Articles: Want to be happier and sleep better? Tryptophan!

Link to Article 1:  Effects_of_tryptophan-rich_bre

Link to Article 2: Gourd seeds and carbohydrates increase tryptophan levels article

So article.1 dives into the mood and sleep regulating nature of tryptophan, which is an amino acid found in proteins, dairy, grain, and beans, but is also produced within the body from exposure to bright, outdoor light, and through exercise.  Tryptophan is metabolized through a series of biochemical pathways and eventually becomes 5-hydroxytryptamine, which is the neurotransmitter serotonin (happy regulator), and then is converted into melatonin (sleep regulator).  Both of these are important for an individual to feel happy and have a good night’s rest.  The article presented compared the effects on mood and sleep when groups of subjects were exposed to dim light and a light tryptophan containing breakfast, dim light and a rich tryptophan containing breakfast, bright light and a light tryptophan containing breakfast, and a bright light and rich tryptophan breakfast.  Now the tryptophan breakfast was a protein shake derived from egg protein, but tryptophan, as mentioned, is found in proteins like eggs and beans, as well as grains and dairy products, so many of these foods are included in breakfast. To no major surprise the exposure to bright light coupled with a tryptophan rich breakfast saw an increase to serotonin and melatonin plasma (blood) levels after about 5 days.  So if your looking to feel a bit happier and have a better sleep maybe try eating eggs with whole grain toast in the morning, and getting outside to exposure yourself to the sun’s healthy rays (in moderation) + include moderate daily exercise. Maybe even try your known little experiment to see if it makes a difference, I’m going to give it a go, and I’ll write about in my next post.

 

Article 2 is a short pilot study that gave subjects gourd seeds (pumpkin seeds) + carbohydrate sources, and found that after 2 weeks anxiety levels decreased significantly.  So maybe try adding some pumpkin seeds into one’s daily routine, like adding them into smoothies!

Thanks for reading, and be aware and eat with care 🙂

Ref:

Article. 1: Fukushige, H, Fukuda, Y, Tanaka, M, Inami, K, Wada, K, Tsumura, Y, Kondo, M, Harada, T, Wakamura, T, & Morita, T 2014, ‘Effects of tryptophan-rich breakfast and light exposure during the daytime on melatonin secretion at night’, Journal Of Physiological Anthropology, Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 June 2015.

Article. 2: Hudson, S, MacKenzie, J, & Hudson, C 2007, ‘Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study’, Canadian Journal Of Physiology & Pharmacology, 85, 9, pp. 928-932, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 June 2015.