The Way Up rainbow headerThe Way Up Newsletter
Vol. 16, 01-15-00
Anxiety. Taurine
"Life is now.
Life exists only in the present moment of time.--
Thoughts that are oriented toward
The past and future only serve to
Restrict the animating current that is available
To vitalize your expression" -The Starseed Transmissions
 

  NAMASTE AND WELCOME TO THIS MONTH'S WAY UP NEWSLETTER
 

May this new millennium bring us greater peace & enlightenment. It is the beginning of the Age Of Aquarius, imbued with the feminine receptive energy, yin. We live in awesome, exciting times as we move forward into the ever expanding exploration of out inner & outer universes.

IS ANXIETY A FACT OF LIFE?

I don't think so. Readers have requested we address the subject of relieving anxiety by using the amino acids Taurine, & GABA, and Vitamin B3 (Niacin). Though setting out to do this, by the time anxiety & taurine were finished, the news was too long, so GABA & B3 will have to wait. Taurine has many other benefits, so if anxiety is not your interest you may want to skip ahead to the Taurine section. I would not begin helping someone with anxiety by giving these single agents alone, & indeed they may not need to be given.

Suffice it to say, when you are physically healthy & biochemically balanced you should have no symptoms of anxiety unless you find yourself in an extremely emergent situation.

Those under 18 or over 38 who suddenly develop anxiety which disrupts their normal activity may have one of the medical illnesses which can include anxiety & should have appropriate medical evaluation.

Apparently, many in our society are anxious because minor tranquilizers are one of the most widely prescribed group of drugs & among the most problematic when regularly used long term, which, unfortunately, they often are. They are highly addicting & over time risk adding to the very symptoms they were originally intended to alleviate. Though the Physicians Desk Reference warns of their addictive potential & suggests only intermittent or short term usage, these warnings are often ignored. Some of these tranquilizers are Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, Librium. Tranxene, as well as some of the sleeping meds.

PHYSIOLOGICAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL ANXIETY, OR BOTH?

It helps to distinguish whether the anxiety begins with physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweaty palms, shaking, nervous stomach, restlessness, tension, etc. & then perhaps spreads to associated thoughts & fears. Or does it begin with fearful anxious thoughts & spread to become a physiological reaction? Or is it only manifested by thoughts with no physical component or physical symptoms with little associated fear thoughts.

When there is a usual thought onset to the symptoms, besides doing all of the next recommended items, it is important to decondition your thought patterns. There are many techniques for doing this. My current favorite is the use of Hypnoperipheral Processing reprogramming tapes. This is a combination of hypnosis & Neurolinguistic Programming. It is a powerful & effective tool for change! You can find such tapes at http://www.metamodels.com/maps/hpp.html. I would suggest the series "Changing Emotions" & "Feeling Better".

We also clarify the timing of the anxiety. Is it all the time, or at certain times of the day or night? Is it only in very specific situations? I had a patient who only had severe anxiety when going out in the car. We found she was sensitive to auto fumes & when we had her wear a carbon filtered mask to keep out the fumes, she was able to go out without any anxiety. What percentage of agoraphobics are having their symptoms as a reaction to a specific chemical environment?

All of this detective work helps to clarify how much is physical, how much is psychological, or even how much is a psychological conditioned response to a physical trigger.

Is the problem related to blood sugar instabilty, which I see quite often & commonly has a pattern of middle of the night, early a.m. or mid-afternoon symptoms. Or is it related to food sensitivities? Is there is a personal or family history of allergies or is a person repetitively eating the same foods, or many of the high allergen foods, such as milk, cheese, wheat, eggs?

We also look for a history of high caffeine, alcohol, or sugar intake , or a general junk food diet.

Is there a premenstrual or menopausal component?

Is the person on medications which can cause anxiety as a side effect?

WHAT DOES NUTRITION HAVE TO DO WITH ANXIETY?

It is known that deficiencies of certain nutrients can cause anxiety, so begin by improving your diet. Those nutrients are: Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, omega-3-fatty acids, such as fish or flax seed oil, & certain amino acids, such as L-tryptophan, taurine, GABA. Too much calcium can also cause anxiety.

First, clean up your diet. With your diet improvement you may want to add a good multivitamin mineral, an extra B complex, & an omega-3-fatty acid to basically cover most of the above listed nutrients.

You would then only add extra items if all of the above failed to make a difference after 2 weeks. My first choice would be extra magnesium & the next choice would be taurine.

WHAT IS TAURINE?

Taurine is an amino acid which plays a major role in the brain as an "inhibitory" neurotransmitter & neuromodulator. It is similiar in structure to the amino acids GABA & L-Glycine, which are also neuroinhibitory. This means it helps to calm or stabilize an excited brain.

Taurine stabilizes nerve cell membranes thus depressing the firing of brain cells & dampening the nerve cell action of the excitatory amino acids, glutamate, aspartate, & quinolinate.

Taurine acts by regulating the sodium & potassium concentration in the cells & the magnesium level between the cells. This has everything to do with the electrical activity of the cells & subsequent communication between cells.

By this mechanism, it has anti-anxiety & anti-convulsant activity. It has also been found useful in some cases of migraine, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, irritability, alcoholism, obsessions, depression, hypomania/mania.

Dosage is from 500 mg twice daily to a total of 5000 mg daily in 3-4 divided doses, though I rarely recommend that high a dose. The total ideal body pool of taurine for adults is 12,000- 18,000 mg.

Since taurine also affects the hypothalamus to help regulate body temperature, a higher dose can decrease your temperature & give chilliness, so be aware of that.

Taurine also plays a role in memory & increases the level of a memory neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, in the brain (in animal studies).

HOW DO YOU GET TAURINE?

Taurine is highly concentrated in animal & fish protein or organ meats. Strict vegetarians can be at risk for taurine deficiency. Your body can make taurine in the liver & brain from the amino acids, L-Cysteine, & L-Methionine. Three enzymes are involved in the conversion, all requiring the pyridoxal-5-phosphate form of Vitamin B6 for this conversion. A B6 deficiency can thus cause a taurine deficiency.

Some studies suggest humans are dependent upon dietary taurine to maintain "adequate" taurine reserves. Females tend toward lower taurine levels than males as their production pathways don't work as efficiently.

Taurine is closely bound to zinc & manganese so deficiencies of either of these can interfere with its' utilization. Likewise, zinc & manganese enhance the effects of taurine.

Taurine is the amino acid present in highest concentration of all amino acids in the fetal & newborn brain, which is the most dependent upon taurine & the least able to synthesize it.. The developing infant must derive taurine from the placenta, the newborn, from breast milk or taurine fortified formula. It is low in cow's milk. Taurine is essential for proper development of the central nervous system & the eyes. Nursing mothers especially need taurine as it stimulates prolactin to promote lactation, which is an interesting twist of nature, since infants need it so much. ( We could speculate that a mother unable to lactate may be taurine deficient, among other possibilites, & the infant is thus protected from receiving taurine deficient breast milk) Premature infants are especially prone to taurine deficiency.

WHAT ELSE INFLUENCES TAURINE LEVELS?

MSG can decrease taurine. Trauma, surgery, radiation therapy, burns, muscle diseases, steroid use, intestinal dysfunction with bacterial overgrowth of the small bowel can all lead to excess loss of taurine in the urine & subsequent deficiency.

The medications Thorazine (a major tranquilizer) & Chloroquine (an antimalarial) can reduce taurine levels. Some depressed patients have decreased taurine.

WHAT ELSE DOES TAURINE DO?

EYES: It is in high concentration in the eyes where it has multiple functions to maintain normal retinal structure & function. Depletion leads to degeneration of the photoreceptor cells. Degenerative changes in the retinas of taurine deficient cats & dogs resemble retinitis pigmentosa. Taurine may be helpful in preventing cataracts. Age related macular degeneration has responded favorably to "injected" taurine as reported by American Biologics Mexico Hospital.

CARDIOVASCULAR: Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the heart, a particularly electrically excitable tissue, as are the brain & eye. Since taurine participates in electrical stabilization of the cell membranes & the normal regulation of nerve-muscle interaction, it is useful in heart irregularities & mitral valve prolapse, acting similarly to a calcium channel blocker (a class of drugs used in CV Disease) Taurine also helps control high blood pressure & is useful in congestive heart failure.

DIABETES: Taurine affects carbohydrate metabolism. It potentiates the effect of insulin, enhances glucose utilization & glycogen (stored glucose) synthesis.

FAT METABOLISM: Taurine reduces cholesterol by forming bile acids which are the end products of cholesterol breakdown & are the only route for eliminating cholesterol from the body. This action requires a functioning gall bladder. Taurine has an inhibitory effect on the formation of cholesterol gall stones. It is required for efficient fat absorption & solubilization. It is helpful in states of fat malabsorption such as with cystic fibrosis & other pancreatic deficiency syndromes.

DETOXIFICATION: Taurine conjugates & detoxifies various internal & external toxic compounds & may help chemical sensitivities.

ANTIOXIDANT: Taurine plays a major role in protecting cell membranes from oxidative attack.

STRESS: It can inhibit the release of adrenalin & thus help with anxiety in this way, as well as protecting from other adverse effects of too much adrenalin.

MISC: Acts as an immune stimulant to increase Natural Killer Cell Activity & Interleukin 2. Controls cell volume & osmolality. Is involved in the regulation of iron metabolism. Modulates levels of serum copper.

TAURINE CAN ALSO STIMULATE RELEASE OF STOMACH ACID SO YOU SHOULD AVOID IF YOU HAVE ULCERS OR GASTRITIS.

AGAIN, I WELCOME YOUR REQUESTS
"In whatever activity you engage, be there fully in consciousness also.--- Simply be aware of whatever you are doing. If you are slicing the bread, do not be thinking of your thirst. If you are listening to a friend, do not be thinking of what you are going to say next. If you are eating a meal, do not be thinking of what you are going to do when the meal is over, but show the Earth the appreciation of your fullest attention." --The Starseed Transmissions

BE HAPPY!!
Priscilla Slagle M.D.
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