Heroin use stimulates many aspects of the brain repeatedly. The repeated stimulation leads to imbalances of the brain. Eventually the constant stimulation of certain aspects of the brain lead to suppression and depletion in the brain. The overuse results in depletion and the constant use eventually exhausts the over stimulated aspects of the brain. This can lead to cravings. The depleted aspects can no longer function as before and the body and brain realize this in the form of cravings. The desire to experience the sensations associated with the over stimulated brain can not be realized in the depleted and suppressed state. The cravings give the person the false belief that the only way to satisfy the cravings is by use of drugs. This is an illusion since the brain no longer has the chemical ability to repeat the sensations associated with the over stimulated brain.

The constant use of heroin has exhausted the brain chemically, imbalanced it, and has made it subject to associations and cravings, and all of these are problems that heroin users need to remedy to move on with their life. Additionally, heroin use results in damage to brain tissue from free radicals. Free radicals are created by stress to the body. Heroin use, even after you stop it, produces free radicals due to the stress of drugs. Free radicals are said by modern medical research to be responsible for most of the damage to the body and brain. To learn more of free radicals go to the article the "Free Radical Cascade." The important point is free radical damage will continue even after you stop using drugs. Therefore free radicals need to be neutralized by antioxidants. Antioxidants are the substances used to repair and detox the body from damage, and they neutralize free radicals. . Also, heroin use as led to decreased brain efficiency. This leads to decreased function which results in additional ongoing damage to brain tissue leading to more free radical accumulation and additional damage.

Therefore one part of recovery from heroin use is to regenerate the brain. You need to restore balance and function to the brain. We often mention Dr. Bob Gibson on this web site. He was a M.D. and healer 65 years and also a diabetic who lived to 108 years. He started treating addicts in the 1930's and continued to treat them into the 1990's. He understood the problems of the over stimulated and chemically imbalanced brain of drug addiction. He was also an orthomolecular doctor. Orthomolecular medicine uses only natural substances that are safe and non-toxic in a wide range of dose and mainly uses herbs, vitamins, and minerals. Dr. Bob developed an orthomolecular protocol to improve the brain of heroin users.

  1. Vitamin B-5 500mg to 1 gram per day - vitamin B-5 is the vitamin that is needed to metabolize and breakdown substances in the brain. In other words you need enough vitamin B-5 for the brain to work optimally. According to Dr. Bob, usually vitamin B-5 in brain metabolism needs about a 1-3 ratio to other brain substances such as choline, L-phenylalanine, and others to properly effect the necessary chemical reactions in the brain. This is why Dr. Bob recommended one-half to one gram per day.
  2. L-phenylalanine 250mg per day – L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is a precursor to two key neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the brain) that promote alertness: dopamine and norepinephrine. The effects of improving dopamine and norepinephrine can lead to elevated mood, aid in memory and learning, and decrease pain. It is often used in orthomolecular medicine to treat depression. Supplemental L-phenylalanine should not be taken by pregnant women or by people who suffer from anxiety attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, phenylketonuria (PKU), or preexisting pigmented melanoma, a type of skin cancer and multiple sclerosis.
  3. Tyrosine 500mg per day - tyrosine is another precursor of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which regulate mood, among other things. A deficiency of norepinephrine in the brain can result in depression. It also is involved in the metabolism of L-phenylalanine. Supplements of L-tyrosine should be taken at bedtime or with a high carbohydrate meal so that it does not have to compete for absorption with other amino acids. Persons taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors often prescribed for depression should not take any supplements containing L-tyrosine, as it may lead to a sudden and dangerous rise in blood pressure. Persons with multiple sclerosis should not use supplemental tyrosine.
  4. Citicholine 250mg per day, also called CDP-Choline - citicholine is metabolized in the brain to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved with memory, thought, sexual function and many other vital aspects of functioning. Improving acetylcholine levels is an aid in regenerating a heroin user's brain. Citicholine also has been shown to be involved in producing other neurotransmitters of the brain. Take it in conjunction with vitamin B-5 supplementation.
  5. L-pyroglutamate 800-1000mg per day - enhances acetylcholine function because it boosts the metabolism of the neurons that manufacture acetylcholine. It also improves acetylcholine by increasing the number of cholinergic receptors in the brain. The cholinergic system is the primary conduit of thought and memory that mainly employs the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
  6. Acetyl-L-carnitine 1 gram per day - is an important antioxidant of the brain and is involved in many aspects of neuronal metabolism. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and damage from heroin use to brain tissue results in the accumulation of free radicals. Heroin use also makes it vital to stimulate neuronal metabolism, the ability to produce energy for the chemical reactions necessary for the brain to work.
  7. Deprenyl - is a prescription substance that is capable of protecting the important neurotransmitter dopamine. Low levels of dopamine can impair cognitive function. Inform the doctor of any other supplements you are taking in conjunction with deprenyl, since all of the substances mentioned in this protocol create synergy and make each more potent. In other words all of these substances in this protocol help each other work better and therefore the doctor will need to determine your deprenyl dose, which may be more or less the usual dose recommended.
  8. Melatonin 1-3 grams at bedtime - the main antioxidant of the brain, it helps to repair and protect the brain from damage. We mentioned that heroin use leads to accumulation of free radicals from prior damage and ongoing damage. Melatonin helps to neutralize and repair this damage.
  9. Hydergine Sandoz - this is a prescription substance that increases oxygen in the brain tissue. Increasing oxygen in brain tissue can greatly improve the brain of a heroin user. We mentioned that damage to the brain can lead to decreased circulation. The decreased circulation reduces the levels of oxygen that can get to brain tissue. Hydergine can improve this condition. Hydergine acts in synergy with most of the nutritional supplements in this article. You therefore need a doctor who is familiar with hydergine and will know what dose to start you off at and what dose to build you up to. Inform your doctor of the other supplements you are taking when you ask about Hydergine.

Dr. Bob's protocol, is designed to improve mood and cognition, as well as repair and protect the brain. Heroin use has created many problems in the brain. You must jump-start the brain in order to get it back to normal functioning. This will usually not happen on its own when the damage that has occurred as depleted the brain and suppressed many other of its aspects. This idea is similar to a car battery that is low and can no longer start. Once it is recharged it may be able to start the car again, but until the battery is recharged the entire automobile cannot function. The brain is electrical, and it is recharged by the neurotransmitters. If the neurotransmitters are low or depleted they need to get a jump-start. Furthermore, many cravings of addiction that are triggered by the depleted brain, may be reduced in a brain that has been improved and rejuvenated. Dr. Bob said often, "good luck and may heaven's blessing be yours."

SPECIAL NOTE: Dr. Bob suggested taking the substances in his "Brain Regeneration Protocol" at the same time, except melatonin and tyrosine. The substances become more potent when taken at the same time. Dr. Bob also suggested taking most of them before 3:00 P.M. so they would not interfere with sleep. Additionally sometimes it was not possible to do the entire protocol, often expenses being a reason. On these occasions Dr. Bob recommended starting the brain regeneration with vitamin B-5, citicholine, L-pyroglutamate, and melatonin.

Note – In order for these anti-aging ideas to be successful, you must use supplements of the highest quality. Dr. Bob often said, "almost all supplement companies produce poor quality." You can consider the product page of this web site. Almost all the products met Dr. Bob’s approval. Since he passed away we have attempted to keep the same high standards.

WARNING:  DO NOT STOP ANY TREATMENT OR MEDICATION YOU CURRENTLY USE.  CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING THE USE OF SUPPLEMENTS. 

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The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any of the statements contained on this web site. The information contained in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Remember each person's body is different and will react differently to various herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements. Therefore, any supplementation must be administered on an individual basis. Use the information found on this web site as precisely that: Information. You and your doctor must make any final decisions. This information is not meant to replace any doctor and patient consultation. This information should in no way replace your personal physician's advice.

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Page Last Modified: 26 Sep 2004