Case Study: Depression and Pain

Depression and pain are some of the most common health disorders presented to both Allopathic and Holistic Health Practitioners in Australia. Furthermore Depression and pain are often intricately linked. In this case study, Anna, a 46-year-old woman had been experiencing lumbosacral pain and low moods for the past five years.

Anna had slipped on the floor and taken a minor fracture to her hip five years ago. Although the initial fracture had healed, a persistent ache continued in the lumbosacral region of her back. The patient identified that the lack of improvement in her pain had led to consistently low moods.
The patient utilised a Paracetamol and Codeine combination for her pain intermittently. Especially for days when a significant amount of movement was required.

The patient was consuming a varied and relatively healthy diet.


After the initial consult, the patient was prescribed 4 grams of DL-Phenylalanine per day for 2 weeks. The patient was also asked to increase fruit intake and drink a protein shake daily.
After 2 weeks the patient reported a slight reduction in pain, as well as an increase in her moods. She thought that her improved mood was due to feeling more able to move around without pain.
Further treatment for this patient will explore detox pathways (due to her ongoing medication use), as well as an increasing combination of anti-inflammatory/analgesic and nervous system supportive nutrients and herbs.

Mechanism of Action


An essential amino acid, phenylalanine is converted to Phenylethylamine (PEA) which is believed to have amphetamine-like properties. Furthermore lower levels of PEA are often observed in depressed subjects. In terms of pain relief, it is thought that consumption of DL-Phenylalanine results in the up-regulation of the endogenous analgesia system – a pathway that when stimulated by chronic pain, may suppress certain pain receptive neurons, therefore resulting in pain reduction.

S QLD / N NSW Area Manager

Jessica Morland

Jess is a qualified Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine. She believes that there is no one size fits all approach and is passionate about educating, inspiring and supporting clients and practitioners with a customised approach to healthcare. Specialties include preconception, pregnancy, post-natal and infant care. 

Jess is excited to build relationships, educate and share her knowledge with both retail and practitioners in South Queensland and Northern NSW.

Lauren Matich, BHSc (Nat.)

Lauren Matich

BHSc (Nat.)

Lauren is an NHAA accredited Clinical Naturopath with a Bachelor of Health Science. She is incredibly passionate about natural health and educating clients on the foundational importance of nutrition, lifestyle and stress management and believes complimenting these building blocks with nutraceutical support and functional testing often holds the key to optimal health and vitality. Lauren looks forward to supporting practitioners and clients in these key areas.

Specialties include supporting thyroid health, digestive disorders and mental health.