Tryptophan is an amino acid found in most high protein meat products we eat. This one amino acid is the essential starting point for the serotonin pathway. Do you ever feel low energy, overly irritable or negative about your life or tend to sleep an insane amount of the day or not enough? Well, if you’ve answered yes, maybe it’s time to evaluate what you are doing to inhibit the production of serotonin and how to produce more.
Having a neurochemical deficiency in serotonin plays a HUGE role in depression and anxiety. In fact, those that eat more foods that contain Tryptophan like turkey, beef and cheese, tend to feel content, relaxed and experience more positive emotions while those that do not, tend to suffer from negative introspective self-talk (beating up on yourself), extremely low energy, and uncomfortability with being in public or social situations. In fact, some studies show that low serotonin levels are not only attributed to causing depression and anxiety, but also, eating disorders like bulimia and other body dysmorphic disorders. Needless to say, having a healthy serotonin pathway is a major key to having a happy mood and fulfilled life, but what is blocking or depleting serotonin levels in our bodies?
Stimulants in some of our diets like caffeine, cocaine, alcohol, or the artificial sweetener aspartame can inhibit the breaking down of tryptophan into 5-HTP (5 Hydroxy Tryptophan) which converts into serotonin. Serotonin production can even be disrupted when we aren’t getting enough exercise or sunlight.
Tryptophan has been disappearing from our food supply for the last 100 years. And that is a scary fact, because there are very little foods that contain 5-HTP or serotonin by themselves. No wonder depression rates have been skyrocketing since the 1990’s! Tryptophan is one of the few amino acids allowed through the blood-brain barrier in order to eventually produce serotonin. For this process, it would take about 3- 5 hours to completely break down from tryptophan and convert into serotonin. However, there is another way to get results in about 15-30 minutes by taking 5-HTP directly as a dietary supplement. What has worked for me personally, is taking tryptophan as a dietary supplement in the morning and before going to sleep so that I have a fresh supply of serotonin when I wake up and in the afternoon when it usually starts depleting.
Most doctors will happily supply you with prozac and other mood enhancing drugs without teaching the importance of the serotonin pathway. Side effects of prozac include:
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
- drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous;
- mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;
- increased appetite, weight changes;
- sleep problems (insomnia);
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; or.
- dry mouth.
Where I find some medications to be useful, I would rather be educated than medicated. Serotonin production through tryptophan creates very few to no side effects in the body and has been proven to enhance moods since the Stone Age. However, if you take 5-HTP and don’t experience mood enhancement, you should look into just taking tryptophan or other supplements that produce serotonin, because your body might not be genetically preconditioned to breaking this specific dietary supplement down. In any case, I hope this column has provided you with information that will enhance your wellbeing and create for you a better mood and life.
If you would like to help support this blog and movement, please be sure to use the amazon.com link below. This link leads to an affiliate account that makes a small percentage off of anything that you buy through amazon.com, which will support mindhealmind and help us to keep educating and informing our audience on life changing and mind healing subjects.
Sign up HERE for our newsletter and claim a POWERFUL FREE GIFT on us!
Written By Nick Stonestreet