Amino acids are the nutritional powerhouse of the nervous system. They are the cornerstone of emotion, sensory function, focus, and sleep. Your child needs specific ones to succeed.
These are the building blocks of happiness as well as temper tantrums, the key to good behavior and development is balance of our nutrition. Amino acids come from the protein in our diet. Beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, peanut butter, beans, soy, etc are all wonderful sources of protein. However, if our children are carb lovers and don’t eat any protein, you can guarantee an increase in violence and aggression.
The key to a healthy brain is balance. Most kids on the spectrum have an overactive nervous system. This shows itself as Fight OR Flight. Some children are hyperactive and aggressive. Others are anxious and avoid social interactions at all costs. Children who are physically hypersensitive, and those who are ‘sensory-seekers’, all have an over-active nervous system that needs to be calmed down to an average, healthy level. Here’s a description of the Top 5 Amino Acids that calm down the hyperactive nervous system.
GABA – This amino acid is also classified as a neurotransmitter. Some forms of this amino acid cross the BBB (Blood-Brain-Barrier) to increase production of alpha waves, which create a relaxed yet focused mental state. GABA results in a smooth and calm rhythmic flow of electrical impulses in the brain, which create a healthy sense of emotional well being.
5-HTP – This is the precursor to serotonin, which most know as the chemical of happiness. 5-HTP is a metabolite of Tryptophan, commonly referred to as the protein in turkey that makes you tired. 5-HTP increases levels of serotonin and melatonin in the brain regulating healthy mood and behavior.
Theanine – This is the only amino acid that acts as an NMDA antagonist. Many recent research studies show that NMDA antagonists can greatly control behavior. Theanine, naturally occurring in green tea, relaxes the mind without drowsiness.
Taurine – This is the conditionally essential amino acid that is neuroprotective to oxidative damage, and modulates glutamate toxicity. Glutamate is a problematic neuroexcitatory substance that can create uncontrollable hyperactivity in the brain. Taurine also helps maintain healthy GABA levels.
Glycine – This is another relaxing amino acid in the brain, glycine has the beneficial side effect of having a sweet flavor. While we associate sweetness with sugar, this is one of the few proteins that taste sweet without sugar. Glycine can be combined with minerals, such as Magnesium Bisglycinate and Zinc Bisglycinate.
Amino acids work quickly. Many children will respond within one week of taking the correct amino acids. These do metabolize out of the system quickly, and some of the calming effects that are noticed may need a continued boost every 8 hours.
Supplementation of amino acids is far superior to dietary protein. An egg or a chicken nugget or a hot dog takes hours to be processed, and a molecule of protein contains a minimum of a thousand amino acids that need to be digested and absorbed before they can create an effect in the brain and nervous system. An amino acid supplement is immediately absorbed. No digestion is necessary. The benefits can be noticed within ten minutes.
Supplements I use in my practice to achieve quick results are Spectrum Awakening’s Power & Focus as well as Calm & Cool. Both contain effective dosages of the Top 5 Amino Acids to activate health brain chemical production and normal development.
As with all nutritional biomarkers, lab testing is available. Have your child’s amino acids tested. Many children have absent GABA levels in their urine or blood, and many more have low-normal levels of tryptophan, theanine, taurine, and glycine. Amino acid supplementation is quick, easy, and effective. Never give up hope and try anything you can for your child. A better brain is a few amino acids away.