7 Weeks to Sobriety
Replacement Formuls
Biochemical Traps
Liver Repair, Histamine & Thyroid
Biochemical Depression
Correcting Chemistry
Planning the Future
Ordering Products
Replacement Formulas
Agression, Anger and Irritability
Memory Loss
Pain Control
Tremors - Shakiness
Short Attention Span - Poor Concentration
Wernicke - Kersakoo Syndrome


Replacement Formulas

Amino Acids have remarkable properties. Glutamine has an amazing ability to control cravings for alcohol and sugar. Tyrosine, Tryptophan, and D-Phenylalanine can promote alertness, lift depression, elevate mood, improve mental health, and control pain by restoring brain levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters.

The blend of 18 free-form amino acids we call Bio-Aminos provides you with many essential precursors for needed neurotransmitter formation. Free-form aminos have been treated so your body can absorb and use them completely. Often, clients are short on digestive acids and enzymes required for normal absorption. (Incidentally, the protein powders promoted as a means of building muscle mass do not provide predigested amino acids and cannot be substituted for the aminos acids recommended here.)

Building on this base, we can add other amino acids and their cofactors, the nutrients needed to ensure the amino acids are properly absorbed and utilized, to address your specific symptoms and create a natural cure for depression.

Effective Mental Health Treatment Is Based On An Understanding of the Relationship Between Brain Chemicals, Moods, and Behavior

It isn't surprising that alcoholics whose neurotransmitters have been seriously altered by heavy alcohol use often complain of some of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • High stress and tension
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors and shakes
  • Irritability, sudden anger, violent outbursts
  • Poor concentration, high distractibility
  • Depression

A Natural Cure for Depression & Anxiety Begins With The HRC Replacement Formulas

The information at this site explores many mental illnesses caused by an imbalance or disruption to the brain chemistry: Anxiety, stress, memory loss, insomnia, fatigue, pain control, alcohol-induced tremors, shakiness, anger / violence, short attention span / poor concentration, and The Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Information about the replacement formulas needed to correct these imbalances is taken from the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety . All the ingredients discussed are perfectly safe. They are amino acids and other natural chemicals essential to good health. None of our cure for depression formulas contain drugs of any type. Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., founder/director of the Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis testifies with great confidence to their safety and effectiveness. All of the formulas have been carefully tested and used in the HRC program for several years. These formulas and products can be obtained at these links: Formulas from Seven Weeks to Sobriety ; or call Bio-Recovery in Minneapolis at 1-800-247-6237 (1-800- 24-SOBER).

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.


In the past five years Health Recovery Center has found a biochemical marker for life-long anxiety symptoms, and have been shocked to see that as many as one-third to one-half of the alcoholics we treat have this genetic, chemical imbalance called pyroluria. A lab test measures levels of kryptopyrroles, a by-product of the blood. High levels of these pyrrolles systematically bind with B6 and zinc, preventing the use of these essential nutrients in the brain and body. The result is a myriad of symptoms, including severe inner tension, ongoing anxiety, poor stress control, fearfulness, and sometimes episodic anger. Often such people have pale skin that easily burns, eyes that are sensitive to light, white flecks/marks on their nails, and stretch marks on their skin. They tire easily, have poor dream recall, prefer not to eat breakfast, notice upper abdominal pain when stressed, and experience a "stitch" in their side if they run. They have a tendency to become loners as they age. Alcohol provides them with a way to shut off their anxiety, feel sociable, de-stress, and experience a short time when they feel more normal, as if they have found an anxiety cure.

I believe that the high numbers of pyrolurics we treat are being duplicated in all rehabilitation programs and mental health treatment centers. My heart goes out to the many alcoholics in treatment or AA everywhere who are no longer choosing alcohol for relief from their severe anxiety and are now trying to coexist with their symptoms.

The good news is that you can now get the biochemical repair you need to reverse this situation. Table 13 in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety lays out the HRC Formula for Anxiety. You may, however, need to increase the suggested levels, depending on the outcome of your lab work.

I have learned from experience that very few labs are proficient doing this test. I recommend you use Bio Center Laboratory in Wichita, Kansas (316) 634-7734), as their kryptopyrrolle tests always seem accurate.

The HRC Formula for Anxiety includes the calming amino acids GABA and tryptophan plus vitamins and minerals noted for the soothing effects.

GABA has a powerful calming effect on the brain. In fact, tranquilizers like Valium and Librium work by stimulating the brain's receptors for GABA.

Tryptophan, the precursor of the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin, also has relaxing and calming effects. Serotonin levels are often low among people with anxiety disorders. A recent study found that 44 percent of alcoholics suffer from anxiety. You can be pretty sure that you are low on tryptophan if you have ever blacked out from drinking. It has been established that low tryptophan stores trigger blackouts.

You will also be taking bio-reacted chromium to promote conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. It accomplishes this by facilitating absorption into muscle tissue of the amino acids that compete with tryptophan for access to the brain.

Inositol is a B vitamin that has been found to be quite effective treating panic disorder. Inositol works by regulating the action serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter, within the nerve cells. Its safety has been noted up to twenty grams per day. At HRC we find it a powerful brain chemical in reducing anxiety.

In addition to the amino acids discussed above, certain B vitamins are crucial to reducing anxiety. Indeed, the textbook description of anxiety neurosis exactly matches the symptoms of vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency: hyperactivity, depression, fatigue, apprehension, headache, and insomnia. A deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) causes extreme anxiety, nervousness, confusion, and melancholy. Vitamin B6 is easily destroyed by heavy use of alcohol, drugs, and refined sugars.

Can B vitamins relieve anxiety? An interesting new study showed significantly decreased levels of anxiety among a group of alcoholics treated with megavitamins. Over a twenty-one-day period, the group took approximately three grams of vitamin C, three grams of niacin, six hundred milligrams of B6, and six hundred international units (IU) of vitamin E per day. A comparison group received only inert gelatin capsules. None of the subjects in either group took antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Anxiety levels in both groups were measured three times over the twenty-one days. They fell dramatically only in the group on megavitamin therapy.

In people with chronic anxiety unrelated to life events, an injection of sodium lactate will trigger a panic attack. Eating a lot of foods high in refined sugar increases blood lactate levels and can induce panic in susceptible persons. The bio-reacted chromium in the HRC anxiety formula stabilizes blood sugar and helps prevent panic. Eliminating caffeine and alcohol and refined sugars from the diet is essential for anyone suffering from anxiety.


Pantothenic acid has an amazing power to reduce stress. Remember those prison volunteers who became irritable, tense, sullen, quarrelsome, and depressed when fed a diet deficient in pantothenic acid? You won't be surprised to learn that the HRC formula for stress (Table 14 of Seven Weeks to Sobriety) includes pantothenic acid (B5) which combats stress by rebuilding adrenal glands exhausted by alcoholism.

Other stress fighters include glutamine, which rids the body of ammonia that builds up as a result of the protein destruction brought on by stress. Another amino acid, tyrosine, helps in other ways. Tyrosine is converted into adrenaline to replenish supplies exhausted by stress. Tyrosine combined with iodine from the salt in your diet will help your thyroid form the hormone thyroxine, which lessens stress by stabilizing your metabolic rate.

Vitamin C is also a potent stress fighter that works with pantothenic acid to rebuild the adrenal glands. You also will be taking B-complex vitamins to soothe your nerves and boost your energy. The formula also includes zinc to help you absorb the B vitamins.

The stress formula is provided to recovering alcoholics for future use. There may come a time when stress threatens your sobriety. Should that happen, begin taking the formula as directed and continue for one month.


Memory Loss

Is your short-term memory failing? Alcohol is probably responsible. Gary Tollefson, Ph.D., a medical researcher at the University of Minnesota, came up with some striking findings about memory loss among alcoholics. He compared the postmortem brains of people who suffered from memory loss in old age with those of heavy drinkers. He found that the brain cells of alcoholics, specifically the structures involving memory processing, age prematurely. The most seriously affected are tissues within the hippocampus, a segment the brain responsible for the initial processing of long-term memory and storage of short-term recall.

Tollefson's study focused on acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in short-term memory. Alcoholics as well as the elderly suffer gradual loss of this vital neurotransmitter. The brain compensates for this change by heightening the sensitivity of the receptors carrying memory messages, but because of the acetylcholine shortage, the transmission cannot be completed and short-term recall is poor.

Recovering alcoholics must resupply the precursor chemical-phosphatidylcholine, which is converted to acetylcholine in the brain and restores memory function. Other researchers have found that increasing dietary choline raises brain levels of acetylcholine. We use PC-55, a granular form of phosphatidylcholine, which has a 55 percent conversion rate, the highest available today. You will also be taking pantothenic acid, which is needed to convert phosphatidylcholine to acetylcholine (Table 15 from Seven Weeks to Sobriety).

Acetyl L. Carnitine has shown significant benefits in correcting the cognitive damage that occurs in chronic alcoholism. It too enhances cholinergic transmission, increases the metabolic rate in our brain cells, and protects the brain from lipid peroxidation (aging deterioration).

Many studies suggest that the herb Gingko Biloba improves memory and concentration due to its ability to increase blood circulation within the brain. Gingko also protects against free radical damage to brain cells.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) stimulates neurotransmitter release and increases our brain glucose levels while improving cognitive functioning and memory tasks.

These compounds protect our brains against the ravages of aging as well as repairing alcoholic damage. Our clients on this formula tell us it is such a relief to have their memories functioning again!

Two other nutrients-vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B12 (cobalamine)-can help. Alcohol blocks absorption of thiamine causing memory loss, central-nervous-system damage, and poor concentration. Obviously, you have to resupply this important nutrient. And you need B12 because concentration and memory difficulties can develop when this nutrient is unavailable or poorly absorbed.


The discovery of melatonin's role in our bodies has given us the absolute ability to regulate our sleep cycle. The right dose will usual depend on your age:

Plan to take melatonin one half hour before you want to sleep, and during that last thirty minutes, be sure you wind down your pace and activities.

A number of nutrients can calm you and help you sleep. Although tryptophan is available in the United States, it is only by prescription at this time. In the brain, tryptophan is converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which causes us to fall asleep. Depletion of tryptophan as a result of heavy drinking explains why alcoholics suffer from insomnia.

Several other nutrients also have calming properties. Inositol has a soothing effect on spinal-cord nerves, the brain, and cerebrospinal fluid and produces antianxiety effects similar to the drugs Librium and Meprobamate. The amino-acid derivative GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is also a calming substance. The combination of inositol, GABA, and niacinamide enhances sleep.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is responsible for our dreams. Everyone dreams; if you have no dream recall, don't assume you have stopped dreaming. Begin taking additional vitamin B6 every morning, and you will soon enjoy vivid technicolor dreams. The quality of your sleep will improve, too.

Vitamin C also promotes restful sleep. A study measuring possible brain and central-nervous-system stimulants and sedatives demonstrated that vitamin C has potent sedative, antianxiety properties.

The magnesium deficiencies so common among chronic alcoholics contribute to insomnia as well as restlessness, changes in heart rhythm, and tremors.

Calcium is essential for controlling the excitability of the nervous system. It has a calming effect that will help you sleep normally.


Much of the chronic fatigue and exhaustion experienced by alcoholics may stem from overstressed and exhausted adrenal glands. Endocrinologist John Tintera, M.D., whose work I have described in earlier in this website, notes that the most common symptom of hypoadrenocorticism (failing adrenals) is monumental fatigue and loss of stamina. This state of exhaustion can be reversed only by carefully adhering to a diet to counteract hypoglycemia and rebuilding the adrenal glands.

Dr. Tintera treated this condition with a bovine adrenocortical extract injected intravenously over a period of several weeks. For a short time after the injection, the body of the recipient acknowledges, the presence of this bovine adrenaline and lets its own adrenals rest and recuperate. I had personal experience with these injections during the early l970s. At the time, a 17-keto steroid test showed that my adrenal glands were exhausted probably from the stress of widowhood and single parenting. Fortunately, my physician knew about adrenocortical extract (ACE) and did not make the mistake of prescribing cortisone, which is a hundred times stronger. Cortisone is a synthetic drug powerful enough to completely take over adrenal function. If this happens, the adrenals can gradually atrophy. The longer you take cortisone, the lower your odds of getting off it and rebuilding your own adrenals. The drug also has some very undesirable side effects. It causes the face to round to a characteristic moon shape and alters the upper back into a "buffalo hump". Mental instability is another potential side effect. For these reasons, treatment with ACE was much safer. Unfortunately, in the last few years, the FDA has made it impossible for physicians to obtain ACE. Now some doctors have begun prescribing small amounts of natural cortisol to take at each meal. William Jeffries, M.D., explains this therapy in his 1996 book, Safe Uses of Cortisol.

Another adrenal hormone and neurosteroid that is made by your adrenal cortex is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Natural levels DHEA peak in our early twenties and then diminish about 20 percent for each ensuing decade. One study correlates zero DHEA with death! Stress accelerates the loss of DHEA, and certainly living with alcoholism and hypoglycemia (and, of course, pyroluria) will shortchange you of adequate DHEA. The first step is to measure your present levels with a lab test.

At HRC we have found that most alcoholics over forty are good candidates for DHEA replacement. Over 5,000 studies exist describing DHEA's ability to restore stamina and energy, enhance libido, reduce stress, restore memory, fight cancer, reduce body fat, and maintain vigor even into old age. You can purchase DHEA in 25 milligram capsules without a prescription, but make sure you buy pharmaceutical grade DHEA that is 99 percent pure DHEA.

It is best to seek your doctor's advice if you are combining the following drugs with DHEA.

  • Estrogen. DHEA converts to estrogen, so women on hormone replacement therapy may wish to reduce their estrogen intake. Lab testing will monitor these levels.
  • Aspirin and blood thinners. DHEA may act as a mild blood thinner. If taking blood thinners, a lab check of blood-clotting levels is in order before and after adding DHEA.
  • Thyroid hormones. A combination of thyroid supplementation and DHEA can result in thyroid overstimulation. Use caution and monitor.

A number of other natural chemicals will help you combat fatigue (see Table 17 from Seven Weeks to Sobriety, The HRC Formula for Fatigue). Glutamine can boost your energy by supplying adequate brain glucose which prevents the mild insulin shock so common among hypoglycemic alcoholics. And the free-form amino-acid blend (Bio-Aminos) you take as part of your adjusted nutrient plan, can help restore the body's metabolic energy.

Pantothenic acid and vitamin C are also essential for restoration of adrenal health. Interestingly, Native Americans used to eat animal adrenal glands in the winter, which gave them a supply of vitamin C until fruits and vegetables became available in the spring. Pantothenic acid is important for formation of the actual adrenocortical hormones.

You will also be taking B complex vitamins to replenish deficiencies that can underlie fatigue. For example, a deficiency of B1 (thiamine) causes fatigue; lack of B2 (riboflavin) can make you sluggish; B3 (niacin) deficiency causes your energy level to suffer; low B12 levels can cause fatigue. And you need vitamin B6 for proper adrenal functioning.

Pain Control

A number of studies have demonstrated that amino acids are extremely effective for relief of chronic pain. In one, oral doses of D-phenylalanine (not L-phenylalanine) provided significant relief for patients with lower back pain and chronic pain from lumbar fusion, neuralgia, and osteoarthritis. In another, two grams of phenylalanine taken one hour before a dental procedure resulted in a marked rise in the patient's pain threshold. Adding D-phenylalanine to morphine can reduce and, in some cases, eliminate individual variation in the drug's effectiveness. The explanation for these remarkable effects the action of D-phenylalanine in the brain, where it appears to block the action of certain enzymes that normally break down and destroy endorphins and enkephalins, the body's natural painkillers. Three grams of D-phenylalanine has also proved effective for the control bone-cancer pain.

Tryptophan can also help combat intractable pain as a result of its effect on the brain's primary pain-inhibiting center. For some people, three grams of tryptophan per day can reduce chronic maxillofacial pain. A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that three and a half grams of tryptophan decreased sensitivity to pain and increased drowsiness but did not impair sensory motor performance. The cofactors vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), and vitamin B6 must be present for the tryptophan to be effective.


Alcohol-Induced Tremors, Shakiness

In a study of abstinent alcoholics, all of the participants continued to suffer from tremors ten weeks after treatment. This common problem can be reversed by combining the amino acid taurine with magnesium, calcium, B-complex vitamins, and omega-6 essential fatty acid (Table 19, Seven Weeks to Sobriety). Of these nutrients, the one that is new to you is taurine which, according to a 1977 study, effectively blocked the shakes of alcohol withdrawal.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can also reduce tremors that occur during alcohol withdrawal. This fatty acid is also essential to the prevention and treatment of alcohol-induced central-nervous-system impairment. Calcium and B-complex vitamins also help control this problem. All the B vitamins are essential to nervous-system stability, while calcium and magnesium calm and relax nerve tissue. The depletion of both these minerals by alcohol is responsible for the acute tremors that occur during withdrawal. It has been shown that magnesium can reverse delirium tremens. At Health Recovery Center we administer intravenous magnesium to control patients' muscle tremors and help prevent convulsive seizures.

The Tremors/Shakiness formula can be found at
(look for formula #219, Steady and Sure Nutritional Support)


What About Emotions?

With few exceptions, we have concentrated this segment of our website on physical symptoms. But some of the most painful problems recovering alcoholics face are the out-of-control emotions that can undermine their recovery. Coming up we will discuss difficulties of aggression, lack of concentration, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a very serious psychiatric disorder that affects longtime alcoholics. You will also learn more about the nutrients you need to recover and maintain your health.


Dr. Mathews Larson writes:

"So far, I haven't mentioned depression. I won't disappoint you. This is a subject very close to my heart. As a result of my son's suicide, I have always paid special attention to the puzzle of alcoholic depression. The biochemical aspects of this mystery are far too complex for a simple formula. At HRC we have found that at least seven different biochemical patterns can underlie depression. All seven stem from alcohol-related changes in the biochemistry of the brain not from responses to external events. It is essential to identify and address the physical damage that has given rise to these symptoms."

Our examination of depression will help you identify the cause of your particular problem. Armed with the appropriate clues, you'll be able to undertake repair.


Week Four: Continuing Repair

By now, those who have been on the repair program for alcoholism should be feeling the positive effects of your efforts. You are feeling better and have weaned your body away from alcohol; the addictive bond has been broken. Or has it? You may be physically free of your addiction to alcohol but still emotionally vulnerable to its grasp.

We discussed the physical basis for some of the emotional problems common among alcoholics. You won't be surprised to learn that a number of other emotional problems are caused by alcohol's depletion of natural brain chemicals needed for stable emotions and good mental health. The following information will discuss aggression and irritability, short attention span / poor concentration, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a serious psychiatric disorder seen in advanced alcoholism.

Now let's take a look at the emotional problems that can sabotage your recovery and discuss what you can do to overcome them.

Aggression, Sudden Anger, and Violence

Years ago when I was new to this field, I represented our public-sector agency at a meeting with representatives of the local court system to discuss the many cases of verbal and physical abuse among alcoholics, drinking or sober. Several of the social workers present remarked that violence often continued whether or not the alcoholics had been treated or had stopped drinking on their own. The social workers felt that the outbursts were the result of personality traits common to many alcoholics. At the time, I wasn't familiar with the research linking brain chemistry and aggression, particularly the violence brought on by the hypoglycemic episodes experienced by so many alcoholics, regardless of whether or not they are drinking.

I later learned of some anthropological studies done in the 1970's among the Quolla Indians of Central America. Since the sixteenth century, the Quollas have been known for their violence, unpremeditated murder is rather common among them. The anthropologists discovered that Quolla diets were very poor: high in refined sugars and alcohol and short on basic nutrition. Every single one of the tribesmen tested turned out to be hypoglycemic. What's more, the most violent of the Indians had supernormal surges of adrenaline when their glucose levels fell too low.

By now you know enough about hypoglycemia to understand what can happen under these circumstances. By the time the adrenaline is released, the reasoning brain has turned off, leaving the animal brain in charge. At best, this abnormal situation can erupt in verbal anger. At worst, it can bring on physical aggression that can have tragic results. Consider this depressingly familiar scenario: an abusive spouse leaves a favorite bar in a hypoglycemic state brought on by an evening of heavy drinking and arrives home about the time the adrenaline hits the bloodstream. At this point, anyone unfortunate enough to cross his or her path may be subjected to uncontrollable anger expressed as physical abuse. Counseling has little to offer these people. Our prisons are full of such violent hypoglycemics.

If hypoglycemic alcoholics stop drinking but continue to consume large amounts of caffeine and refined sugars, the outbursts of irritability and sudden anger will continue. These symptoms will disappear only when brain glucose levels stabilize. For me, one of the most gratifying results of the HRC repair program is the immense relief clients report when their anger disappears.

Some other enlightening findings on the chemistry of violence and anger come from a 1982 study of two groups of murderers. The first group had committed unprovoked murders; their aggression was deemed spontaneous. The second group was labeled paranoid and had killed only after much premeditation. An analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid of both groups revealed that levels of a serotonin metabolite hydroxyindoleactic acid or 5HIAA) were significantly lower among the unprovoked, spontaneous murderers than either the paranoid group or a group of normal noncriminal controls.

Since serotonin is derived from tryptophan, we can conclude that calm, nonviolent brain chemistry requires an adequate intake of tryptophan plus vitamins B3 and B6, the nutrients needed to promote conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.

Another brain chemical with calming properties is gamma-Aminobutyric acid, better known as GABA. You may be interested to know that tranquilizers like Valium and Ativan owe their soothing effects to the fact that they stimulate GABA receptors in the brain. You can get the same effect with our formula called Alpha Waves, designed and manufactured for our clients (Table 20, Seven Weeks to Sobriety). Six capsules per day provides 1,000 milligrams of GABA. This calming formula also contains:

  • Glycine, an amino acid that can reduce aggression when combined with the vitamin inositol. Glycine strengthens the calming of alpha brain waves and reduces excitatory beta waves
  • Taurine, another amino acid, which helps regulate the excitable tissues of the central nervous system
  • Herbal passion flower extract, a formulation that also has a calming influence on the brain
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacinamide
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Magnesium
  • Inositol, which regulates the calming action of serotonin within nerve cells

An insider's tip: At HRC, counselors have been known to take three or four capsules at one time to stop, quickly and effectively, the tension they are feeling. This dose is harmless, but it should not be considered "customary" usage.

Short Attention Span / Poor Concentration

Many alcoholics trace their difficulties with concentration back to childhood. These people also tend to be fidgety, easily distracted, impulsive, and clumsy. Some say they became addicted to marijuana because it calms them. If this is your problem, you may have an undiscovered food allergy. There is also the possibility that the toxic effects on the brain of the many additives, chemicals, and dyes in our foods may be to blame.

A number of studies have linked hyperactivity and other childhood problems to food additives. There is also some persuasive circumstantial evidence to support this connection. In Europe, where less than twenty food additives are approved for use, hyperactivity among children is comparatively rare, affecting only one child in two thousand, as compared to one in four in the United States, where more than four thousand food additives are in use.

Studies in Germany have shown that many children are highly sensitive to the phosphate (the bubbles) in soda pop. Researchers have found that phosphates can induce aggression and violence and may underlie handwriting changes and even dyslexia.

Doctors once believed that children outgrow hyperactivity in adolescence, but we now know that there is no magic age at which symptoms disappear. Many adults exhibit telltale signs of hyperactivity, including nervous habits such as nail biting and foot jiggling, workaholic habits, unstable emotions, insomnia, restless sleep, irritability, speaking with a louder or more highly pitched voice when stressed, and adult temper tantrums.

Without help, troubled children grow into equally troubled adults. They are sometimes disliked because of their aggressive, defiant personalities.

The root of these problems is often the effect of certain foods and chemicals on the formation of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. An enzyme known as GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) is essential to normal GABA formation. We now know that GAD can be blocked or inhibited by a number of substances or conditions, including:

  • Food additives (artificial dyes)
  • Salicylates, natural chemicals abundant in almonds, apples, apricots, berries, cherries, grapes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, plums, prunes, and raisins
  • A low-protein diet
  • Estrogens
  • Oxidation
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency

Many of our clients have overcome hyperactivity irritability, and poor concentration by taking GABA supplements. (We recommend that they also avoid chlorinated water, refined sugars, dyes, food additives, salicylates, and all foods and drugs containing caffeine or nicotine.)

The amino acids glycine and taurine aid in this repair process by reducing the intensity of the brain's beta waves (which promote alertness, cognitive thinking, and excitability) and by enhancing calming alpha waves.

Our HRC formula for high distractibility, short attention span, and poor concentration (Table 21, Seven Weeks to Sobriety) also contains some now-familiar ingredients.

Tryptophan helps boost the availability of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin.

The antioxidant complex helps protect you from the effects of environmental pollution (automobile exhaust, formaldehydes, cigarette smoke) as well as food dyes, additives, and chemicals that can trigger reactions in susceptible individuals.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has also proven useful. Some compelling scientific evidence links a lack of essential fatty acids to hyperactivity. An English study of ten thousand hyperactive youngsters detected consistent abnormalities in essential fatty acid availability. The findings were challenged by two groups of New Zealand psychiatrists; they tested hyperactive children themselves and came up with the same results: Inadequate availability of omega-6 essential fatty acids.

Further evidence comes from Paul Wender, M.D., a Salt Lake City epidemiologist who correlated childhood hyperactivity with a higher than normal risk of alcoholism later in life. The underlying chemistry here is a bit tricky to follow: A lack of essential fatty acids is one of several factors that cause defects in a component of the immune system, the T suppressor lymphocytes. When these T suppressors fail to function properly, allergic reactions develop. Among these reactions is the classic allergic/addicted response to the grains in alcohol. Replacing omega-6 essential fatty acid will help improve T suppressor cell functioning, which in turn enhances control over allergic reactions.


Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome stems from causes similar to those of beriberi, depletion of the body's stores of thiamine (vitamin B1) from many years of malnutrition due to alcoholism. Symptoms include anemia, anxiety, depression, and confusion. About 40 percent of those affected also have anemia as a result of folic acid deficiency. At HRC, we treat Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome with weekly injections of thiamine. Clients also take daily doses of thiamine in capsule form (Table 22, Seven Weeks to Sobriety).

Korsakoff's psychosis, a disorder stemming from destruction of nerve fibers connecting brain cells, is a serious neurological/psychiatric disorder seen in advanced alcoholism. It stems from the effects of the acetaldehyde that builds up in the liver and spills over into the bloodstream, where it creates free radicals that cause damage throughout the body. In the brain it can impair cellular communication by injuring the nerve fibers connecting cells. The prescription drug Hydergine stimulates regrowth of these damaged nerve fibers. The most effective form of Hydergine comes in tablets, which can be placed under the tongue for immediate absorption. Ask your doctor about Hydergine if you feel you need help in this area.


Additional information on formula schedules and recommended doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair can be found in the book
Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Information on this website is reprinted from the book,
Seven Weeks to Sobriety by Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-449-00259-4) Copyright ©1991-2018. All rights reserved. This information may not be reproduced
without permission from Villard Books, a division of Random House Inc. & Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D.

Supplements and Formulas from Seven Weeks to Sobriety