What Might Be Causing Your Fatigue, Depression, and Insomnia

by Dr. David Minkoff July 30, 2019 5 min read 0 Comments

What Might Be Causing Your Fatigue, Depression, and Insomnia

The following is adapted from The Search for the Perfect Protein.

At our clinic, the LifeWorks Wellness Center, we have many clients—male and female—who have problems with low energy, depression, and insomnia. With these patients, we’ll measure neurotransmitter levels, which include serotonin, dopamine, GABA, glutamate, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The results tell the same story:

Symptomatic patients have neurotransmitter levels far below the optimal standards.

Even when patients have been given prescription psych medications by their doctor, their levels remain low because the drugs do not correct the underlying cause.

What is the underlying cause, and why are the typically-prescribed medications so ineffective? That’s what we’ll explore in this article. My hope is that you’ll come away with a better understanding of why you might be suffering and what to do about it.

 

Amino Acids Are Key to Your Nervous System

To understand why people suffer from low energy, insomnia, and depression, you first have to start by understanding the brain and the nervous system. You see, the vast majority of molecules in the brain and nervous system are made from amino acids.

Growth hormone, dopamine, and the aforementioned neurotransmitters are all amino acid based. If there are amino acid deficiencies in the brain, there can’t be adequate production of these protein molecules. That’s not the only issue, though.

If you add in mold, environmental toxins, or infections such as Lyme, mycoplasma, and other bugs, the brain can’t operate normally. People suffer from all sorts of maladies like anxiety and depression, balance issues and vertigo, and poor sleep.

Contrary to popular belief, most of these conditions are medical or nutritional, not psychological. That’s why psychiatry has such dismal success: it assumes everyone has a drug deficiency and does not take into account external emotional factors or physical illnesses. Their misguided solutions don’t address what is truly wrong.

It’s important to understand that when people don’t “feel right,” their neurotransmitters are out of whack, and it’s most likely because their intestinal flora is out of balance, and they are deficient in key nutrients like essential amino acids.

Instead of seeing a psychiatrist, they should get help from a nutritional practitioner who is knowledgeable in such matters. You must find and treat the root cause of the problem. A combination of correct nutritional therapy and effective practical help can alleviate the condition or challenge instead of numbing it with psych medication.

 

Why Psych Medications Aren’t Effective

Speaking of psych medications, let’s look at how they often do more harm than good.

As an example, let’s look at the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac, that artificially increase levels of serotonin. Normally, when one nerve communicates with another, it shoots a serotonin molecule across a synapse. The molecule then hits the second nerve, and it reacts. The original nerve then uses suction to reel the serotonin back in. SSRIs like Prozac essentially poison the suction of the first nerve, so it can’t reuptake the serotonin—it sits in the synapse and bombards the second nerve cell membrane until it loses sensitivity.

The nerve cell membrane is overwhelmed and damaged—the structure changes over time, and it becomes numb. Subsequently, the symptoms are suppressed, but the underlying problem—which often times is nutritional—is never truly addressed.

These drugs are dangerous because they can randomly affect many nerve cells, and severe side effects have been reported including suicide, mania, and psychotic homicidal behavior. Sometimes psychiatric medications send people over the edge.

They become violent and kill someone, or they commit suicide. In fact, many of the mass murderers of the past thirty years had been under psychiatric care, and had SSRIs or other psych drugs in their bloodstreams at the time of their rampages.

 

A More Holistic Approach

In patients with low neurotransmitter levels, we don’t bombard their bodies with harmful medications. We begin by repairing the inflamed intestines (where 90% of serotonin is made) through dietary changes, removal of toxic yeast, bacteria and parasites, and targeted nutrition including essential amino acids to heal the membrane.

To show you how this works, here’s a story from a few years ago at our practice.

I observed a group of women who all suffered from depression, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Each of them had been on medication long term to block the production of stomach acid, like Nexium, Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, or others. I discovered that each woman’s blood level of the essential amino acid, tryptophan, was very low.

The usual medical approach to treat these conditions is with Ambien, Trazodone, or Xanax for sleep; Prozac or another SSRI for the depression; and Adderall or another amphetamine for fatigue. Then you have to factor in the acid blocker, as well.

So, what exactly was going on with these women? Here’s what we discovered:

Stomach acid-blocking medications blocked the digestion of dietary proteins and the absorption of minerals, like magnesium. Dietary proteins are the source of tryptophan, but since digestion was compromised, tryptophan and other amino acids were not well absorbed. Their blood levels of tryptophan were low, leading to low levels in the cells.

Magnesium and vitamin B6 are needed to make tryptophan into proteins, but they also require stomach acid. Blocking the acid further compromised protein synthesis.

Tryptophan is the parent molecule for niacin. Inadequate tryptophan means inadequate niacin, so the cells couldn’t make energy. This led to the women having fatigue.

Tryptophan is also the parent molecule for melatonin.

Since there was inadequate melatonin in their bodies, they couldn’t sleep well. Tryptophan is also the parent molecule for serotonin. Low serotonin meant that the ladies were apt to suffer from depression and other mood problems.

These women were fatigued, sleepless, and depressed due to the long-term use of drugs that blocked stomach acid. This was not entirely their own doing—their doctors had renewed prescriptions for drugs that were for short term use only.

This observation led to a very simple solution: We gave them stomach acid supplements containing pancreatic enzymes so they could digest proteins, weaned them off their acid blockers, and gave them essential amino acids with extra tryptophan, B6, B complex, and magnesium. Their fatigue, depression, and sleeplessness all resolved within a few months’ time. Good detective work combined with nutritional medicine can solve health problems—it’s modern medicine at its best!

For more advice on treating the root cause of conditions like fatigue, depression, and insomnia, you can find The Search for the Perfect Protein on Amazon.

For the #1 Essential Amino Acid supplement that 99% utilized by the body to create new protein look HERE.

Dr. David Minkoff is board certified in pediatrics and served as codirector of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Palomar Medical Center in San Diego, California. With his wife, Sue, he cofounded LifeWorks Wellness Center in 1997, and in 2000, he cofounded BodyHealth, a nutrition company that offers a unique range of dietary supplements to the public and medical practitioners. A forty-two-time IRONMAN finisher, Dr. Minkoff is passionate about fitness and continues to train on a regular basis. He and his wife reside in Clearwater, Florida.

Dr. David Minkoff
Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then worked as an attending physician in infectious disease, co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine until 1995. In 1997, his interest in alternative and complementary medicine led him to open LifeWorks Wellness Center, which has become one of the foremost alternative medicine clinics in the U.S. His search to find a source of the highest quality nutritional supplements led him to establish BodyHealth in 2000, a resource that could provide doctors with the best possible supplementation and education for their patients. Today, the BodyHealth products are used by hundreds of practitioners and individual consumers who seek all-natural wellness and detoxification supplements with a demonstrated high level of quality and effectiveness. In addition to their use by patients looking to heal disease, the BodyHealth products are also used by sports enthusiasts interested in achieving and maintaining optimal performance. As a 42-time Ironman triathlon finisher, (including 8 appearances at the Ironman World Championships) Dr. Minkoff has first-hand experience to help athletes achieve optimum conditioning. His expertise in protein synthesis, detoxification, and nutrition allow them to run, swim, and bike faster and longer. Today, Dr. Minkoff is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer, writer, tv and radio show guest. He also authors two weekly newsletters, the BodyHealth Fitness Newsletter and the Optimum Health Report.



Also in BodyHealth

10 Ways to Enhance Your Mitochondrial Metabolism
10 Ways to Enhance Your Mitochondrial Metabolism

by Dr. David Minkoff November 07, 2019 7 min read 0 Comments

If you search for “energy supplement” on amazon, you get over 4,000 results. 

4,000!

How can any reasonable human sift through all that and find the ones that work? Or which ones are bogus? 

I did a deep dive into the truth about increasing your energy” in another article. It gives you a framework for understanding how real energy supplements work and why.

But here I want to do something different. 

I want to get practical and tactical with 10 proven ways to boost energy production in your cellular energy factories –– your mitochondria.

We’ll start with the lifestyle and dietary ways to boost your mitochondria and then look at a few powerful supplements.

Let’s start with the cheapest...

Read More
The Truth About Increasing "Energy"
The Truth About Increasing "Energy"

by Dr. David Minkoff October 24, 2019 5 min read 0 Comments

Your average health food store has an entire section devoted to “energy.”

The products on the shelf, with their fancy logos and specially designed packaging, make grandiose claims about what they will do for your “energy levels.”

But the truth?

Most of them are stimulants in disguise, artificially jacking you up to give you the sensation of energy.

But in the end, they do more harm than good. They increase cortisol, cause dehydration, and deplete you.

Because almost none of them do anything on the biological level that supports your real energy system: your mitochondria and metabolism.

That’s why in this article I want to show you what to look for with any new supplement.... and why.

Read More
From Sabotage to Success: Navigating the Last 6 Weeks of the Year
From Sabotage to Success: Navigating the Last 6 Weeks of the Year

by CJ Hitz October 24, 2019 5 min read 0 Comments

It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” according to Andy Williams. Or should it be the most wonderFULL time of the year? I’m referring to the last 6 weeks of the year which is fraught with one nutritional landmine after another.

Let’s face it, things like pumpkin pie, stovetop stuffing, eggnog, pumpkin-spiced lattes, peanut brittle, homemade fudge, and divinity only make their appearance during this brief window so we might as well gorge ourselves with as much as we can, right?

No wonder the average American gains 2 to 5 pounds (or more) over the holidays. You’d think we were part bear by eating all…the…things before going into several months of hibernation. Unfortunately, this is a major reason people gradually gain weight over the course of years and decades. Gaining weight is easy while losing it is another story.

Read More