More fun with amino acids and neurotransmitters!

It’s no great secret that my brain is somewhat defective, and that I respond better to holistic treatment than medication, at least over time. A regimen of SAMe has done a bang-up job of helping my depression. I didn’t have nearly the usual problem with seasonal depression last winter. On the other hand, I’ve continued to suffer from anxiety. A few months ago, I switched to a lower-stress job without the panic-inducing commute. I had hoped this would resolve my anxiety, but that hasn’t been the case.

Chill AF, but not that productive.
Chill AF, but sadly not that productive.

Since the depression responded so well to supplements, I’ve been researching options for anxiety.  I used to drink Yogi’s “Kava Stress Relief” tea. One cup did induce a “calm, relaxed and focused” state. However, two cups turned me into a human koala. Also, taking a lot of kava, especially combined with alcohol, can trash your liver. I happen to like my liver. So I will probably keep some on hand for emergencies, but won’t drink it on the regular.

My heart will go on... without coffee or booze.
My heart will go on… without coffee or booze.

It looks like it’s time to (GRUDGINGLY!) give up alcohol and caffeine again. Even moderate caffeine aggravates anxiety, and alcohol doesn’t play nicely with anything that might help it. This makes my bourbon, wine, craft beer and coffee lovin’ heart sad. The heart wants what it wants, you know? But my heart is up against the United Organs of My Brain and Liver. Sorry, heart. You lose this round.

My research uncovered a likely suspect worth testing. L-Theanine has a “moderate evidence” rating, which means “several well-designed studies in humans have shown positive benefit.” Like SAMe, it doesn’t have any known side effects, so it’s not going to make anything worse. There’s also some science-y stuff regarding alpha waves, GABA and dopamine levels, and unlike most anti-anxiolytics, it doesn’t have a sedative effect.

You can take supplements of L-Theanine, but it’s a naturally-occurring amino acid. Guess where it’s naturally found? Black and green tea. Eight cups of black tea have the same amount you’d get in most supplements. Of course, tea also has caffeine, so you need to drink decaf. But how hilarious would it be if all I needed to do to stop my brain from freaking out was switch from coffee to (decaf) tea?

It reminds me of the episode of Doctor Who where the Tenth Doctor is recovering from regeneration. A flask of tea straightens him out, thanks to the effects of “super heated free radicals and tannins” on his synapses. Evidently the British are on to something there.

So, yeah.  TL:DR version: Bye-bye bourbon and coffee, because apparently I’m a Time Lord.

7 Comments


  1. ·

    The 10th doc looks and ACTS JUST like my hubby. Funny, I HATED that doctor when he first came on. Now I know why. HA HA! I keep thinking I need to dress him in the brown outfit and take him somewhere! Sorry to hear you are having some troubles. It sounds silly, but have your tried a chiropractor who does reflexology? Our guy is a miracle worker. I have had undiagnosed asthma for decades. Tired of taking the steroid inhaler, I bypassed our family doc. Guess who figured out that it is allergy induced, gave me three supplements, and instantly cleared it all up? The list could go on with our youngest son and his intermittent sleep issues. Our guy can “feel” what’s wrong. Maybe there’s someone like that in your area (or you can road trip up to NWI). 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kat
      ·

      That’s awesome. You should definitely dress up your DH and take him to a Con. 🙂

      I’ve been pleased with my latest behavioral health NP. There’s a naturopath MD in the area I’ve heard good things about, so I might give him a shot of the diet and supplement changes don’t pan out.

      It’s weird that sometimes “specialists” like your chiro and my BHNP take a more “whole life” view of their patients than your GP or family doctor. :/ Or at least, it’s interesting.

      Reply
  2. Chris
    ·

    So you’re gonna drink eight cups of tea a day? I guess we’ll be stocking up on the TP and budgeting a little more for the water bill…

    Reply
    1. Kat
      ·

      I didn’t say I was going to drink 8 cups of tea per day. I said that would be the equivalent of a 200 mg supplement.

      Reply
    1. Kat
      ·

      Ha! Yeah, I think my secret is out. If I was a Time Lord, I think instead of a police box my TARDIS would be a vintage camper.

      Still bigger on the inside, naturally.

      What would your TARDIS be? Hmmm?

      Reply

      1. ·

        Good question! It would be a tiny house, of course! Storybook Style tiny house. 🙂

        Reply

Leave a Reply