I’m going to be talking about amino acids, and one in particular, we're going to be talking about tryptophan and the effects that this amino acid can have on your mental health, whether you're having enough or not enough, what it can do to you. Amino acids are essential building blocks for protein. We need to have them to survive. Some of them our body can make. There's 21 total amino acids. There are some that cannot be synthesized by the body, and these include phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. Tryptophan, one of those essential amino acids, has to be eaten in your diet. Your body cannot create it from other substances.
Tryptophan is really important for mood regulation, that's why we need to make sure that we're getting enough. Tryptophan is something that you can supplement. You can buy it in capsules, but it's recommended that you get it from food, which is the best source.
It’s best to make sure you're eating enough foods that are high in tryptophan. These include things like milk, tuna, turkey, chicken, oats, cheese, nuts, seeds, bread, chocolate, and fruit. There's a lot of foods on that list that people eat all the time. It's likely that you're probably getting enough tryptophan, but you might be one of those few people who might not be getting a sufficient amount. As you can see from the listed sources a lot of foods high in tryptophan come from meat and dairy.
Those who are on a vegan diet, who are making sure that they're staying away from any sort of animal products. Can find it might be hard to get enough tryptophan. You need to make sure that you have enough things in your diet that have tryptophan, like fruits, nuts, and oats. Make sure you're eating enough of these things to make up for what you may not be getting by not eating meat.
I want to talk about some evidence about taking tryptophan for your mental health and what it does for you. This first article is from Sciencedirect.com, it states "This case report demonstrated the use of targeted micronutrient and amino acid therapy, along with a low glycemic diet, resulted in marked improvement in all mood disorder symptoms this patient experienced. It also highlights that a comprehensive integrative approach may be a beneficial option for individuals with mood disorders."
In this case, taking and having those amino acids in the diet really helped this person. I like the way that this article presents it, because it says that mental health and mood disorders may need a comprehensive approach. It doesn't just involve, say, taking one medication or adding this one thing to your diet. It's a combination of a lot of things. That's how it turned out for me in my mental health journey. I had to take what benefit I could from this one thing and another thing and add it all together so that I actually started to feel quite good.That's something that you may need to do, an approach that you may need to take.
Another study states, "The targeted use of amino acid supplements will balance brain chemistry to alleviate anxiety, fear, worry, panic attacks, and feeling stressed or overwhelmed. They can also be helpful in addressing other problems that contribute to or exacerbate anxiety, such as sugar cravings and addictions. In addition, they can help depression and insomnia, which often cooccur with anxiety." So some strong evidence here and again. This is the RadiantLifecatalog.com article there, and you can check that out.
The biggest study that I found was actually done, and this is a scholarly article, a lot of times when it comes to nutraceuticals, there's not a lot in the scientific community as far as evidence.
Sometimes you have the people that are actually trying to sell the products that claim they have done small studies that prove the efficacy. Those aren't always the best quality. They don't have the best methodology and they're not always peer reviewed. I actually have access to a large database that shows me peer reviewed scholarly articles. That's where I try to get the most up to date information. Make sure you take information with a grain of salt if it is not a valid, peer reviewed source.
Tryptophan is something that you can find in turkey. That's why after Thanksgiving dinner, people just feel like they're laid up. They're just tired, exhausted. Tryptophan has a calming effect with it. And it's not just that you have a huge belly full of food, but that you've also eaten a lot of tryptophan. It's something that has been shown to be calming. Maybe it's something that you want to try.
Our bodies need certain nutrients to create the "feel good" chemicals in our brain such as serotonin and dopamine. Tryptophan is one required to make serotonin. It is an essential Amino Acid that we need to ingest in our diet. I go into detail in this video about how it can help with mental health and what evidence there is for it. Below are quotes and articles used in the video.