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I would like to start by giving you the definition of Addiction and Amino Acids according to Websters dictionary…

Addiction:compulsive needfor and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined  physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly :  persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

Amino acid:an amphoteric organic acid containing the amino group NH2; especially :  any of the various amino acids having the amino group in the alpha position that are the chief components of proteins and are synthesized by living cells or are obtained as essential components of the diet. You may ask, why is this all relevant and important?  I was asking the same questions about a year ago.  We are at a point where anything than can facilitate and ease in the recovery process whether it is here at Detox of South Florida, another addiction treatment center, a PHP program, an IOP program, or even an outpatient detox…we need to explore.  

Alcohol and drug addiction is a very difficult disease to treat. Substance abuse disorders are now recognized as disease of the brain, which results in compulsive drug seeking and eventually destroys an individual’s functioning in society. Amino-acids are basic building blocks of protein molecules and intimately connected with the function of neurotransmitters in the brain, which are essentially composed of amino-acids. People with chronic addiction to alcohol and drugs have an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, and so perpetuates the problem. The human body does not have enough reserves to restore the amino-acid reserve and therefore creates a huge negative pool of amino-acids required to help restore the balance needed for proper functioning of the brain. Amino-acid therapy therefore rejuvenates the neurotransmitters and helps build a proper balance of the key neurotransmitters.

anatomy of amino acid

Is amino acid supplementation a cure for Addiction?  Can it help reduce withdrawal symptoms?  Can it increase the likelihood of staying clean?  Can it make me feel better?  Which amino acids can work for addiction?  What part of my body will this help or affect?  These are some of the pertinent questions that we as health care providers have researched in the past year.   There are different ways to deliver the amino-acids to help rejuvenate the neurotransmitters in the brain. Oral therapy in the form of pill and powders has been used for many years for health and nutrition, but this form of therapy results in destruction of the majority of the amino-acids by the digestive system, and therefore does not give the desired results during induction phase. Intravenous amino-acids bypass the gastrointestinal metabolism of the amino-acids and deliver most of the amino-acids to the brain and to the body.

Amino-acids  most  essential  for   treatment  of  addiction    are :

  • L-tyrosine
  • 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • GABA
  • L-glutamine.

These amino-acids are given intravenously for 3-5 days.  Each Intravenous infusion takes about 8 hours during the first few days. The majority of the cravings to alcohol or drugs seem to subside by day 3 of the infusion of amino- acids.  It’s also essential to check the patient’s liver enzymes prior to infusion of amino acids, since a few rare cases of liver failure have reported in literature.  Many  drug rehab centers and alcohol rehab centers are now noticing the benefits of IV amino-acid therapy and have incorporated it into their treatment protocols. Detox of south Florida has recognized the benefits of IV amino-acid therapy and has treated many patients with drug and alcohol addiction and the results have been astounding.  Will it be a cure for addiction in years to come? May be not, but will surely be an adjunct to treating patients with drug and alcohol addiction.