Tryptophan Slows Your Jam.
In recent years, the amino acid tryptophan has been promoted as an antidepressant because it converts to serotonin, the so-called “happiness hormone”.
In reality, too much serotonin is anti-metabolic, interfering with thyroid hormone, reducing body temperature, slowing digestion and brain function, and promoting many features of depression, including learned helplessness.
Serotonin also stimulates the release of other stress hormones, including estrogen, prolactin, and parathyroid hormone, which in excess, all promote inflammation, degeneration, and disease.
The amount of tryptophan in the diet can impact the biological response to stress, and stress increases the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin in the body.
Foods high in tryptophan include tender cuts of muscle meat, egg whites, whey protein, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
Gelatin lacks tryptophan and is high in glycine. Glycine is an amino acid with many anti-inflammatory and protective effects.
Satisfying some of your protein requirements by supplementing with gelatin (or choosing the more gelatinous cuts of meat) is one potentially practical approach to reducing tryptophan levels.
Other foods with available protein and lower levels of tryptophan include milk and cheese, egg yolks, and many fruits.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) promote the release of tryptophan and serotonin and the formation of serotonin in the brain.
Restricting tryptophan intake has been shown to slow aging and promote longevity.
Insufficient sugar consumption increases cortisol and promotes the breakdown of muscle tissue, releasing tryptophan and other inflammatory amino acids into the bloodstream, suppressing thyroid function and promoting the release of PUFAs into circulation.
There are various ways to help protect against tryptophan’s potentially inflammatory and stress-promoting effects.
Restricting tryptophan consumption (as well as the PUFAs) whilst maintaining a sufficient intake of protein from dairy products, gelatin, or gelatinous cuts of meat, is a good starting point.
Keeping glycogen stores up (and attempting to improve blood sugar stability) by combining protein with plenty of sugar from sweet ripe fruit, fruit juice, white sugar, and honey is an excellent way to keep stress hormones down.
It can then help to avoid the excessive breakdown of muscle tissue (or the use of consumed protein as an alternative fuel supply), restraining the release of additional tryptophan and other inflammatory amino acids into circulation.
Limiting difficult-to-digest grains, beans, legumes, and undercooked starchy vegetables (and even some fruits) can improve bacterial issues (and decrease endotoxin and serotonin release) and can eventually help reduce overall inflammation and protect against many of the stress-promoting effects of tryptophan.
Avoiding stressful environments, getting plenty of exposure to natural light (especially morning and afternoon sun when UV is low) and eating a pro-thyroid, pro-metabolic diet can improve the symptoms of degeneration and disease, related one way or another to tryptophan excess. It includes anxiety, depression, and many other disorders of the mind.
Copyright 2021, by Dan M @ CowsEatGrass. All rights reserved (except for quotations and images having their own protected copyrights). This copyright protects author-publisher Dan M’s right to future publication of his work in any manner, in any and all media — utilizing technology now known or hereafter devised — throughout the world in perpetuity. Everything described in this publication is for information purposes only. The author-publisher, Dan M, is not directly or indirectly presenting or recommending any part of this publication’s data as a diagnosis or prescription for any ailment of any reader. If anyone uses this information without the advice of their professional health adviser, they are prescribing for themselves, and the author- publisher assumes no responsibility or liability. Persons using any of this data do so at their own risk and must take personal responsibility for what they don’t know as well as for what they do know.
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Béquet F, Gomez-Merino D, Berthelot M, Guezennec CY. Evidence that brain glucose availability influences exercise-enhanced extracellular 5-HT level in hippocampus: a microdialysis study in exercising rats. Acta Physiol Scand. 2002 Sep;176(1):65-9.
Zhong Z, Wheeler MD, Li X, Froh M, Schemmer P, Yin M, Bunzendaul H, Bradford B, Lemasters JJ. L-Glycine: a novel antiinflammatory, immunomodulatory, and cytoprotective agent. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2003 Mar;6(2):229-40.
Image: Mullen: “Tryptophan Slow Jam”