Amino acids are organic compounds containing amino (-NH2) and carboxyl (-COOH). They are the cornerstone of all life, because they are the chemical basis of all proteins.
Protein is one of the largest components in our body. Our body uses amino acids to form proteins, which make up everything from muscles and bones, skin and hair to internal organs and body fluids. In addition, amino acids play an active role in our nervous system and act as neurotransmitters in the brain.
Amino acids can be divided into two basic groups: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are amino acids that your body cannot synthesize. Your body can only obtain these through your diet. Non-essential amino acids are equally important, but your liver can make them.
Amino acids that may be important in bipolar disorder
The specific amino acids associated with bipolar disorder are tyrosine, tryptophan, and taurine. Tyrosine is essential for several key brain chemicals, including dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote mood.Tryptophan is an essential amino acid obtained through diet, which produces the so-called happiness hormone serotonin. The lack of one or both of these amino acids is related to low mood and aggressiveness.
Bipolar disorder is also related to taurine deficiency. Taurine is an amino acid produced in the liver, which has a calming effect in the brain. Taurine deficiency may cause more manic episodes in patients with bipolar disorder.
A supplement called N-acetylcysteine or NAC consists of the amino acid cysteine, which is converted to taurine in the liver. Unfortunately, scientific research on this supplement has not shown any benefit for people with bipolar disorder.
According to a 2014 review study Depression and anxiety, It examines many different nutritional supplements for bipolar disorder including NAC. There is no benefit in using nutritional supplements to prevent or treat bipolar disorder.Having said that, it is important to note that this review study did not specifically examine tryptophan or tyrosine.
In any case, it is very important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Taking too many amino acid supplements may be harmful. In addition, supplements should not be used to replace prescription drugs for bipolar disorder.