DO AN AMINO SAFTEY CHECK – STEP III
Our experience with thousands of clients has taught us that the aminos listed in Step II are very well tolerated by most people. However, we have also learned that not all aminos are well tolerated by everyone. Below you will find general and specific amino contraindications.
General Precautions for all 5 Types:
□ If you take medications or herbs regularly, ask your physician or pharmacist to research any interactions between them and the amino acids you plan to try.
□ If you don’t generally tolerate supplements well, you may be intolerant to some or all aminos. Trial at ¼ doses from opened capsules to find out. Or order a Trialing Kit, which includes samples of all the aminos.
If you check off any of the boxes below, please avoid all amino acids unless you have medical approval:
□ If you have serious physical illness
□ If you have severe liver or kidney problems (e.g., hepatitis or lupus)
□ If you have an ulcer (amino acids are slightly acidic)
□ If you are pregnant or nursing, no individual amino acids are recommended, but a total amino blend may be used with your OB’s O.K. (e.g. Total Amino Solutions by Genesa.)
□ If you have schizophrenia, bipolar spectrum disorder, or other mental illness (and are not stabilized on medication).
Specific Precautions for Each Craving Type
I have marked with Xs the amino supplements that are known to sometimes have certain adverse effects on some people.
Type 1 Precautions
|Possible Contraindications||5-HTP||Tryptophan||Melatonin||Adverse Reaction Levels|
You take a serotonin-targeted SSRI (including Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil), a SNRI, a tricyclic (including Pamelor, Norpramin), or MAOI antidepressants. Check with your pharmacist or prescriber to be sure, and to get information on possible interactions (See the Mood Cures chapter, Alternatives to Anti-Depressants.)
Moderate to severe
DO NOT USE TYPE 1 AMINOS IF YOU ARE ON AN MAOI OR ARE TAKING MORE THAN ONE OF EITHER OF THE OTHER TWO TYPES OF MEDICATION.
· If you’re on only one SSRI, check with your prescriber about taking a Type 1 amino 4-6 hours away from the drug.
|You regularly take anti-migraine, anti-microbial, or other serotonin-targeted drugs (e.g., Imitrex, linezolid, ecstasy)||
Moderate to severe
Check with your pharmacist
|Asthma||X||X||X||Mild to Moderate, but very rare*|
|A carcinoid tumor (that produces serotonin)||X||X||DO NOT USE without medical approval**|
Type 2 Precautions
We have seen or heard of very few adverse reactions to this much researched and lauded amino supplement, but here are two that we have seen a few of times.
|Possible Contraindications||Glutamine||Risk Level|
|Rise in a diabetic’s blood sugar: Typically diabetics get improved blood sugar stabilization from glutamine, but on rare occasions they find that it raises blood sugar slightly. Monitor your blood glucose levels while you take this supplement, if you are diabetic. We have seen this ourselves only once.||X||Mild|
|In the brain, glutamine regularly converts into the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, and vice versa. The two keep in proper balance that way, but if too much glutamate is made, an agitated reaction can take place in those who are on the bipolar spectrum (whether they’ve been diagnosed or not). We’ve seen depression relief, or an energy surge five times. We have seen manic reactions twice.||X||Mild to Severe|
Diabetes: Typically diabetics get much improved X Varies blood sugar stabilization from glutamine. But monitor your blood glucose levels while you take this supplement. Only when clients have not reduced or
eliminated their prescribed insulin before taking regular
glutamine doses and decreasing their carb intake
(with their physicians’ approval) have they had adverse reactions.
Some glutamine studies with Type I diabetes
showed a troubling drop in glucose levels at
bedtime after glutamine was given with dinner.
(Glutamine is usually given between meals)
Bipolar spectrum: In the brain, glutamine regularly X Mild to Severe
converts into the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate,
and vice versa. The two keep in proper balance that way,
but, if too much glutamate is made, an agitated reaction or an
energy surge can take place, especially in those who
may be on the bipolar spectrum (whether they’ve
been diagnosed or not). We have seen manic
Glutamine-fueled cancers (e.g. pancreatic): Check
with your oncologist to find out whether your cancer
is fueled by glutamine. If so, with medical approval
keep doses as low as possible if glutamine is needed
to help with hypoglycemic cravings, depression, or
chemo-caused neuropathy. A client with pancreatic
cancer got dramatic neuropathy-relief at 30 grams a day (the
well-researched dose) but got severe pain when she
accidentally took 90 grams one day after two weeks.
She stopped it completely immediately (yet remained
neuropathy-free after that.)
Type 3 Precautions
As you can see in the box below, there are several conditions that might warrant caution or preclude the use of DLPA. One of the two aminos in DLPA, L-phenylalanine, has mildly stimulating properties so we occasionally see some jitteriness in reaction to a trial of DLPA. Any such reaction during your trial would let you know to take DPA instead. Ditto if you have elevated blood pressure. Keep track of your blood pressure if you decide to trial DLPA in that case.
|Possible Contraindications||DLPA||DPA*||Risk Level|
|Hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease)||X||DO NOT USE|
|Melanoma||X||DO NOT USE|
|Manic Tendencies||X||DO NOT USE|
|High Blood Pressure||X||
DO NOT USE without a blood pressure cuff
|Headaches, including Migraines||X||Mild – Moderate|
|Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis||X||Mild – Moderate|
*DPA has not caused any of the above problems, though it can, ocasionally, convert to some LPA and increase energy uncomfortably.
Type 4 Precautions
Note: Infants should not use GABA.
|Possible Contraindications||GABA||Theanine||Risk Level|
|It could cause too much sedation if taken at the same time that you take a GABA-targeted medication, e.g., alcohol, Neurontin (Gabapentin), or benzodiazepines like Klonapin, Ativan, Xanax, or Valium.||
Check with your pharmacist. With your prescriber’s okay, trial 4-6 hrs. away from the medication.
|If your natural blood pressure is really low (under 105/65) or if you are on blood pressure–lowering medication because GABA lowers blood pressure a little.||
(Type 4 aminos can lower blood pressure further and make you lightheaded.) Start at half dose.
Type 5 Precautions
|Possible Contraindications||Tyrosine||LPA||Risk Level|
|Grave’s Disease Hyper (overactive) thyroid (Tyrosine is the central component of all thyroid hormones.)||X||X||DO NOT USE|
|(Never use Type 5 aminos if your illness is active. If your thyroid has been removed or reduced by surgery, ask your doctor’s advice.)|
|Melanoma||X||X||DO NOT USE even in remission|
|without MD advice|
|Bipolar spectrum tendencies: if mania or hypomania is a problem, these aminos can be too stimulating. (And we have not seen them lift bipolar or unipolar depressions.)||X||X||DO NOT USE|
|High blood pressure (on or off medication)||Moderate to severe||Mild to moderate||Monitor your blood pressure, trial them at low doses. (Low doses of LPA are rarely a problem.) DO NOT USE if even low doses cause elevation.|
|Headaches, especially migraines: If you get relief from Imitrex (or any other serotonin-targeted migraine medication) you are more likely to be adversely affected by Type 5 aminos.||Moderate to severe||Mild to moderate||Mild to severe|
|X||Tyrosine is more likely to trigger.|
|Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis||X||X||Moderate to severe|
|These aminos cause jitteriness in 15% of our clients with this condition. (Trial at ½ dose.)|
|Use of stimulant drugs such as caffeine, Adderall, Dexedrine, meth, diet pills, energy drinks, cocaine||X||Overstimulating if Type 5 aminos are used at the same time as these meds. (Good for withdrawing from such meds.)|
|Anti Depressants that target Norepinephrine and/or Dopamine (eg Wellbutrin, or SNRI like Effexor & Cymbalta)||X||X||Check with Prescriber/Pharmacist. Do not use at same time as these meds.|