How to Fight Alzheimer's Disease with Intranasal Insulin

A woman spraying insulin up her cose with an intranasal bottle.

Today I want to discuss "intranasal insulin", a cutting-edge therapy that could help a lot of people. 

Neurologists and psychiatrists tend to undervalue the impact of hormones originating outside the brain.

Until modern medicine treats the entire body as one unified system – like functional medicine practitioners do – people will continue to lose faith in conventional practitioners and look elsewhere for solutions to their chronic brain and mental health problems. 

As Dr. Suzanne Craft, Ph.D, Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, explains:

People are now starting to understand the critical interaction between the brain and the body and that many of the peptides and hormones produced in the body have very substantial roles to play in the brain. I think we’re at the beginning of a very exciting era in which we’re going to be able to start putting together these systems to understand Alzheimer’s disease, which is clearly a disease of the entire organism, not just of the brain.

Insulin is one of the hormones that significantly affects brain function.

It's been shown to pass the blood-brain barrier and act on insulin receptors directly within the brain (3, 4). 

Not only does our body produce and release it, but it can also be taken as a medication, particularly for the treatment of diabetes (1, 2). 

Researchers have found that insulin has “neurotrophic, neuromodulatory, and neuroprotective effects” by:

  • Promoting neuronal growth;

  • Regulating the levels of certain neurotransmitters;

  • Increasing brain energy levels (ATP in your mitochondria);

  • Increasing blood flow in the brain;

  • Preventing dopaminergic neuron loss;

  • Reducing inflammation in the brain; and

  • Protecting against oxidative stress in the brain by restoring antioxidants and energy metabolism (5-13).

Insulin in the dictionary.
In the brain, insulin has a number of roles to play. It promotes glucose uptake in the neurons of the hippocampal formation and the frontal lobes, areas that are involved in memory. Insulin also strengthens the synaptic connections between brain cells, helping to form new memories. In addition, insulin regulates the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays an important role in learning and memory.
— Dr. Suzanne Craft, Ph.D

So, it clearly does a lot in the brain, and research shows that it can be therapeutic for a number of mental health conditions, particularly Alzheimer’s disease

In a new therapeutic approach, commercially-available insulin (Novalin R) is prepared and added to nasal spray bottleslike this one – and sprayed and inhaled through the nose to support brain and mental health. 

Dr. William Banks, Professor of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, says there are more than 100 different intranasal compounds that are being tested for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

“Intranasal insulin” is just one of them, and it’s one of the more promising ones, as it’s been reported to significantly enhance memory, increase mental energy, reduce brain fog, improve mood, and lower anxiety and stress levels

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The Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease, Insulin and Diabetes

Many of the brain health experts I’ve talked to are convinced that Alzheimer’s disease should actually be called "Type 3 diabetes".

This is because diabetes and insulin are closely linked to cognitive decline and dementia

Many studies show that diabetes is associated with an increased risk of cognitive dysfunction, and people with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment than non-diabetics (14-21). 

Researchers have also found that insulin declines in the brain as people age, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease often have insulin resistance and reduced levels of insulin in their brains (25-30)

But what if insulin deficiency is detected in the brain, and then insulin is supplied to the brain, could neurodegeneration and the development of dementia be prevented? And could the progression of existing Alzheimer’s disease be halted?

The answers to these questions appears to be yes:

  • Diabetic patients who take insulin have improved memory and reduced rates of Alzheimer’s disease;

  • Elderly diabetics who take insulin have less severe Alzheimer’s disease compared with non-diabetics;

  • Insulin improves cognition and memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease; and

  • Insulin prevents and reverses brain degeneration and cognitive impairment in diabetic animals (22-24).

Check out the below video to learn more from one of the leading researchers in the field: 

Cutting-Edge Research Shows That Intranasal Insulin Improves Cognition and Memory

The intranasal route of insulin administration provides direct access to the cerebrospinal fluid and brain.

This allows insulin to directly enter the brain from the nose, and bind to receptors within specific areas of the brain that are involved in memory and cognition (42). 

Insulin receptors in the brain are found in high densities in the hippocampus, a region that is fundamentally involved in the acquisition, consolidation, and recollection of new information.

An increasing amount of research has been published over the last ten years, demonstrating that intranasal insulin can significantly improve cognition, attention, memory and overall brain function in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (31-33, 38-39, 43-45). 

In fact, there are over 30 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials showing that it’s effective at improving memory, learning and cognitive performance in humans (34-37). 

Illustration of how intranasal insulin works.

Yet most people aren’t aware of it, and doctors aren’t prescribing it, while millions of people suffer from dementia

One study found that it improved objective biomarkers of neurodegeneration, including amyloid deposits and tau pathology, in people with Alzheimer’s disease within a few months. In the group of patients that didn’t receive intranasal insulin, brain function continued to deteriorate (40). 

In another study, researchers gave intranasal insulin to 104 adults with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. At the end of the 4-month study, the participants who received insulin had significantly better memory and cognitive function compared to the group who didn’t receive insulin (41). 

The researchers also found that the improvements in cognition were correlated with improvements in objective biomarkers, and concluded that “intranasal insulin therapy can help to stabilize, slow, or possibly even reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease (41). 

Because of the promising research so far, the US government is currently funding a two-year long clinical trial to see if intranasal insulin will help 240 people with Alzheimer’s disease. Results from the Study of Nasal Insulin in the Fight Against Forgetfulness (SNIFF) are expected to be released in 2017. 

And intranasal insulin doesn’t just help elderly people with dementia. It’s also been shown to improve memory in younger, healthy individuals (46-51). 

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Intranasal Insulin and Other Brain and Mental Health Disorders

Alzheimer’s disease isn’t the only brain and mental health condition that can benefit from intranasal insulin. 

Here are some others:

  • ADHD and drug addiction – Insulin affects dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter linked to both these conditions (52).

  • Depression, anxiety and anger – In one study, 38 healthy people took intranasal insulin for 8 weeks and experienced enhanced mood, increased self-confidence and reduced anger. Another study found that it affected heart-rate variability (53, 59).

  • Stroke – Researchers point out that “intranasally administered insulin possesses many of the ideal properties for acute stroke neuroprotection” (54, 62).

  • Bipolar disorder – One study found that intranasal insulin significantly improved executive function in patients with bipolar disorder (55).

  • Neurodevelopmental disorder – Two studies have found that intranasal insulin improves cognition, autonomy, motor activity, nonverbal communication, social skills and developmental functioning of children and adults with a rare neurodevelopmental disorder (Phelan-McDermid syndrome) (57, 58).

  • Overall brain function – “Intranasal insulin appears to restore complex neural networking in the direction of normalization”. In other words, it seems to “reboot” the brain (56).

  • Parkinson’s disease and Down Syndrome – There is no evidence for this yet but there are ongoing trials looking into whether intranasal insulin could help people with these conditions (60, 61).

Safety of Intranasal Insulin and How to Try It Yourself

Numerous studies show that intranasal insulin is incredibly safe and does not cause any significant adverse side effects. The only minor side effects I came across were dizziness, nose bleeding and mild rhinitis, but these were rare (63-65). 

This is because unlike regular insulin administration, intranasal insulin only affects the nose and brain. It doesn’t enter the bloodstream, change insulin levels throughout the entire body, or cause low blood sugar (66-83). 

Overall, I believe the benefits outweigh the risks and it’s worth trying, especially if you’re struggling with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease. It may be another decade or more until the research trickles down and reaches your doctor’s office. Research shows that it takes about 17 years for new scientific evidence to be implemented in clinical practice

However, I’m not a doctor and you should definitely talk to your doctor about this if you’re considering trying it. If you have an open-minded doctor, perhaps they will support you in trying it. Don’t be surprised if they dismiss the idea entirely though. 

With that said, you can easily and legally buy insulin yourself. It’s available over the counter without a prescription at any pharmacy (in the US and Canada). Pharmacists hold it behind the counter and you just have to walk up and ask for “Novolin R.” In Canada, it’s called “Novolin Toronto.”

It’s that simple. You don’t need to provide personal identification or sign anything. It costs about $30.

After that, you can get a nasal spray bottle - like this one or this one

Then, use pliers to carefully remove the rubber cap from the insulin vial, and pour the insulin into the spray bottle. 

At this point, you’re ready to use it. Make sure to keep it in the fridge when you're not using it. 

Again, I’m not a doctor. So talk to your doctor about this before trying it. But I feel this is worth sharing and writing about considering it has massive potential to help many people who are struggling day-to-day. 

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Dosage

Each spray from the nasal bottle is 0.1mL or 10IU of insulin. 

Dosages in human studies range from 10IU to 160IU (1 to 16 sprays) daily. 

In the longest lasting study, participants took either 20 IU (2 sprays) or 40IU (4 sprays) of insulin daily for four months (86). 

So, if you’re going to try it, I wouldn’t take more than 40IU (4 sprays) for longer than 4 months.

However, participants in the ongoing SNIFF trial have been taking intranasal insulin for more than one year, so once the results from that study are released in 2017, my recommendation may change. 

Overall, self-experimentation is necessary to find the correct dosage that works best for you. 

Conclusion

Intranasal insulin is a very impressive and exciting substance, and the lack of side effects is encouraging. 

If you’re looking to improve your memory and brain function and avoid Alzheimer’s disease, it’s definitely worth considering and talking to your doctor about it. 

An elderly man sprays intranasal insulin up his nose.

All that’s needed is:

I’m aware that this might be little bit “out there” for some people, but I think it has the potential to help a lot of people reach optimal brain and mental health. 

Please share with anyone who is struggling with cognitive impairment or the early signs of dementia because it isn't a very well known treatment. 

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Jordan Fallis

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References:

(1) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-003-1153-1

(2) http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/11/957.short

(3) http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/edrv-13-3-387

(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26401706

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750214/

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191295/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750214/

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22586589

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18348871

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23907764

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26040423

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26777890

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391678/

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191295/

(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22201977/

(16) http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/54/5/1264?ijkey=3186b318b004c253abda2b3f67535508da9fa50a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

(17) http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/63/7/2253?ijkey=5cc5fc39ea0a601c551a668d0829247222ae292e&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

(18) http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/20/3/438

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11678970

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10647755

(21) http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com/article/S1552-5260(13)02918-X/abstract

(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750215/

(23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23565496/

(24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22201977/

(25) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17049785?dopt=Abstract

(26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17430239/

(27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16340083/

(28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743662/

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18549783

(30) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750215

(31) http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/106378

(32) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40263-013-0076-8

(33) http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/1107947

(34) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25008180/

(35) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16266773

(36) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260944/

(37) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21883804

(38) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22710630?dopt=Abstract

(39) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911655?dopt=Abstract

(40) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743662/

(41) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/219116/

(42) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443484/

(43) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804944/

(44) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17942819/

(45) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23507773

(46) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20719831/

(47) http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(04)00052-6/abstract

(48) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712

(49) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712?dopt=Abstract

(50) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19091002?dopt=Abstract

(51) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391678/

(52) http://www.news-medical.net/news/2007/10/18/31385.aspx

(53) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712

(54) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828994/

(55) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107220

(56) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25249577

(57) http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v24/n12/full/ejhg2016109a.html

(58) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18948358

(59) http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/63/12/4083.long

(60) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02064166

(61) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02432716

(62) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26040423

(63) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25374101

(64) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18948358

(65) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25374101

(66) http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/jc.2007-2606

(67) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743662/

(68) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743662/

(69) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719722?dopt=Abstract

(70) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712?dopt=Abstract

(71) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19091002?dopt=Abstract

(72) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26777890

(73) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712

(74) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11992114

(75) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26855666

(76) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12951650

(77) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288712

(78) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804944/

(79) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12951650

(80) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107220

(81) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24101698

(82) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25337926

(83) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25374101

(84) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20876713

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(86) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911655

Medically reviewed by Dr. Fred Hui, MD, CCFP, CAFC

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The Best Amino Acid for Depression, Anxiety and Pain

An illustration of a woman worrying and ruminating.

Today I want to talk to you about one of the best amino acids that has really helped me manage feelings of depression, anxiety and trauma.

I write about many different helpful nutrients and supplements, and I know it can be overwhelming. 

So I want to dedicate this post to one amino acid, because I feel like it’s helped me more than any other (even more than n-acetyl-cysteine). 

As soon as I realize I'm running low and have just a few capsules left, I order it immediately because it gives me so many benefits.

Even though I can live without it, I’d rather not.

A man sitting on the edge of a cliff, depressed and worrying. Clouds are above him and raining down on him.

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 (DLPA) 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 (DLPA) 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:

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • 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:

  • Depression

  • 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). 

And even if you take medication, research shows that combining DLPA with antidepressants leads to greater increases in mood than simply taking an antidepressant alone (12).

Yet unlike antidepressants, you can feel the effects of DLPA quickly (within a few hours) and in some cases, it can “terminate depression within 2 to 3 days” (13).

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My Experience

By building up your natural endorphin production, DLPA doesn’t just help reduce physical pain – but mental pain as well.

I'm currently taking this DLPA.

I'm currently taking this DLPA.

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. 

I used to take 500 mg every day. Currently, I only need 500 mg once or twice each week, mainly because neurofeedback, low-level laser therapy and EMDR have helped me so much.

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.

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Where to Get It and How to Take It

I currently take this DL-Phenylalanine

I've also taken this one at one point.

I've also taken this DLPA and it works. It's currently less expensive than others through Amazon.

I've also taken this DLPA and it works. It's currently less expensive than others through Amazon.

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 Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C because they help with the conversion of phenylalanine to dopamine.

You should start with 500-750 mg each day and monitor how you feel. You will have to experiment and figure out your ideal DLPA dosage. The DLPA dosage for depression, pain or anxiety can vary. 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. 

Also, 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.

Lastly, this anti-anxiety supplement includes several other natural compounds and amino acids that have helped me manage my anxiety over the years. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, along with DL-Phenylalanine

Conclusion

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. 

A person’s hand and it says “I am stronger than depression.”

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, it’s worth a try if you suffer from depression and anxiety. Experiment with it and listen to how you feel. 

And like I have, I encourage you to use as many tools as you can to help yourself, including nutrition, supplements, exercise, neurofeedback, light therapy, etc. The list goes on and on. 

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.

Enjoy This Article? You Might Also Like My FREE Food Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health!

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Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

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2 Affordable Biofeedback Devices That Will Help You Focus and Relax At Home

Image displaying how biofeedback works.

Technology is often blamed for causing us stress and inattention.

But what if technology could solve these problems?

There is an increasing amount of accessible biofeedback devices and machines available today that can actually help you reduce anxiety and increase your concentration. Yet a lot of people don't know about them. 

Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of how your body is functioning. By doing this, you learn how to change and manipulate your body and brain at will.  

I’ve already discussed how neurofeedback dramatically altered my brain function for the better.  

But neurofeedback is just one form of biofeedback, and there are lots of different types of biofeedback equipment available today. 

This article explores my two favourite biofeedback devices that I’ve used and continue to use at home on a daily basis to maintain optimal brain and mental health. 

1. The Muse Headband

Neurofeedback has been the best investment of my entire life. But when I first wrote about it, I got a lot of messages and comments from people expressing their disappointment that neurofeedback isn’t available in their area. Or that it's simply too expensive!

I understand that. You have bills to pay and children to support. If it's between putting food on your plate or doing some strange brain training, it makes sense that you'll choose the former and forget the latter. 

But that doesn't mean you can't experience the benefits of clinical neurofeedback through other technologies.

In my experience, the Muse headband is an excellent substitution that can help you increase your mental resilience. 

Muse is a brain-sensing headband that accurately monitors and measures your brainwaves, just like neurofeedback, but in the comfort of your own home.

As I discussed in my article about neurofeedback, your brain is constantly generating electrical signals. These signals can be detected from outside your head, via electroencephalography (EEG) sensors. Doctors and scientists have used this technology for more than 100 years to study the brain.

The Muse headset has seven EEG sensors that pick up the electrical activity of your brain while you meditate. 

How The Muse Works and How It Can Help You

The Muse headset rests across your forehead and tucks behind your ears.

The Muse headset rests across your forehead and tucks behind your ears.

During each meditation session, the Muse headband sends your brainwave data to your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

The Muse app then quickly analyzes this data, and determines whether your mind is relaxed or active. It then provides you with instant feedback through your mobile phone.

The feedback comes in the form of auditory weather sounds. When you’re calm and focused, you’ll hear sounds of peaceful weather through your phone, such as gentle waves and chirping birds. But when your mind is wandering, the weather will become more turbulent and you’ll hear loud wind and crashing waves, reminding you to relax and refocus.

After each session, the app will display the percentage of time you spent in a calm, neutral or active state of mind.

In other words, the Muse is a mental health wearable that lets you hear what’s going on inside your mind so that you can learn to naturally guide yourself to a calmer, focused state. 

Jordan Fallis wearing Muse headband.

To do this, you typically need multiple sensors attached to your head and thousands of dollars of professional neurofeedback equipment. That’s why many physicians, researchers and educators are extremely interested in the Muse.

Over 100 universities and institutes including Harvard are running clinical trials with the device. The Denver Public School system has already implemented a pilot program using the Muse in classrooms to help children with ADHD and other learning difficulties. And the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to test the product’s efficacy in managing the symptoms of PTSD. 

If you’re interested in trying it, you can get it through Amazon or the Muse website

If you truly struggle with anxiety and lack of concentration, I think it’s money well-spent. It costs about the same as several therapy sessions, but the Muse is much more helpful because, unlike psychologists and psychiatrists, it provides instant feedback on the functioning of your brain and doesn't push medication on you. Plus, you only need one headband for your household because more than one person is able to use the same headset.

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My Experience with the Muse and How It’s Similar to Clinical Neurofeedback

I bought the Muse headband late last year after it was recommended to me by my neurofeedback practitioner here in Ottawa.

Based on further research, it appears to be the most effective and affordable EEG device on the market. It's very accurate, easy to use and immediately picks up when your mind wanders. I use it for 10-20 minutes, five to seven days each week. 

Because of my intensive clinical neurofeedback training, I get very high scores on Muse.  I usually get at least 95% calm during each session. During the above session, I got 99% calm.

Because of my intensive clinical neurofeedback training, I get very high scores on Muse. I usually get at least 95% calm during each session. During the above session, I got 99% calm.

The Muse headband may not be as tailored and profound as working with a neurofeedback practitioner, but it’s very similar. And with consistent practice and patience, you can reach similar levels of calm and experience many of the same cognitive benefits that you would with neurofeedback (without having to pay thousands of dollars for it). In fact, it’s signal quality has been shown to be almost as accurate as expensive clinical-grade EEG neurofeedback equipment (12). 

As you train with the Muse on a regular basis, you'll get better at managing your brain waves and become more centered and focused over time. Because of neurofeedback and the Muse, I have a consistent sense of being in the present moment, rather than being lost in thoughts about the past or future.

I still recommend clinical neurofeedback training over the Muse, as it’s the fastest way to make mental progress. But if you can’t access or afford neurofeedback, the Muse is an excellent substitute that packs traditional EEG technology into a small and cheaper device. 

My neurofeedback practitioner actually suggests that some people may only need consistent practice with the Muse. Depending on the patient and the results of their "brain mapping," she'll sometimes recommend the Muse instead of neurofeedback training at her clinic. 

However, this isn’t the case for everyone. The Muse wouldn’t have been enough for me. I personally needed clinical neurofeedback training, and others likely do too. But the Muse is definitely a good place to start. You can get it here or here.

If you decide to get the Muse Headband, you should also consider downloading the third-party EEG monitoring app called the “Muse Monitor” app. It's a third-party EEG monitoring app that displays all of your brainwaves (alpha, beta, theta, etc.) and their patterns on your phone in real time. 

This app has allows me to test and experiment with different nootropic supplements and monitor how they affect my brain waves, something I was unable to do in the clinic with my neurofeedback practitioner. I plan on writing more about those experiments later. 

 

2. The EmWave2

When you experience stressful emotions such as tension, anxiety, irritation, or anger, your heart rhythm becomes irregular and incoherent, negatively affecting your health and brain function. When you experience positive emotions such as appreciation, care, joy and love, your heart rhythm is more ordered and coherent.

The EmWave2 trains you to change your heart rhythm pattern and reach a state of coherence. When you are in a coherent state, there is harmony between your heart, brain and nervous system. Your psychological and physiological bodily functions are balanced, and your parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” nervous system becomes dominant.

Overall, high coherence is like “being in the zone” – a simultaneous state of calm relaxation and energized alertness. And the EmWave2 helps you get there. 

How EmWave2 Works

The EmWave2 is a small handheld device about the size of an iPod. It collects your pulse through a pulse sensor, measures your heart rhythm, guides you to breathe in and out every five seconds, and determines if your nervous system is in a “coherent” or “incoherent” state. 

HeartMath devices, coherence and incoherence.

If you’re completely stressed, the EmWave2 will give you feedback in the form of a red light, letting you know that you’re in an incoherent state. The device will then provide guidance you so that you can consciously increase your coherence. Once your heart rate and breathing are synchronized, the EmWave2 will give you positive feedback in the form of a green light, letting you know that you’ve reached a coherent state. As you get used to the device, it becomes a challenge to see how high you can score on the coherence scale. Higher coherence scores indicate that you are in a more relaxed state of mind.

The EmWave2 is being used by over 10,000 different health care professionals in the U.S., including 65 veteran administration hospitals and clinics for the treatment of PTSD.

Dr. Lawrence Rosen, an Integrative Pediatrician at the Whole Child Center, says he uses the EmWave2 with his patients that struggle with anxiety:

I teach my anxious and stressed patients really simple little breathing techniques, and we work on synchronizing their breathing with their heartbeat. Not only do they feel more relaxed, but the body’s physiology changes. We can measure hormone levels that show that the body is in a less stressed state. I’ve used it on people as young as 3 years old and up to 103.
— Dr. Lawrence Rosen, MD

My Experience with the EmWave2 and How It Could Help You

I’ve been using the EmWave2 for over a year now and it works. Increasing my coherence has had a number of mental and emotional and benefits. When I have a high degree of coherence, I am able to focus while remaining physically and emotionally calm.

I use the EmWave2 twice every day for just five to ten minutes. After using it, it feels like there has been a positive internal shift within my body. It’s hard to explain exactly. But when I stop using it, I notice I feel less content and fall into negative attitudes and mindsets much more easily.

If you're interested in trying the EmWave2, you can get it through Amazon or the HeartMath website.

Here are some of the main benefits you may notice from using it:

  • Less stress and anxietyThe EmWave2 will help turn down your “fight or flight” response. If you struggle with generalized anxiety or chronic stress like I used to, I highly recommend this device (and supplementary zinc and magnesium). It won’t stop stress and anxiety completely, but it will definitely reduce the amount you experience, increase your resilience to it and help you cope with it when it does hit you. I use it when I find myself in an anxious state of mind. It shifts my mindset into a calmer state.

  • Improved mood – When you have low heart coherence, you’re more likely to be stuck in a stressed and depressed state of mind. In my experience, the EmWave2 can help you snap out of it and regain an emotionally-balanced mood and optimistic outlook.

  • Improved cognitive performance – Anxiety and depression can cause poor cognition. I noticed this for many years. Whenever I wasn’t feeling mentally well, my performance suffered and it was hard for me to think straight and be productive. That’s because stress shuts down the prefrontal cortex. The EmWave2 can increase the efficiency and functioning of your nervous system, which reduces stress and helps reactivate your brain’s higher-order functions. My focus has improved since I started using it.

Without some sort of biofeedback, it’s hard to know when you’re coherent or incoherent. The EmWave2 will tell you when you’re in an incoherent state, and then guide you so that you can consciously get yourself out of it.  

At first, you may get really low coherence scores and find it incredibly frustrating. I went through the same thing. But you need to give it some time. These devices are long-term healing strategies, not quick-fixes. Getting the most out of the device will require a commitment to use it on a regular basis because the benefits appear over time. And if it doesn't end up helping you, you can return it for a refund.

 

Conclusion

As I’ve said before, cognitive problems and mental illness are multi-faceted. There are many underlying problems and multiple fixes. But regulating your nervous system and brainwaves is a big part of it, and these devices (along with neurofeedback) have allowed me to make huge strides:

Unfortunately, your health insurance won’t cover them. The pharmaceutical industry would lose a lot of money if everyone had access to these biofeedback technologies. Profits are the foundation of the broken medical system, not human health. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take control of your own brain and mental health starting today. 

Please let me know what you think in the comments, and share with anyone you think might benefit because a lot of people don’t know about these types of biofeedback technologies.

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Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

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