Cocaine Detox--from "Alcoholism--The Biochemical Connection" by Joan

Tyrosine to Norephinephrine

The amino acid tyrosine, found in large amounts in meats and cheeses, has
an amazing effect on depression.  A number of studies have found that it
can succeed where antidepressant drugs fail.
     In the brain, tyrosine is converted into the neurotransmitter
norepinephrine, which has been described as the brain's version of
adrenaline.  You can appreciate the power of norepinephrine when you
realize that the "high" produced by cocaine comes from the drug's ability
to activate norepinephrine while inhibiting serotonin.  This chemical
reaction causes the brain to race until the supply of norepinephrine is
depleted.  The crash leaves addicts exhausted, depressed, extremely
irritable, and craving more cocaine.  Large doses of tyrosine can reduce
withdrawl symptoms and prevent serious depression among cocaine addicts.
     We have used tyrosine at the Health Recovery Center for the past few
years with no adverse effects.  The usual dose is three to six grams per
day, taken on an empty stomach.  You must take vitamins B6 and C to
facilitate conversion of tyrosine to norepinephrine. (Table 26)

L-Phenylalanine to Norephinephrine

As an alternative to tyrosine you can take the amino acid
L-phenylalanine, which also can be converted into norepinephrine.  A
number of studies have confirmed l-phenylalanine's amazing antidepressant
effects.  In one, this potent amino acid was found as effective an
antidepressant as the drug imipramine (Tofranil).
     L-Phenylalanine has one important advantage over tyrosine in
treating depression.  It can be converted to a substance called
2-phenyl-ethylamine, or 2-PEA.  Low Brain levels of 2-PEA are responsible
for some depression, (before it converts to tyrosine, which then converts
to norepinephrine.)
     If you are affected, l-phenylalanine will be better for you than
tyrosine.  The only way to find out is by trial and error.  I recommend
that you start by taking l-phenylalanine.  If you find that it makes your
thoughts rush, (an effect that is often described as the brain "racing"),
you don't need 2-PEA and should switch to tyrosine.  The only other
disadvantage to taking l-phenylalanine is its slight potential for
raising blood pressure.  There is also some evidence that excess
l-phenyalanine can cause headaches, insomnia, and irritability.  For
these reasons, it is important to start with a low dose.
     L-Phenylalanine doses can range from 500 milligrams to 1,500
milligrams daily taken on an empty stomach.  Overdose symptoms are
headaches, insomnia, and irritability.

Who Should Not Take Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine

     *Anyone with high blood pressure should avoid phenylalanine or take
very low doses (one hundred milligrams) at first and monitor blood
pressure as dosage is increased.
     *No one taking an MAO inhibitor for depression should take either
tyrosine or l-phenylalanine.
     *No one with severe liver damage should take any amino acid
     *Do not take any amino acids during pregnancy except with the
approval and supervision of your physician
     *No one with PKU (phenylketonuria) should use l-phenylalanine.
     *No one with schizophrenia should take either amino acid (except
with a physician's approval and under supervision).
     *No one with an overactive thyroid or malignant melanoma should take
either amino acid.
     *If you are being treated for any serious illness, consult your
doctor before taking these amino acids.
Table 26.  The HRC Formula for Depression Due to Norepinephrine Depletion

Nutrient              Dose             Directions
L-Tyrosine            500 mg           4 to 10 capsules per day in 2 or 3
                                       equal doses on an empty stomach


L-Phenylalanine*      500 mg           1 to 3 capsules per day in equal
                                       doses on an empty stomach

Vitamin B6*           50 mg            1 capsule 3 times per day

Vitamin C*            1,000 mg         1 capsule per day
*This level was partly or completely established in your adjusted
nutrient plan or in other formulas you may be taking.  Refer to your
nutrient replacement list (Chart 6 or 7) to determine whether you need to
add more of this nutrient to achieve the level suggested here.