Brain Function Questionnaire - unabridged version

Dr. Rodger Murphree, whom Dr. Todd Austin received his 'Advanced Clinical Nutrition Certification' from, has found that many of us fit into certain 'neurotransmitter deficiency groupings' depending on how we answer the following questionnaire.

Please use this questionnaire to find the groups you fit into. It will help us make decisions about the correct way to start you on your road to recovery. Let's see which brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) you may be low in by taking this quiz.

Note: If you would like the abrigded version which is only two pages long (as it is the questionnaire only with no discussion), please access it by clicking here. This book is an awesome resource for any individual who wants to take charge of her mood disorders 
without prescription meds.

The "S" Group (S for Serotonin)


Please note the items which apply to your present feelings: If three or more of the above apply, then read below...

Explanation for The "S" Group


Serotonin is a hypothalamus neurotransmitter which is necessary for happiness by day and deep restorative sleep by night (through a conversion of serotonin to melatonin). A lack of serotonin causes difficulty in getting to sleep as well as staying asleep. It is often this lack of quality deep restorative sleep that causes the symptoms mentioned above. Serotonin levels can easily be raised by supplementing with the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan. Dietary supplements of L-tryptophan were at one time banned in the United States. The natural sources of L-tryptophan include milk, cheese, meat, ham, peanuts, and cottage cheese. All of these are very high in calories and cholesterol content. As a consequence, in order to keep your serotonin supply at a proper level, you must supplement small amounts of food sources of L-tryptophan with the serotonin production catalysts, calcium, magnesium, and trace element, chromium. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) a form of tryptophan, is available over-the-counter and works extremely well for most patients.

Group 'S' patients need to be taking 5-HTP - Which is available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Peak X Warning
5HTP is derived from plant sources and when manufactured correctly is incredibly safe. However, some manufacturers try to cut corners and may produce batches of 5-HTP with potentially harmful contaminants, including a substance known as “peak X.” Always read the label and make sure the 5-HTP you’re taking is certified to be “peak X” free. Every batch of Dr. Murphree’s 5-HTP is certified to be “peak X” free.

Supplementing with 5HTP
Start with taking 50mgs 30 minutes before bed. Take on an empty stomach, along with 4 ounces of juice (apple or grape). You may need to increase this dose up to 200 mgs per night. If you feel hung over the next day, decrease your dose of 5-HTP. Warning – a few individuals who attempt to take 5-HTP at night will have an adverse reaction. Individuals with a sluggish liver (usually more pronounced in CFS) may have trouble breaking down 5-HTP fast enough. Instead of making them sleepy, it revs them up and they become more mentally alert. If this happens, simply take 1-2 5-HTP tablets with food 1-2 times a day and discontinue using it at bedtime on empty stomach.

Group S patients need to be taking 5-HTP
- Which is available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL


The "G" Group (G for GABA)


Please note the items which apply to your present feelings: If three or more of the above apply, then read below...

Group 'G' patients need to be taking either GABA or L-Theanine 
- Which are both available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Group 'G' patients need to be taking either GABA or L-Theanine 
- Which are both available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL

Explanation for The "G" Group


The "G" group symptoms are from the absence of the neurotransmitter, Gamma Amine Butyric Acid (GABA). GABA is an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating moods and mental clarity. Tranquilizers (referred to as benzodiazipines) used to treat anxiety and panic disorders work by attempting to increase GABA levels.

GABA is made from the amino acid, Glutamine. Glutamine passes across the blood-brain barrier and helps provide the necessary fuel needed for proper brain function. Even a small shortage of GABA can produce unwarranted feelings of insecurity and anxiousness. Other symptoms include continuous fatigue, depression, and occasionally impotence.

Supplementing with GABA Usually only a small dose of GABA is needed: from 500 to 1,000 milligrams twice per day. Some individuals may need to take GABA 3-4 times a day. Like most amino acids, GABA needs to be taken on an empty stomach.

Group G patients need to take either GABA (Gamma Amine Butyric Acid) or L-theanine
- Both are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL

The "O" Group (O for Opiods)


Do ANY of these apply to your present feelings? If three or more of the above apply, then read below...

Explanation for The "O" Group


The "O" Group is named for the Opioid neurotransmitters contained in the Hypothalamus Gland. These neurotransmitters have two primary functions:
1. Opioids are released in small bursts when we feel a sense of urgency (stress). Some individuals thrive on this sense of urgency. They love just meeting deadlines, racing around to get things done. They seem to feed off of this adrenaline rush. A sense of urgency can help us get out of bed in the morning or get the kids off to school. However, if you can never turn this sense of urgency off, you’ll eventually deplete the opioid neurotransmitters along with other vital adrenal hormones including cortisol, and DHEA.

As a way to turn off the constant mind chatter, those in the “O Group” use stimulants and mind-numbing chemicals (ie, alcohol, marijuana, junk food, caffeine, etc.) to escape the constant pressure they place on themselves to be more, do more and have more. Those individuals with 'Type A’ personalities are often overcome by opioid burn-out. They cannot sit still...until the day arrives when the bottom falls out and they “just can’t do it anymore.”

Alcohol and other chemicals can temporarily relieve the anxious feelings associated with opioid overload. They do so by providing artificial opioids. Unfortunately, these artificial opioids also cause the Opioid manufacturing cells in your brain to reduce their output. In the long run these cells lose their ability to produce the needed opioid neurotransmitters. You then crave the artificial opioids and an addiction now exists!

2. When you exercise, your body causes extra quantities of the opioids to be released. This takes away the pain of sore muscles and may provide a feeling of euphoria. Long distance runners (and other avid exercise enthusiasts) are well aware of the “Runner's High” that comes from pushing the body past its normal limits. The opioids play an important role in pain modulation.

Group 'O' patients need to be taking DLPA & 
L-Glutamine - Which are both available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Group 'O' patients need to be taking DLPA & 
L-Glutamine - Which are both available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL A deficiency of opioids (such as endorphins and enkephalons) can lower our pain threshold. A lowered pain threshold leads to an increased sensitivity to painful stimuli.

DL-Phenylalanine (a special form of the amino acid Phenylalanine) can be extremely helpful in restoring proper opioid levels.

Supplementing with DL- Phenylalanine (DLPA)
Start with 1,000 milligrams, 1 to 2 times per day, on an empty stomach. If you don’t seem to notice any benefits, keep increasing the dose up to 4,000 milligrams twice per day. If you experience a rapid heartbeat, agitation or hyperactivity, reduce or stop taking DL- Phenylalanine.

Note: Adding L- Glutamine increases the effectiveness of both DL and L- Phenylalanine. Take 500 mgs of L- Glutamine 1 to 2 times per day on an empty stomach along with the DL-Phenyalanine or L-Phenyalanine.

Note: Both DL and L- Phenylalanine can increase blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking either form of Phenylalanine.

Note: Phenylalanine can be stimulating and shouldn’t be taken past 3 in the afternoon.

Group O patients need to take both DLPA (DL-Phenylalanine) & L-Glutamine
- Both are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL

The "D" Group (D for Dopamine)


Please note the items which apply to your present feelings: If three or more of the above apply then read below...

Explanation for the "D" Group


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the enjoyment of: life; food; the arts; nature; your family; your friends; your hobbies and other pleasures. The popularity of cocaine (or chocolate) stems from the fact that it causes very high levels of dopamine to be released in a sudden rush. This creates a highly euphoric state. A dopamine deficiency can lead to a condition known as anhedonia. Anhedonia is the lack of ability to feel any pleasure or remorse in life (lifelessness). It also reduces the person's attention span. For example, a person who has taken cocaine for some length of time will have used up most of his or her natural dopamine reserves. Their attention span is often reduced to 2 to 3 minutes instead of the usual 50 to 60 minutes. Learning, for such a person, is nearly impossible.

Brain fatigue, confusion, and lethargy are all by-products of low dopamine. The brain cells which "manufacture" dopamine use the amino acid L-Phenylalanine as the raw material. Like most cells in the hypothalamus, they have the ability to produce 4 or 5 times their usual output if larger quantities of the raw materials (amino acids and their co-factors) are made available through nutritional supplementation.

Group 'D' or 'N'patients need to be taking either a combination of both L-Phenylalanine & L-Glutamine or SAMe 
- All of which are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Group 'O' patients need to be taking both L-Phenylalanine & L-Glutamine (or SAMe)- Which are all available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Group 'O' patients need to be taking both L-Phenylalanine & L-Glutamine (or SAMe)- Which are all available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Supplementing with L-Phenylalanine
Start with 1,000 mgs, twice per day, taken on an empty stomach. If needed, increase up to 4,000 mgs twice per day. If you experience a rapid heartbeat, agitation, or hyperactivity, reduce or stop taking L-Phenylalanine.

Note: L-glutamine increases the effectiveness of both DL and L- Phenylalanine. Take 500 mgs of L-Glutamine, 1 to2 times per day, on an empty stomach.

Note: Both DL and L-Phenylalanine can increase blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking either form of phenylalanine.

Note: Phenylalanine can be stimulating and shouldn’t be taken past 3 in the afternoon.

Group D patients needs to take either a combination of both L-Phenylalanine & L-Glutamine or SAMe (see explanation below)
- All are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL

The "N" Group (N for Norepinephrine)


Please note the items which apply to your present feelings: If three or more of the above apply, then read below...

Explanation for the "N" Group


The neurotransmitter Norepinephrine, when released in the brain, causes feelings of arousal, energy, and drive. On the other hand, a short supply of it will cause feelings of a lack of ambition, drive, and/or energy. A lack of Norepinephrine can even cause depression, paranoia, and feelings of apathy. Norepinephrine is also used to initiate the "flow" of adrenaline when you are under psychological stress. People under a great load of stress, or a continuous stress-load of almost any size, often find their Norepinephrine levels to be deficient.

This is most frequently detected by the "feelings" listed in the "N" group of the questionnaire you have just taken. The production of Norepinephrine in the hypothalamus is a 2-step process. The amino acid, L-Phenylalanine, is first converted into L-Tyrosine. The amino acid, L-Tyrosine, is then converted into Norepinephrine. In extreme cases L-Tyrosine is supplemented to increase Norepinephrine and Dopamine. However, if the levels of L-Tyrosine are not low, this can cause headaches. This is why Dr. Murphree and I usually recommend L-Phenylalanine replacement therapy first (as opposed to taking L-Tyrosine).

Supplementing with L-Phenylalanine
Start with 1,000 mgs, twice per day, taken on an empty stomach. If needed, increase up to 4,000 mgs twice per day. If you experience a rapid heartbeat, agitation, or hyperactivity - reduce or stop taking L- phenylalanine.

Note: L-Glutamine increases the effectiveness of both DL and L- phenylalanine. Take 500 mgs of L-Glutamine 1-2 times per day, on an empty stomach.

Note: Both DL and L-phenylalanine can increase blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking either form of phenylalanine.

Note: Phenylalanine can be stimulating and shouldn’t be taken past 3 in the afternoon.

Update - There's another option to L-Phenylalanine
Both Dr. Murphree and I have recently started recommending SAMe instead of L-Phenylalanine because of positive recent studies. S-Adenosyl-methionine (SAMe)- is involved in regulating the brain's neurotransmitters. Normally the brain manufactures all the SAMe it needs from the amino acid methionine. However, low protein diets, malabsorption and deficiencies developed from excess methionine use in certain detoxification pathways can create a need for SAMe replacement. SAMe has been shown through several recent, well designed, studies to be one of the best natural antidepressants available.

SAMe helps boost serotonin and norepinephrine levels. It also helps increase the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain blocking chemicals (an opioid) and are fifty times more powerful than morphine. Because it produces quick results, SAMe has been used to hasten the onset of action of the antidepressant imipramine.

SAMe Helps Boost the Effects of Antidepressants
No matter what Group (or Groups) you need help with, please don't forget your Optimal Daily Allowance Multivitamin / Multimineral 
- All of which are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL Prescription antidepressants fail to work for some fifty percent of those taking them. One way to boost the beneficial effects of antidepressant medications is to take them with SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). Research has already shown that SAMe increases both serotonin and noriepinephrine levels (brain chemicals) and is a potent antidepressant by itself. Now researchers have shown that combining SAMe with prescription antidepressants reduces the failure rate of anti-depressant medications by 43%.

SAMe has quickly become one of my favorite nutritional supplements. I’m using it more and more in my practice for depression, fatigue, and pain disorders. SAMe elevates endorphin levels.

SAMe and Fibromyalgia
Studies involving FMS (also known as 'Fibromyalgia' or 'Fibromyalgia Syndrome') patients and SAMe have shown dramatic improvements in pain reduction. One study even showed that individuals taking SAMe for a period of 6 weeks had an improvement of 40% in pain reduction and 35% improvement in their depression!
Grassetto & Varotto, 1994, pp. 797-806.
Jaccobsen S, Danneskiold – Samose B, Anderson RB. Oral s-adenosyl-L-methionine in primary fibromyalgia. Double-blind clinical evaluation. Scandinavian Journal of Rheum 20(4): 294-302, 1991.

Supplementing with SAMe
Start with 200 mg to 400mg taken on an empty stomach in the morning. You can go up to a maximum of 1,200mg per day. Don’t take late in the day. Not everyone will need to take the maximum dose. Take a good optimal daily allowance multivitamin/mineral formula and both Dr. Murphree and I also recommend taking adrenal cortex supplements.

Group N patients needs to take either a combination of both L-Phenylalanine & L-Glutamine or preferably SAMe
- All are available at Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL

****Remember that in order to assure that these specific amino acids will be converted into the desired neurotransmitters in your body & brain, it is of utmost importance to take an 'OPTIMAL DAILY ALLOWANCE' Multi as opposed to a one-a-day 'Recommended Daily Allowance' or 'Recommended Disease Allowance' (take your pick) which usually doesn't include nearly enough of the B vitamins, Vitamin C or Magnesium to successfully drive the process that converts the aforementioned amino acids into neurotransmitters.

Orthomolecular Medicine pioneer Dr. Rodger Murphree (left) with Dr. Todd Austin from Austin Family Chiropractic in Virden, IL.

Austin Family Chiropractic & Acupuncture

157 North Springfield Street / West Side Square
Virden, Illinois 62690
(217) 965-3100

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