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Anti-Depressants; a Natural Alternative

Anti-Depressants; a Natural Alternative in Addition to Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is beneficial for our body and mind in many ways including relief from depression for many people. The scientific community is almost unanimous in stating that every person is deficient in this vitamin to some degree unless you live near the equator, outside with little clothing.

So what if 50,000 International Units of Vitamin D3 per week is not enough to solve your depression? Some doctors may prescribe an antidepressant, which comes with side effects. There are various types of antidepressants on the market. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are well known and there a host of others. Depression is a hidden epidemic in our nation. (

Therefore, I am most anxious for the word to get out about the mood-elevating effects of this wonderful amino acid, DL-Phenylalanine, an amino acid otherwise known as DLPA. It is accessible to anyone who can order it online or go to their nearest health food store. Many local pharmacies stock it in the vitamin section.

Please note that it is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing depression. Talk to your doctor about any alternatives to prescription medications. Sometimes a low functioning thyroid gland can cause depression. In such a case, DLPA would not alleviate the symptoms. Therefore it is important to get a medical checkup and discuss your symptoms with your physician.

There are various reasons an individual may wish for a non-drug alternative to an antidepressant, including adverse side effects. As a bonus, DLPA has been found to benefit other ailments such as pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

DL-Phenylalanine is an amino acid (DLPA) which has no major adverse side effects that I know of, and is beneficial for things other than just depression. DLPA has been seen to have, sometimes, minor side effects such as heartburn, stomach ache, and headache. If you take more than 1,500 mg a day, it sometimes causes numbness or tingling in the extremities.

I first found out about it in the 1980’s when a doctor wanted to put a friend on an MAO, which is a mono-amine oxidase inhibitor, an antidepressant, to treat a thyroid condition. She did not want to take and antidepressant and It did not makes sense to her to treat a thyroid condition with an antidepressant. I decided to consult my biochemistry text book and discovered that DL-Phenylalanine could do the same thing that a MAO inhibitor could do. When my friend told her doctor he was shocked and said, “How did you find out?” In those years internet access was not available. He said that the National Institute for Health had conducted studies on DL-Phenylalanine regarding its anti-depressant activity and found it to be effective. Hmm, wonder if the pharmaceutical industry put a stop to that information getting out to the general public.

L-phenylalanine (LPA) serves as a building block for the various proteins that are produced in the body. LPA can be converted to L-tyrosine (another amino acid) and subsequently to L-dopa, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. LPA can also be converted (through a separate pathway) to phenylethylamine, a substance that occurs naturally in the brain and appears to elevate mood.

There is such a plethora of research that substantiates the mood-elevating effects of DLPA that I cannot provide links to all of it.

Here is a link to an article that expresses the effects for the author, Jordan Fallis, better than I could. Too many people have told me that DLPA has helped treat their depression and anxiety for it not to be true. One caveat, DLPA is most effective when discontinued and restarted about every 3 months.

Now for some links to peer-reviewed scientific studies supporting the anti-depressive effect of DLPA:

At the bottom of this article there is a long list of supporting research. Here I copy and pasted an abstract of a study on the mood elevating effects of DLPA.

J Neural Transm. 1977;41(2-3):123-34.

Dl-phenylalanine in depressed patients: an open study.

Beckmann H, Strauss MA, Ludolph E.


In an open study dl-phenylalanine in doses from 75-200 mg/day was administered to 20 depressed patients for 20 days. Patients were classified according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The AMP system, the Hamilton depression scale and the Von Zerssen self-rating questionnaire were used for documentation of psychopathological, neurologic and somatic changes. In addition a global clinical impression was agreed upon by experienced psychiatrists. At the end of the trial 12 patients (8 with complete, 4 with good response) could be discharged without any further treatment. 4 patients with partially untypical depressions experienced mild to moderate responses, whereas 4 patients did not respond at all to the phenylalanine administration. Depressive "core symptoms" as depressed mood, retardation and/or agitation were preferentially, anxiety and sleep disturbances moderately and hypochondriasis and compulsiveness were not influenced. It is concluded that dl-phenylalanine might have substantial antidepressant properties and that further more controlled investigations are warranted.