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Free form amino acids are one of the most consistent and powerful tools available for supporting depression and other aspects of mental health. Proteins are the basic building blocks throughout the body. Proteins make up your hair, skin, organs, muscles and other tissues. But they don’t just provide structure to the body, they also provide function.

Beyond their use as a structural component, proteins are the building blocks for enzymes, immune molecules, antibodies, hormones and neurotransmitters. All of these molecules are crucial for proper functioning. For brain health, having adequate levels of neurotransmitters is key. For dopamine and norepinephrine, both L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine can be utilized. For serotonin production, L-tryptophan is needed.

Normally, when we acquire amino acids, they are consumed as long chains of protein molecules in protein rich foods, like meat, eggs, and beans. While most people consume adequate protein, they can still be deficient in amino acidsThe reason is typically due to compromised digestion. 

Protein digestion is a complex digestive process that is reliant on multiple organs to function adequately. First, the stomach must contain sufficient acid and pepsin to initiate the process: denaturing proteins and breaking them into smaller pieces. From there, these smaller protein molecules pass into the small intestine and are combined with additional enzymes from the pancreas that further break apart the proteins into smaller fragments. When these small protein fragments reach the brush border cells of the small intestine, they are further subdivided into individual amino acids and absorbed.

It should be noted that this process is complex, reliant on numerous components to function properly. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual that something goes wrong. From lack of stomach acid, to compromised brush border enzymes, digestion is commonly disrupted, which can decrease the availability of amino acids.

When digestion is disturbed, it doesn’t necessarily matter how much protein you consume. If you can’t break it down effectively into individual amino acids, you will become protein deficient. When this occurs, consuming more complex proteins as additional meat or other foods is not the answer. You need a protein source that is predigested, providing free-form amino acids. 

When you consume free-form amino acids, no digestion is required, the amino acids are readily available and absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This provides easily available amino acids for every structure and function in the body that utilizes protein.

When a person has been deficient in amino acids, providing the raw materials they need can have rapid and dramatic results on different aspects of their health. With thousands of patients, amino acid supplementation has been one of the most consistent and effective approaches to quickly improve and restore mood, especially in patients who are deficient. 

In patients struggling with depression, you often find an underlying protein deficiency, even in patients eating a good quality diet. With amino acid testing, you can verify deficiencies. When deficient, free-form amino acids can rapidly replete the missing nutrients.

In response to supplementation, patients rapidly improve. Mood is elevated and energy levels increase. The effects are often dramatic, with patients describing a night and day difference when supplementing with free-form amino acids as compared to without.

Throughout my years of experience working in mental health, free-form amino acids have been one of the simplest and most effective ways to rapidly improve or resolve mental health symptoms.

While there are many amino acid products on the market, the vast majority of them contain zero L-tryptophan. To be blunt, this is bordering on malpractice. Studies on intentional L-tryptophan depletion by supplementing mixtures of amino acids without L-tryptophan have consistently found a rapid decrease in serum L-tryptophan levels followed by increased anxiety and depression (Young 2013). L-tryptophan is vital for maintaining mental health and consuming amino acid formulas without it can be detrimental.

Amino Replete by Pure Encapsulations is one of the few amino acid products on the market that contains a broad spectrum of amino acids in proper ratios, including L-tryptophan.  Click here to order Amino Replete.