Today I want to talk to you about an amino acid that has really helped me manage feelings of depression, anxiety and trauma.
I write about many different helpful nutrients, and I know it can be overwhelming.
As soon as I realize I'm running low and have just a few capsules left, I order it immediately.
Even though I can live without it, I’d rather not.
Taking it every so often helps my mood and significantly improves the quality of my life.
A subtle sense of “impending doom” starts to creep in when I’ve gone too long without it.
If you struggle with chronic anxiety and depression, you probably know what I’m talking about.
This feeling used to be a lot worse for me.
It felt like a dark cloud was following me around all day, and I just couldn’t shake it.
It’s now gone.
And thankfully, I know exactly how to keep it away.
But life can be tough at times, and things happen.
And that’s why I’m glad I have access to DL-Phenylalanine whenever I need it.
It helps me get through stressful times.
It can get me out of a deep hole like nothing else.
And if you struggle with feelings of trauma, anxiety and depression on a regular basis, it may help you too.
What is DL-Phenylalanine and How Does It Work?
I first learned about phenylalanine in the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.
It’s an essential amino acid that plays a key role in the proper functioning of your nervous system.
If you're deficient in phenylalanine, you can have the following symptoms:
- Memory problems
- Decreased alertness
- Loss of appetite
DL-Phenylalanine, or DLPA for short, is a combination of two different forms of phenylalanine – D-Phenylalanine and L- Phenylalanine.
The D and L forms of phenylalanine have different beneficial effects on your body and brain.
L-Phenylalanine is used as a building block by your body to create a number of important proteins, hormones and neurotransmitters.
This includes dopamine, norepinephrine and thyroid hormone – all of which are necessary for optimal brain and mental function.
Dopamine in particular is very important as it’s the main neurotransmitter that supports your attention and motivation, and plays a key role in the “reward system” of your brain.
D-Phenylalanine, on the other hand, inhibits the breakdown of endorphins.
Endorphins are pain-relieving compounds that originate within your body.
Your brain produces and releases these natural painkillers during times of strenuous exercise, emotional stress and pain.
But D-Phenylalanine has been shown to slow the action of enzymes that destroy these morphine-like substances. By doing this, it can prolong the activity of your endorphins within your nervous system, allowing you feel better for longer (1-6).
How It Can Help You
Together, D and L-Phenylalanine can support your brain and mental health by increasing both dopamine and endorphins levels.
My research and personal experience suggest it can help treat a number of different conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Bipolar disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Drug withdrawal, including alcohol, opiates and psychiatric medication (antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics). If you struggle with any sort of addiction and cravings, I recommend the book End Your Addiction Now by Dr. Charles Gant, MD.
Personally, it helped me the most with depression and anxiety, and there are several studies that show it can improve your mood.
In one study, 20 depressed patients took 200 mg of DLPA everyday. At the end of the 3-week study, 12 patients no longer had depression, and 4 patients experienced mild to moderate improvements in their mood (8).
This makes sense considering that researchers have found that people struggling with depression often have low levels of phenylalanine, and supplementation significantly elevates their mood (9).
In fact, one study found that DLPA is just as effective as standard antidepressants (but without side effects), and another found that people who don’t respond to common antidepressants often get significantly better when they take DLPA (10, 11).
By building up your natural endorphin production, DLPA doesn’t just help reduce physical pain – but mental pain as well.
When I first started taking DLPA, it was such a relief. I was so glad I had found it.
I notice it makes me:
- More comfortable, happy and satisfied with my life;
- More relaxed and calmer every time I take it;
- Less moody and irritable;
- Less likely to take things so seriously; and
- Less reactive to negative events and situations.
Overall, it lifts my mood and reduces emotional sensitivity. Life becomes less intense. I’m not as sensitive to the world around me. I would definitely recommend it to others who also have “sensory processing sensitivity”.
And eventually, DLPA helped me successfully wean off multiple psychiatric medications. Along with some other supplements, it played a critical role in making the withdrawal process as smooth as possible.
Other Success Stories
I understand that you might be thinking that perhaps DLPA won’t help you like it helped me.
And I can't guarantee that it will.
But I did some digging and found a number of other people online who say that DLPA has also helped them manage or overcome their mental health issues.
I’ve gathered their comments below and bolded anything that I can personally relate to or I have experienced while taking it:
- “Suffering from severe post-traumatic stress, I've tried any number of natural products as the chemical cocktails handed out by conventional medicine are simply not acceptable to me. After my first dose of 1000mg DLPA, my depression lifted and trauma reactions (flashbacks and hyperviligence) significantly reduced. I've been taking this for a couple months now and there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. It has almost completely reversed my suicidal tendencies which were increasing regularly; they are now practically nonexistent. This product has truly saved my life.”
- “My brain finally feels at rest and the anxiety has greatly decreased, and I can get on with my life. DLPA is my lifesaver. I will be taking this for as long as I need to.”
- “DLPA has been a huge help to me. I have type 1 bipolar and this has helped me more than anything I have ever tried. I will buy more and I also take more than 1. I take 2 to 3 a day and it calms my mind like nothing else ever has.”
- “My husband is mildly bipolar. We've decided to try to treat him naturally and phenylalanine is one of the treatments. He only takes this on an "as needed" basis, which turns out to be at least two days per week. He has other regular supplements he takes daily. This is only for "extra support" on bad days. And it really works.”
- “DLPA is a key factor in improving my anxiety, depression and ADHD more than any of the several medications I have taken over the last 10 years.”
- “I take DLPA first thing in the morning and it literally helps me get out of bed, get focused and get the day going with a positive attitude.”
- “I honestly felt a difference right away. I was suddenly happy and smiling non-stop. I truly had a sparkle in my eye and I felt talkative and social. After a few hours the feeling wore off but I still felt an inner sense of content. It has helped with feelings of anxiety as well which is a plus.”
- “Wow, what a difference! I have been so relieved from all those false moods that I can honestly say I am happy, alive and free.”
- “I use this daily for the treatment of mild depression. I do notice a difference while on it. I went off of it briefly and felt as if someone had let some air out of my balloon, just kind of deflated.”
- “I have suffered with extreme depression and anxiety since I was 13 (I’m now 42). I have gone through many different prescription/herbal/clinical therapies, and this product has been life-changing in a very short time. This has given me energy and focus I never had, a zest for life, an ability to handle stresses. I tell my husband (who keeps mentioning what a huge difference he has noticed) that this must be how "normal" people live.”
It absolutely blows my mind that more people aren’t aware of DLPA’s incredible and diverse benefits.
Clearly, it should be a first-line treatment for depression and anxiety.
Yet I was never told about it, and it took me years to finally discover it.
Both work very well in my experience.
There are a number of other brands with good reviews, but I personally can’t vouch for them.
Make sure you get a combination of both D and L-Phenylalanine. I tried L-Phenylalanine alone once and it didn’t help me as much.
In theory, it’s also a good idea to take it alongside P-5-P (bioactive Vitamin B6) and Vitamin C because they help with the conversion of phenylalanine to dopamine. However, in my experience, it doesn’t make that big of a difference. I feel the benefits with and without taking B6 and C.
You should start with 500-750 mg each day and monitor how you feel. You will have to experiment and figure out the ideal dosage for you. You may even need up to 1,500 mg daily.
But the benefits seem to increase over the time. The more you take it, the more you can feel it’s effects.
Lastly, make sure you take it on an empty stomach. Do not take it with high-protein foods. Other amino acids (such as tryptophan) can compete with phenylalanine, and reduce its absorption and transportation across the blood-brain barrier.
Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are not your only options for depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, much of the so-called “science” behind mainstream psychiatric drugs is untrustworthy and fraudulent, and other safe and effective treatment options are often ignored by conventional medicine.
DL-Phenylalanine is one of these other options.
I can’t promise it will work for everyone, but since it’s easily accessible through Amazon and iHerb. It’s worth a try if you suffer from depression and anxiety. Experiment with it and listen to how you feel.
None of them have to work completely.
But all together, they can make a huge difference and change the course of your life like they have mine.
Check out my Getting Off Psychiatric Drugs program if you're currently looking for ways to improve your mental health. The program is meant for people coming off psychiatric drugs, but even if you're not, the strategies within it can powerfully improve your mental health.