Anyone who’s struggled with addiction knows firsthand how powerful alcohol and drugs can be when ingested. However, what they may not realize is the extent to which some foods and beverages can be just as powerful. What you consume can impact your health and well-being in many ways, especially during the addiction recovery process.
The highest quality treatment facilities make nutrition a point of emphasis during the recovery process. And this is where amino acids can play an important role in your quest to recover.
What Is an Amino Acid?
Technically speaking, amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. Essentially, they’re the building blocks of life. Your body uses amino acids to make proteins that:
- Repair body tissue
- Break down food
- Help you physically grow
Amino acids are used in every cell of your body to build the proteins you need to survive. Of the 20 amino acids that have been discovered functioning within the human body, nine are defined as essential and can only be obtained through your diet.
Because of this, identifying the areas in which your body is lacking in nutrition is an essential component to the recovery process. When you can detect deficiencies, you can better adjust your amino acid intake and properly repair your physical well-being from the inside out.
What Do Amino Acids Do for the Body?
The nine essential amino acids that are obtained through proper diet and provide essential benefits to your entire body include:
- Phenylalanine: This amino acid plays a vital role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids.
- Valine: Valine helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration and is involved in energy production.
- Threonine: This amino acid is an important component of the skin and connective tissue. Threonine also plays a role in fat metabolism and immune function.
- Tryptophan: Tryptophan is needed to maintain proper nitrogen balance and is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep and mood.
- Methionine: Methionine plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification and is necessary for tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium — minerals that are vital to your health.
- Leucine: This amino acid is critical for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulate wound healing and produce growth hormones.
- Isoleucine: Isoleucine is involved in muscle metabolism and is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue. It’s important for immune function, hemoglobin production and energy regulation.
- Lysine: Lysine plays a major role in protein synthesis, hormone and enzyme production and the absorption of calcium. Lysine is also important for energy production, immune function and the production of collagen and elastin.
- Histidine: Histidine is used to produce histamine, a neurotransmitter that’s vital to immune response, digestion, sexual function and sleep-wake cycles. Histidine is also critical for maintaining the myelin sheath, a protective barrier that surrounds your nerve cells.
These vital functions enable your body to not only exist but to also repair itself and rebalance your physical health and emotional well-being after addiction.
What Are the Health Benefits of Amino Acids?
Primarily, the health benefits of amino acids — and, in particular, the nine essential amino acids obtained through a proper diet — are restorative and regenerative properties that are essential to a recovering addict.
Due to the destructive elements associated with drug and alcohol addiction, repairing the body from a cellular level is critical to achieving long-term success and sobriety.
Some of the more noticeable health benefits associated with amino acids include:
- Increased muscle repair and growth
- Decreased fatigue
- Improved outcomes for liver disease
This last one is particularly important to anyone who’s struggled with a substance use disorder. The damage that an addiction can inflict on your liver is a primary concern for many individuals overcoming their disease.
Being able to address this physical issue through a holistic approach enables you to heal the issue in a safe and sustainable way.
Do Amino Acids Help With Mental Health?
Amino acids are instrumental in supporting sound mental health, especially during a trying period like addiction recovery. Amino acids such as tryptophan, arginine, histidine and tyrosine help the brain synthesize the neurotransmitters and neuromodulators that help prevent adverse mental symptoms. Essentially, amino acids help your brain cells interact with one another more effectively.
They also help your brain make mood-regulating chemicals that maintain your mental health. For example, the amino acid tyrosine helps your body to make dopamine, while tryptophan helps to make serotonin. Low levels of either can adversely impact your mental state. Tryptophan can also help with anxiety, which is common among those seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
Amino acids are among the most consistent holistic tools available to support sound mental health and mitigate the depression that can affect those navigating recovery.
How Can I Get Amino Acids Naturally?
Natural consumption of amino acids happens through sound nutritional practices. The nine essential amino acids your body needs can be found in eggs, dairy and meat. Ingesting protein in every meal and snack throughout the day will help you get the amino acids you need naturally.
Foods high in amino acids include chicken, fish, red meat, soybeans, quinoa, cheese, yogurt, chia seeds and tofu. You can also get your daily allotment through the consumption of nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables and grains. Including one of these foods or beverages — like milk, for instance — in every snack and meal you consume throughout the day will ensure you ingest enough amino acids to benefit your well-being.
Regulating your nutritional intake and emphasizing foods rich in amino acids can help you have a smoother recovery and manifest well-being in a more sustainable way.
Addiction and Amino Acid Supplements Benefits
In the same way amino acids positively impact multiple functions within your body, adjusting your diet and improving your nutrition while in rehab can have a positive physical and neurological impact on your recovery.
Incorporating complete proteins, or proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids, is imperative during addiction recovery.
Food options to get more amino acids into your diet include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy. Additionally, specifically formulated nutritional plans can incorporate supplements that help you increase your amino acid intake in a safe and healthy way.
This nutritional focus on rehabilitation can help decrease addiction cravings by stabilizing brain functioning and restoring normal chemical production.
When Should You Take Amino Acids During Addiction Recovery?
Because the consumption of essential amino acids depends on sound nutrition, you can begin incorporating amino acids into your diet immediately. Essential amino acids are found in many of the foods ideal for promoting the well-being essential to a successful recovery.
Therefore, you can begin immediately implementing a nutritional routine that will support you as you navigate recovery, helping you feel better in general as you reap the benefits of good nutrition and the inclusion of essential amino acids as you recover.
How Long Does It Take Amino Acids To Work?
The amount of time it takes amino acids to work, especially during the physical and emotional rigors of addiction recovery, depends greatly on the amount of essential amino acids you’re consuming through enhanced diet.
You can expect to begin feeling the positive effects of incorporating more essential amino acids into your diet within two to three weeks. However, this is highly dependent on other physical issues you might be having as you detox from drug and alcohol use. It’s different for everyone, which is why it’s important to gauge how you feel each day as you recover. It’s also important to remember that using essential amino acids to recover from drug and alcohol addiction isn’t a cure-all, and there are certainly days you’re more likely to feel better than others.
What Are Essential Amino Acids Used To Treat?
Amino acids accompany good nutrition that promotes general wellness and help you feel better during recovery. Therefore, essential amino acids are used to treat everything from the fatigue you may experience as you move away from using drugs and alcohol to the feelings of self-doubt and anxiety you might feel from the major changes you’re making in your life.
Amino acid supplements can help you deal with some of the negative impacts of addiction recovery, especially from a mental health perspective. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common challenges inherent in addiction recovery. Using amino acid supplements, in addition to changes made from a nutrition perspective, can help you feel better mentally.
Is Amino Acid Therapy Effective in Addiction Recovery?
Amino acid therapy is effective in addiction recovery because the right balance of nutrients and proteins can help you feel better physically and mentally. Amino acids can give you the energy you need to make changes in your life, including embarking on new hobbies and engaging in new exercise programs. If you’re having trouble getting enough nutritional intake during recovery, amino acid supplements can be part of an amino acid therapy regimen.
They’re also effective in helping you naturally produce serotonin and dopamine, the latter of which can sometimes be blunted by long-term drug and alcohol use. As the chemicals in your brain attempt to re-regulate after the throes of addiction, amino acids can help your body heal itself. Getting enough essential amino acids can also help with immune function, muscle development and other physical factors that will ultimately give you the stamina necessary to overcome the changes you may experience during addiction recovery.
Amino Acid Therapy & Holistic Treatment for Addiction at Ranch Creek Recovery
We understand how important it is for you to get the life-changing help you need to achieve sobriety. At Ranch Creek Recovery, you’ll enter a healing environment that’s free of distractions and supported by an expert team.
As a non-12-step rehab, we deliver an alternative approach to addiction rehab and offer amino acid treatment during the rehab stay. We focus on tailor-fitting each recovery program to address every patient’s unique needs.
With a more intimate recovery experience, a higher level of care, a serene environment, individual recovery plans and a holistic approach, you can be sure you’ll receive everything needed to achieve sobriety and prepare for a thriving, sober life.
Have questions? We’re here to help any way we can. Contact us today.
CALL NOW: 887-997-8931