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Amino acids eliminate cravings for toxic junk food

Julia Ross, MA, NTS

Special to the Village News

Are you plagued with cravings for sweet, starchy, and fatty junk food? Despite the concerns that so many of us have about our diets, staying away from health-destructive foods has been a losing battle. Today’s mostly processed food diet contains little protein and lots of nutrient-void fats, sugars, and starches that intoxicate and addict the brain rather than nourish it.

Our brain’s appetite chemistry is dependent on specific nutrients and the problem is that our food-addicted brains are depleted in these same vital nutrients. We have almost completely overlooked the most potent nutrients of all when it comes to appetite control: the 20 amino acid powerhouses found in high-protein foods and as supplements.

As a licensed psychotherapist and an addiction and eating disorder specialist in San Francisco in the early 1980s, I was asked to create an outpatient treatment program for addicted adolescents and adults.

Within two years, our program for pot-addicted adolescents had spread into three counties and had an 80% success rate! Our adult program, however, was a complete failure. The crack cocaine epidemic had just hit, and all the addiction treatment programs in the country were experiencing the same 100% early dropout rates.

At around the same time, some addiction-focused neuroscientists started reporting that brain-generated cravings could be reduced using a few specific amino acids taken as supplements.

I had already been exploring the possibility that an improved diet and added vitamins and minerals might make a difference. But our crack-addicted clients rarely stayed around long, and those who did had ravenous cravings for junk food. Hoping to reduce their cravings for sugar as well as crack, we trialed two amino acids, which worked very effectively.

Our first client reported being almost cravings-free during his first week on these aminos. We had equal success later using these and a few other amino acids with clients addicted to alcohol, marijuana, and methamphetamine. So did hundreds of other addiction and mental health professionals, who began to enthusiastically recommend these amino acids to their clients.

In my virtual clinic, we have worked successfully with over 6,000 people who have been food cravers. To meet the massive modern food craving challenge, these clients have only needed 1–5 amino acids, taken as individual supplements. This simple regimen quickly corrects the primary deficiencies that propel most of their food cravings.

How individual amino acids worked for two of my clinic clients, Wendi and Don

Wendi, a 50-year-old diabetic, who was 70 pounds overweight, had glucose levels over 200. Within two days of taking two capsules of a single amino acid three times per day between meals, she reported that her glucose levels had dropped under 100 for the first time in years because she had lost all cravings for high-carbohydrate junk food.

Her equally carb-addicted and diabetic husband, Don, age 62, who also had prostate cancer, took two different amino acids three times per day, and easily switched to a healthy diet. Within a few months, his glucose levels had dropped to under 100, and his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels went from 400 to less than 1.

What about foods that are high in amino acids?

The word “protein” indicates that the amino acid content of any food constitutes its primary value. Animal protein sources are much higher in aminos than most plant sources. Because the aminos stop their junk food cravings so quickly, our clients almost immediately drop their junk foods and start eating and enjoying a totally healthy diet.

Once the amino acid supplements have stocked up their appetite-regulating brain sites, high-protein foods alone, consumed three times per day, along with healthy fats and carbs, can keep their cravings at bay permanently – without the further use of amino supplements.

Below are the five specific individual aminos that help regulate our appetites, and also regulate our moods. Please note that free-form amino acids are more potent than any bound, food-based, amino supplements.

Tryptophan or 5-HTP are similar amino acids that can reduce Type 1 cravings, namely depressed, anxious, and sleepless cravings. They both convert into the neurotransmitter serotonin, our vital appetite, mood, and sleep regulator.

Glutamine eliminates Type 2 or crashed cravings and is the amino acid that Wendi (mentioned earlier) took. Because she skipped meals and relied on short-acting sweets and starches, her blood glucose levels often dropped too low, which set off frantic hypoglycemic carb cravings several times per day. Her brain converted the glutamine into just enough glucose to turn off those cravings almost instantly. Providing emergency glucose to myriad cells in the brain and body is just one of glutamine’s extraordinary powers.

DPA (D-phenylalanine) increases our levels of the comforting, pleasurable, pain-killing neurotransmitters called endorphins. Don (also mentioned previously) was a Type 3 comfort craver and took DPA to stop his cravings for comfort foods like chocolate and ice cream.

GABA is both an amino acid and a neurotransmitter that provides natural tranquility, relaxing our mind and our muscles by reducing adrenaline levels. Don was also a Type 4 stressed craver and used GABA top stop his stress cravings.

Tyrosine is used for fatigued Type 5 cravers. It also promotes muscle coordination and mental focus. Tyrosine was the enlivening amino that had such amazing effects on my clinic’s exhausted crack addicts in 1986. People who crave energy from caffeine, chocolate, or sugar find tyrosine just as amazing.

You can find more information on this subject, including a Craving Type questionnaire at

Julia Ross, MA, NTS, has 35 years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist with 30 years of pioneering work in brain-targeted nutrient therapies. She is the author of the best-selling books The Mood Cure, The Diet Cure, and The Craving Cure, all based on her work as founder and director of several integrative treatment programs in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1980. She currently directs the Julia Ross Virtual Clinic in association with the Neuro-Nutrient Therapy Institute (NNTI), her intensive training program for health professionals.


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