Amino Acid Therapy for Depression and Weight Loss
Mary Beth Ackerley MD, MDH, ABIHM is a Harvard and Johns Hopkins trained board certified
psychiatrist. Her focus is on Mind Body Spirit using natural therapies and emphasizes an
integrative approach to wellness. In an interview with psychiatrist Dr. Ackerley, the topics
of anti-depressants and the effectiveness of amino acid therapy are explored.
Question: Welcome Dr. Ackerley. As a psychiatrist what are your thoughts on the
effectiveness of anti-depressants?
Dr. Ackerley: First itís important to understand how anti-depressants work. They
recirculate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that are required for mood
regulation and hormonal function. The downside is that these drugs are only able to work
with neurotransmitters that we currently have in our systems. If we are already depleted
we may receive a mild amount of relief but with minimal long term benefit. Since
prescription drugs fail to increase levels of neurotransmitters needed for vibrant health a
person exists in a deficient state.
Question: Are you saying that anti-depressants fail to increase neurotransmitters?
Dr. Ackerley: Yes. Sadly these drugs actually exhaust and deplete neurotransmitters.
Anti-depressants stimulate the circulation of available neurotransmitters which is why
patients initially experience mood elevation. Eventually though, the small pool of
neurotransmitters become worn out and no longer function. This is why patients often
switch to a different drug to gain relief.
Question: There are a lot of people using anti-depressants. Are many of them just
treading water and not really getting a whole lot better?
Dr. Ackerley: Unfortunately this is true. Anti-depressants act as a safety net that provide
initial relief and management of symptoms. Patients are reluctant to stop using them
because they are terrified of returning to prior states of hopelessness and despair. And
with insurance coverage the incentive to seek alternative treatments is low.
Question: This outlook seems rather bleak. Is there a way to find relief from depression?
Dr. Ackerley: Yes there is. Thankfully there is a breakthrough in treatment that has
emerged in the last few years. It is natural, safe, and it fits in with my mission to provide
wholesome methods for achieving wellness.
Question: Thatís exciting. Why hasnít this come out sooner?
Dr. Ackerley: Doctors are discovering different concepts of brain chemistry. Our
understanding of the role of neurotransmitters has dramatically changed. It is exciting
because it means there is much more that can be accomplished in our treatment of
depression. Instead of just recycling low levels of neurotransmitters to attain limited
benefits through the use of drugs, we can build higher levels of neurotransmitters with
amino acid precursors. This is a radical shift in the treatment of depression. I am pleased
because doctors are able to safely provide beneficial brain nutrients to their patients
without the use of harmful drugs.
Question: That is a big accomplishment. How does this actually work?
Dr. Ackerley: Neurotransmitters have many functions in the body. Low levels affect our
moods. They also influence appetite signals, hormones, and weight regulation. There is a
well known correlation between the use of anti-depressants and weight gain. Some
people may gain as much as 15-20 pounds, most likely from neurotransmitter depletion
stimulating the appetite. Women are particularly affected by this.
Question: That makes sense. Are you saying this new amino acid therapy helps with
weight gain, depression, and hormonal issues all at the same time?
Dr. Ackerley: Exactly. The woman who has hormonal issues, has added unwanted
weight, and is depressed from depleted neurotransmitters, has a lot to gain by increasing
amino acids levels. In the past researchers have been aware of this requirement so this is
not new but the breakthrough came from understanding the hierarchy in the bio-chemical
chain that creates neurotransmitter production. By supplying the right balance of amino
acid precursors and cofactors we can increase the available pool of neurotransmitters.
Drugs that treat conditions like Parkinsonís disease have side effects because they end up
tipping the ratios of neurotransmitters. It is important to maintain the right proportion.
Question: Are you saying that this new protocol is a way to supply the right precursors to
make the essential neurotransmitters which operate our many biological systems?
Dr. Ackerley: Thatís correct. The precursors are part of the equation. However, there are
two things required to get everything working properly. First, neurotransmitters need
vitamins, minerals and other precursors to come alive and do their job. Secondly, they
need to be in the right ratios otherwise they canít work properly. Thatís the key to this
protocol. Once balance is established hormones are regulated, we lose weight, mood is
stabilized and other things like PMS disappear.
Question: Thatís remarkable since it helps a number of different conditions. So then why
isnít this better known?
Dr. Ackerley: Up until recently little attention has been paid to naturally replenishing
neurotransmitters because the mechanisms were not well understood. So we are just
catching up to this now. With Parkinsonís disease we know that dopamine helps to
regulate and calm down hand tremors. Giving the patient dopamine helps with the tremor
but the side effect is depression because the serotonin levels are thrown out of whack.
When serotonin and dopamine levels are supplied in the right ratios with amino acid
therapy, depression is no longer an issue, and hand tremors disappear. This is saner than
treating isolated symptoms with drugs, creating another side effect, and then treating the
imbalance with more drugs. I believe medicine will make more headway when it focuses
on the cause of illness instead of various stray symptoms.
Question: It seems this could have broader benefits. What other conditions can be helped
by amino acid therapy?
Dr. Ackerley: There are many applications. We know that obesity is quickly on the rise
in our population. Obesity has many interrelated deleterious effects. It affects the heart,
leads to diabetes, stresses our joints, and reduces productivity and enjoyment of life. The
use of amino acid therapy has been shown to reverse diabetes.
Question: Wait a minute. This is a revolutionary statement. Is there any evidence of this?
Dr. Ackerley: There are over 1.4 million patient hours recorded on a database at the
University of Minnesota. This is the single largest data base they have ever seen. It
clearly shows that amino acid therapy leads to safe and effective weight loss. Weight is a
well known requirement that diabetics need to stabilize and reduce in order to halt insulin
Question: What other conditions are affected by amino acid therapy?
Dr. Ackerley: I recently spoke with a practitioner in Dallas who treated a seven year old
child with ADHD. She administered the amino acid therapy and the child was completely
clear of ADHD within two days. Many months later the child is still symptom free.
Question: Did they do anything else in addition to the amino acids?
Dr. Ackerley: No. They were happy to have these results of course. But often this sort of
thing happens with little publicity. Humanity is moving forward all the time. It is
evolving, changing and growing. We learn new information each day. Eventually it filters
out to the greater population and then it receives more attention. Right now I am pleased
to know there is more room for advancement in the realm of healing and that this new
method holds so much promise.
Question: Thank you. This has been very informative. How might you be reached?
Dr. Ackerley: My website is www.MyPassion4Health.com. It is dedicated to natural health and wellness. The site is evolving and designed to be an educational forum. Also I
can be reached at my clinic in Tucson. The number there is (520) 299-5694. If you want to read more about the neurotransmitter research studies on depression and ADHD mentioned here, please go to www.neuroassist.com.
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