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Addiction Treatment: What is IV Amino Acid Therapy?

Although not a cure on its own, IV amino acid therapy can be a valuable tool in the addiction treatment process. Individuals with long-term addictions often suffer from chemical imbalances in the brain. Amino acids can help restore that balance, and IV amino acid therapy does so through a holistic process.  But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of what IV amino acid therapy is, let’s start by looking at the amino acids we need for proper balance in our brains. Without these amino acids, our neurotransmitters won’t work correctly, which causes a whole host of issues. 

What Are Amino Acids?

Our bodies naturally produce amino acids, compounds involved in protein digestion. There are 20 amino acids, nine of which we get from what we eat. While amino acids begin in the digestive tract, they travel to different parts of the body, where they improve our overall functioning. What functions do amino acids affect? Building protein is one, but amino acids also regulate our hormones and neurotransmitters. Our neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the body that send signals between cells to control our heart rate, breathing, sleeping, digestion, mood, movement, and more. 

How Do We Get Amino Acids?

Since our bodies only produce 11 of the amino acids we need, it’s our job to eat foods containing amino acids, so our bodies can absorb what they need. The 11 amino acids that our bodies produce are considered non-essential. The other nine are the essential ones that we can’t function without.  We eat meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, soy, and plant-based protein products to get the essential amino acids we need. Those aren’t the only foods containing amino acids, but they are the only foods that provide us with all the essentials. Other foods, such as beans, nuts, and some grains contain some–but not all–amino acids. 

What Are the Nine Essential Amino Acids?

  1. Phenylalanine turns into tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which are transmitters responsible for protein structure and function. Phenylalanine also produces other amino acids.
  2. Valine helps muscles grow strong and regenerate. It also affects our energy levels.
  3. Threonine is involved with structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are vital for our skin and connective tissues. Threonine also affects fat metabolism and immunity.
  4. Tryptophan affects our appetite, sleep, and mood. It’s the precursor to serotonin.
  5. Methionine is involved with our metabolism, detoxification, tissue growth, and mineral absorption, specifically zinc and selenium.
  6. Leucine is necessary for protein synthesis, muscle repair, balanced blood sugar, wound healing, and growth hormones.
  7. Isoleucine helps with muscle metabolism, immune function, hemoglobin production, and energy regulation.
  8. Lysine is all about synthesizing protein, absorbing calcium, producing hormones and enzymes, producing energy, strengthening the immune system, and producing collagen and elastin.
  9. Histidine is essential for our immune system, digestion, sexual function, and sleep-wake cycles. Histidine is in charge of the myelin sheath, which protects your nerve cells. 
Other amino acids include glutamine, ornithine, arginine, lysine, citrulline, carnitine, alanine, asparagine, cysteine, proline, and selenocysteine.  As you can see, amino acids are essential for our bodies to function correctly. So, what happens when we’re dealing with addiction and don’t have the amino acids we need? 
  • Our bodies can’t function properly
  • Our sleep cycles become messed up
  • Sexual desire is off-kilter
  • We don’t have an appetite
  • It’s hard to digest food
  • We get sick quickly
  • Our skin doesn’t look or feel good
  • Our blood sugar goes unbalanced, making us lightheaded and dizzy
  • We gain or lose weight unexpectedly
A lot happens, so it’s essential to get amino acids into our bodies. So, how does addiction affect our amino acid levels? 

Addiction and Amino Acids

Our bodies were created to regulate and maintain many different functions, but addiction can throw everything off balance. Our bodies don’t know how to react to unnatural levels of addictive substances, so they freak out, causing us to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.  Depending on what you’re addicted to, these symptoms may include:
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Hunger
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sleeping problems
  • Feeling numb, tingly, or like you’re burning
Sounds pretty miserable, right? Thankfully, some therapies can help you through this horrible time.

IV Amino Acid Therapy

There are multiple treatment options for addiction recovery. One of them is IV amino acid therapy. It’s like it sounds. An IV administers essential amino acids into your body.  In many addiction treatment programs, blood work can determine which amino acids your body needs the most. It’s essential to test each person individually since our bodies are different. Even if we’re suffering from the same addiction, we might need different amino acids than the person next to us.  IV amino acid therapy can dramatically help with the withdrawal symptoms. Many recipients have reported that their cravings and withdrawal symptoms lessened within just a few days. IV amino acid therapy typically lasts between three to five days, and IV sessions can take up to eight hours.  The wonderful thing about IV amino acid therapy is how it can restore amino acid levels to the point where our neurotransmitters start to function normally on their own. For many people in recovery centers, this feels like a turning point, where they can overcome their addiction.

Most Common Amino Acid IV Treatments

When suffering from an addiction, it’s not uncommon to need essential and non-essential amino acids. The typical treatment plan includes glutamine, tyrosine, GABA, and hydroxytryptamine. Ornithine, arginine, lysine, citrulline, and carnitine may also be included.  These amino acids help your energy levels, metabolism, weight loss, sleep, immunity, stress, and heart health. 

Ardu Recovery Center

Do you wonder if IV amino acid therapy might be right for you? Ardu Recovery Center has helped many people recover from their addictions, and IV amino acid therapy can play a part.  Ardu Recovery Center treats men and women through detox programs and mindfulness-based relapse prevention. Our detox programs are for drugs, alcohol, opioids, opiates, and heroin.  Located in Northern Utah, Ardu Recovery Center provides the perfect setting for addiction recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs. Ardu Recovery Center is here to help you or your loved one recover so that you can live life to the fullest.