How To Use Amino Acids To Modulate & Optimize Brain Chemistry – Featuring Chris Engen, Founder of Nutrition 4 Recovery

In episode 218 of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Chris Scott interviews Chris Engen, Founder of Nutrition 4 Recovery on biochemical restoration therapies for addiction recovery. Some of the main topics are on how different amino acids affect and benefit the body and the importance of the relationship between psychosocial, spiritual, and biochemical components.

Chris Engen is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and holds a Nutrition Consultant Certificate as well as an Advanced Certification as a Recovery Nutrition Coach.

Here are some of the main topics and quotes from this episode.

shame resilience and addiction recovery

Importance of Nutritional Therapies for Early Recovery

“In early recovery, it’s a good thing for people who are often deficient in multiple nutrients, amino acids, and neurotransmitters to take a blend… something like BioRebalance. And then over time, as the person reaches some stability (eg I feel stable, I feel better than I did before, but I’m still a little bit lethargic, or I’m a little bit too wired, or whatever it is there could be more targeted deficiencies and could be approached with a more targeted approach).”

Benefits of L-Tyrosine and L-Theanine for Early Recovery

“Once they’ve taken it (a combination formula) for a couple of weeks, and they start to feel more balanced, but now it’s like (I just can’t get going, I’m procrastinating, my attention is still terrible), so that would be a symptom of low catecholamines. Catecholamines are dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline, which is very common to be very depleted for anyone with an addiction. And that’s when it would be a good time to supplement with tyrosine or phenylalanine to get those levels back up to normal.”

“I found that I responded really well to L-Theanine is a really good example. I love L-Theanine and I still take it in conjunction with glycine if I need to get to sleep. I find that to be a magic combo for me. A lot of supplements contain 200 mg of L-Theanine, but I do best with 50 mg which is perfect for me.”

About Chris Engen

Amino Acid Therapy, the use of supplemental amino acids to replenish depleted neurotransmitter systems, is Chris Engen’s specialty. She helps people balance their brains so they can cope with stress and make good choices for their lives! Amino acids changed her life and were the MISSING PIECE to her recovery program. Chris has helped hundreds of people successfully use amino acids to curb their cravings for alcohol, sugar, and other substances and addictive behaviors. Not just for addiction though, it’s useful to anyone, because she believes everyone is in recovery from something!

Chris is a cum laude graduate of UC Santa Barbara. She is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN ™) and holds a Nutrition Consultant Certificate (NC) from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. Chris also holds an Advanced Certification as a Recovery Nutrition Coach (CRNC2) for  Nutritional Therapy / Amino Acid Therapy from The Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition. (   

She is a past board member and currently on the Advisory Board for the Alliance for Addiction Solutions ( Chris implemented Amino Acid Therapy into a rehabilitation program in Northern California in 2018, which unfortunately was short-lived but she continues to pursue the Alliance’s mission to get nutrient therapy into rehabilitation programs.

Episode Summary

Here are the main topics discussed in this episode:

  • Importance of restoring nutrients, amino acids, and more during the beginning of recovery
  • What to do when having a negative response to nutrition blends
  • Understanding the effects and benefits of L-Theanine
  • Explaining the “reverse effect”
  • Understanding the effects and benefits of Tyrosine
  • Defining addiction and Chris’s experience with beginning the recovery process
  • Exploring the BAM model
  • Describing the relationship between psychosocial, spiritual, and biochemical components
  • Taking power in not having power
  • Exploring KNT model
  • Chris Engen explaining her work and her courses

Links to Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Right-click here and save as to download this episode on your computer.

shame resilience and addiction recovery


Chris Engen, NC, CRNC, BCHN is not a physician or psychologist, and the scope of her consultation services does not include treatment or diagnosis of specific illnesses or disorders. If I, the client, suspect I may have an ailment or illness that may require medical attention, then it is my responsibility to consult with a licensed physician immediately. Only a licensed physician can prescribe drugs.

Any mention of drugs in the course of consultation is only for the purpose of providing a complete history of drugs that the client is taking and not for Chris Engen to judge the appropriateness of the medication. Any change in prescription or dosage is a decision the client makes with his or her physician.

Rather than dealing with treatment of disease, Chris Engen focuses on wellness and prevention of illness through the use of non-toxic, natural nutritional therapies to achieve optimal health. As a Board Certified Nutrition Consultant, Advanced Certified Recovery Nutrition Coach, Chris Engen primarily educates and motivates clients to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.

While people generally experience greater health and wellness as a result of embracing a healthier attitude, lifestyle, and diet, Chris Engen does not promise or guarantee protection from future illness.

Chris Engen is a Nutrition Consultant and not a physician, and that I should see a doctor if I think I have a medical condition. Chris Engen will not be held liable for failure to diagnose or treat an illness, nor will she/he be liable for failure to prevent future illness.


  • Chris Scott

    Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

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