Saturday, July 11, 2020

Are Amino Acids Safe During Pregnancy?


This is a pressing question for women who experience depression or anxiety disorders. There are some problems that exist when dealing with this question, especially considering the amount of information about the safety of amino acids for pregnant women.

Amino Acid Supplements

Many pregnant women who have excessive anxiety or the symptoms of depression often look for natural remedies for mood disorders. Some approaches may be effective while others are simply unsafe. Amino acids are in the unique position of being relatively unexplored in regards to pregnancy and fetal development.

Supplements include:

  • Tryptophan is a naturally occurring substance found in some foods, the most well known is turkey. The substance is naturally sedating and it can alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Tryptophan can also help people sleep better.
  • Phenylalanine is an amino acid that can have significant ramifications including brain cell death, according to Dr. Janet Hull.
  • 5-HTP is a plant extract that is believed to relieve insomnia symptoms and to reduce appetite. The substance is supposed to increase levels of serotonin in the brain, a chemical often under-produced in many people with depression.
  • Tyrosine can help neurons communicate with each other, which may affect mood. Substances in the brain that may be stimulated by the amino acid include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Amino Acids Safety & Pregnancy?

The pressing question is whether amino acid supplements are safe during pregnancy or not. The problem is that while the substances are naturally occurring in foods that are rich in protein, they are found in much smaller doses than are delivered in supplements. Taking too much of anything, especially during pregnancy can lead to significant health problems.

In addition, too little is known about the supplements to make a solid conclusion about their effectiveness or their safeness. Some assert that amino acids should be consumed through diet rather than through supplements.

Relieving Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy

If amino acids are not safe during pregnancy, how can an expecting mother find relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression? She can begin with eating foods that naturally contain amino acids in moderation. Lean meat, fish and other protein-rich foods are ideal.

Other helpful approaches include:

  • Getting advice from a physician for the best strategy to beat depression and anxiety to use
  • Increase activity and engage in moderate exercise
  • Take prenatal vitamins that ensure that you are getting proper nutrition
  • Omega 3 fatty acids can help
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

Before taking any supplement, it is necessary to discuss the approach with your physician. If the symptoms of depression and anxiety are overwhelming, it is extremely important to communicate your experience with a professional. In some cases, simple changes in lifestyle can offer vast improvement.

Gloria Brown
Women's health and wellness retreat leader providing vacations and trips for women to get in shape -- and stay that way! On you can find my articles about weight loss, health and women's issues. Please feel free to contact me on

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