from other amino acids. Isoleucine. Histidine. fats. If this happens to be your problem. and reduce withdrawal symptoms. all of them.

If you have too little dopamine. A final word about amino acid therapy. MetaMetrix. which provides an enormous amount of useful information. you may feel depressed. supplementation with tyrosine will bring norepinephrine levels back to normal and will alleviate some or all of these symptoms. The fact is that both “Non-Essential” and “Conditionally-Essential” amino acids can become “Essential” when we are stressed or sick. producing a calming effect. The only regularly used amino acid with a different “form” is DL-phenylalanine. but the ones you've just read about are the most important. and Tyrosine. fear. Amino acids participate in every chemical reaction in the body. or thyroxin. As mentioned previously. as well as the non-essential amino acids. poor memory. it is useful in stabilizing an agitated brain. or going on an amino acid program. Glutamine. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin. is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. also made from tyrosine. Tyrosine is the precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. insomnia. and have poor concentration. Look carefully at the recommendations in this article and in the last one. Glutamine is the precursor to another amino acid. Other amino acids play a role in brain chemistry. and a host of other cognitive problems. In alcoholism. Glutamic Acid. These contain all the essential amino acids in relatively high doses. Don't just play around with amino acids. anxious. In my opinion. and thyroid function should be checked. Others are formulated . Before taking tyrosine. dopamine needs to be kept in careful balance.of amino acids includes: Alanine. since one of tyrosine's functions is to produce thyroid hormone. More is not necessarily better. Glycine. Cysteine. Some multi-amino acids are formulated to assist with problems of muscle weakness. A multi-amino acid is going to help alcoholics. GABA is another feelgood neurotransmitter and is the most calming of all neurotransmitters. and some cognitive impairment. Aspartic Acid. Taurine. If you have a healthy GI tract. lab work should be done for amino acids. you are likely to experience anxiety. Amino acid chemistry is very complicated. Asparagine. If you are deficient in norepinephrine. So. which is used to alleviate pain. don't forget to focus on healing problems with digestion. the letter “L ” precedes the name of an amino acid. and remember that. Serine. you will be able to absorb most of the amino acids you need from a healthy diet. but I will skip that formality here. and Doctor's Data. you are not likely to feel cheerful. Dopamine mediates the “feel-good” of sexual orgasm. Like GABA. It took me ten years of study and amino-acid testing before I began to get a handle on it. glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. or paranoia. Ordinarily. but let's focus on how they are involved with brain chemistry. GABA. GABA may be the key to understanding alcoholism. and in helping to prevent tremors and seizures. Proline. our bodies stop making these. stabilizing nerve cells (neurons) as well as heart cells. Taurine is an amino acid that is a direct neurotransmitter. sleep poorly. while taking tyrosine (which will usually lift depression and brain fog). If you have too much. Low serotonin levels will lead to depression. In general. the best laboratories for analyzing amino acids are Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs. Alcohol toxins dramatically impair GABA and GABA-receptor sites. Dopamine. The best amino acid tests have 41 sub-tests. The dopamine receptor site is where cocaine and amphetamines work. In other words.

and adrenal exhaustion. Buy nutraceutical grade amino acids. candidiasis. and nutritional therapy at www. and Allergy Research. cooking and processing easily destroy it so that deficiencies are fairly common. do not buy amino acids from health food help people with blood sugar problems.livestrong. Like certain other amino acids. can be contaminated with impurities such as These two amino acids compete for the same brain receptors.D. amino acids. Mleko cickovog semena Individuals who wish to target fatigue and lethargy should avoid taking a combination of L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan. it is called "essential" because the body is not capable of producing it. practices nutritional medicine and psychiatry out of his Encinitas office and can be reached at 760-633-3063. Although plentiful in protein L-Tryptophan Essential For Mental Health Tryptophan (L-Tryptophan) is an amino acid naturally present in the body and essential for human life. and the combination may cancel out the energizing effect of L-tyrosine. As a precursor for the mood-regulating molecule. Nutraceutical brands include Montiff. including: hypoglycemia. Thorne. allergy. David Gersten. Please feel free to access 1.aminoacidpower. and may have nutrients in the capsule that are not supposed to be there. Read more: http://www. serotonin. This article and the last one have given you a strong dose of knowledge about alcoholism and brain chemistry. Tryptophan (L-Tryptophan) is used for treating: Depression Suicidal Depression . a deficiency of L-Tryptophan could seriously affect your emotional health. Pure Encapsulation. M. to name a few. The Internet is the best and easiest place to find nutra-ceutical grade amino acids. In the next issue. may not have the amino acids in the capsule as promised. so we must ingest it. we will look at non-brain problems of alcoholism. These aminos are usually made in India and China.000 on-line pages about holistic health. Whatever you do.

500mg or more Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) .Anxiety Insomnia Aggression Appetite (to curb the appetite) Pain Migraines Premenstrual Syndrome Bulimia Parkinsons's Disease Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Nightmares General Dosage 500 . it's just that other proteins compete with the tryptophan to get into your system Taking with juice or fruit or other carbohydrate may actually help absorption Nutritional Co-factors(supplements that help tryptophan work better) Niacinamide (Vitamin B-3) .100-500mg Tip: Niacinamide can decrease irritability and argumentativeness Tip: Niacinamide can increase your sense of humor Vitamin C .1.most people should be taking some of this nutrient as a supplement anyway Tip: Along with B-6 (pyridoxine) the addition of 25-50 mg of P5P B-6 (Pyridoxal 5' Phosphate.25-50 mg Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is very important for the metabolism of amino acids . another form of .500 mg once or twice a day between meals or before bed When and How it can be taken Works best taken at least an hour before and and at least an hour after you have eaten a protein meal. thus "between" meals It is not harmful to take it with other proteins.

Caution: For most people. Learn About Supplements Although nutritional supplements are extremely safe . for my own suicidal depression.suggest taking it with something in your stomach . Sure . B-6 can cause a nasty tummy ache on a completely empty stomach .do it as if you are caring for someone else you do love. cracker. no one else will care as much about you .. If you are depressed and don't "love" yourself now . Caution: Be sure to read up on B-6.but. No one else knows as much about you. most regular should not take them randomly.Vitamin B-6) can really will stop and not know why.please read about it.. chip. crust of bread.. Hypericum Perforatum taken with Tryptophan & Tyrosine and co-factors was very helpful 10 years ago.juice.than can ask your doctor . P5P B-6 should be obtainable from your Nutritional Doctor or local Health Food Store. If you don't know what you are taking and why you are taking it . individual needs vary greatly . although I no longer need to take it.Take good care of yourself and get a gradual nutrient education. John's Wort The herb. and you can take too much of B-6 The amino acid Tyrosine (L-Tyrosine) taken with L-Tryptohan is often helpful for many emotional disorders . Magnesium can help Aren't you taking some anyway ? St. fruit. For Best Results.some people need a lot more. I may offer it for sale on this site at a later date.'s * don't know much about nutritional supplements act like there is something wrong with taking them act like there is something wrong with you for thinking for yourself . Read and Learn .

dopamina i dr. a ima ulogu i u pravilnom funkcionisanju preko šezdeset enzimskih sistema u organizmu. On takođe učestvuje u metabolizmu masti i ugljenih hidrata. najbolje je preći direktno na suplementaciju njegovim aktivnim oblikom . find some nutritional books written by doctors. da bi se pretvorio u poželjan aktivan oblik. mora da prođe kroz dve faze. Bez adekvatne količine vitamina B-6 aminokiseline iz hrane koju unosimo nemaju mnogo koristi za organizam. FDA ističe da vitamin B-6. Ukoliko iz nekog razloga obični B-6. U kliničkim studijama uočeno je i da se prilikom primene vitamina B-6 povećava nivo magnezijuma na ćelijskom nivou. nastaje piridoksal 5-fosfat.*(Unless you are lucky enough to have a doctor who thinks for him/herself !) If you don't ask your doctor. Prva je fosforizacija. gde nastaje piridoksin fosfat. za dekarboksilaciju (uzimanje karboksilne grupe aminokiselinama). Na osnovu mnogih istraživanja. koji se najčešće javlja u obliku hidrohlorida. Effectiveness of Treatment The information provided here is basic. koji organizmu služi kao koenzim za mnoge procese. neophodan je za apsorpciju i iskoristljivost pojedinih minerala.piridoksal 5fosfatom (P-5-P). a druga je njegova oksidacija pri kojoj je neophodno prisustvo vitamina B-2 (riboflavin). piridoksinu. piridoksaminu i piridoksalu. kao i da osobe sa slabom . Piridoksin hidrohlorid (običan B-6) da bi došao u upotrebljiv oblik za organizam. nije dovoljan u tu svrhu. norepinefrina. and not specific to any particular illness.). mišićni razvoj i oporavak i neurotransmiterske funkcije (podiže nivo serotonina. kao deo izbalansirane ishrane siromašne zasićenim mastima. može da smanji rizike od pojave kardiovaskularnih bolesti. Kada se na molekul piridoksala doda fosfatna grupa. uključujući energetski metabolizam. na primer za transaminaciju (balansiranje odnosa amino i organskih kiselina). Vitamin B-6 kontroliše njihovu apsorpciju. P-5-P. koji primarno služi kao enzimski katalizator u mnogim telesnim funkcijama. GABA-e. u proizvodnji crvenih krvnih zrnaca i antitela. Ako je kod nekoga nivo B-2 nizak. metabolizam i transformaciju. piridoksal fosfata. koja se odvija u prisustvu magnezijuma pomoću adenozin trifosfata (ATP). Piridoksal 5-fosfat (P-5-P) je aktivna forma vitamina B-6. Tryptophan alone is not always effective for depression since a deficiency of serotonin is not the only cause of depression. Vitamin B-6 se u hrani nalazi u svojim prirodnim oblicima. general. kao i za spajanja dve aminokiselina u jednu ili raspadanje pojedinih na dve. Cilj suplementacije vitaminom B-6 je da se u organizmu stvore dovoljne količine njegovog aktivnog oblika. proizvodnja P-5-P može da bude smanjena i do 60%.

Osnovna funkcija P-5-P je pospešivanje delotvornosti enzima koji zavise od njegovog prisustva. valin. ispucale usne. . leucin. kao i vitamin B-6 u obliku piridoksin hidrohlorida. nervoze. Povišene vrednosti samo nekih od više destina aminokiselina senzitivnih na B-6 (alanin. Piridoksal fosfat (P-5-P). ali i mnogi drugi lekovi. alkohol. Samo neke od njih su: depresivna stanja. sinergijski deluje sa magnezijumom i riboflavinom (vitaminom B-2). Postoji još nebrojeno mnogo stanja u kojima bi suplementacija P-5-P ili B-6 mogla da bude od koristi. problemi u učenju. odn.retencijom magnezijuma imaju povećane potrebe za vitaminom B-6. a njih je u ljudskom metabolizmu prisutno više desetina. anemije i dr. izoleucin. dece. hronični umor. lekovi za regulaciju krvnog pritiska. jer je ovaj vitamin umešan u ogroman broj telesnih funkcija. tirozin. beta-alanin itd. alfaaminoadipinska kiselina. aspartat. Piridoksal 5fosfat ima sve osobine vitamina B-6 i može da: deluje kao antidepresant olakšava simptome PMS pojačava imunitet i potencijalno smanju rizik od nastanka raka učestvuje u održavanju zdravog nivoa šećera u krvi doprinese sprečavanju nervnih i kožnih oboljenja pomaže stvaranje mišićne mase i reparaciju mišićnog tkiva Pomanjkanje vitamina B-6 javlja se najčešće kod trudnica. slab imunitet. akne i dermatitisi. Da bi suplementacija vitaminom B-6 bila efektnija. homocistein. glicin. nutricionisti češće preporučuju za suplementaciju vitamina B-6 njegov aktivni oblik P-5-P. a proces dobijanja aktivnog oblika B-6 u organizmu skratio. cistationin. slabost u mišićima. P-5-P. kod osoba u poznijim godinama i kod nekih bolesti. serin. neki antibiotici.) mogu da budu znak da je potrebno veće prisustvo koenzima P-5-P i da je poželjna suplementacija. Nedostatak vitamina B-6 mogu da izazovu: kontraceptivna sredstva. Preporučena doza: 1 tableta 1 do 2 puta dnevno iz obroke. Laboratorijska analiza aminokiselina u krvi ili urinu verno pokazuje da li ima potrebe za dodatnim unošenjem vitamina B-6.

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