February 1, 2012

tryptophan for serotonin

a deficiency in tryptophan can be off-setting. Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids the body requires in order to make proteins. It has two major functions: one being it becomes niacin (vitB6) in the liver. This is very helpful when dietary intake of niacin is low.  More crucial, tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, the little neurotransmitter we are always hearing about associated with insomnia and depression. That is, if you are lacking serotonin you may experience poor moods and unrestful sleep, migraines and anxiety. I find serotonin very intriguing, the fact 80% is actually in our gut regulating movement of the intestine. I can totally see a link between depression and "IBS;" i may even write my thesis on the interconnections of serotonin in the body.
apart from that little digression, there is a list of symptoms associated with inadequate tryptophan. But what i am really trying to get at here is that low level of tryptophan may lead to low levels of serotonin which may lead to some form of depression. Depression can be difficult to treat immediately with herbal medicine, so in certain cases using a low amount of an allopathic anti-depression may be needed as a crutch. The important goal once the depression is manageable and thoughts are clear, is to address ion the root cause. In some cases this may be tryptophan defiance, but it may be Vit B6 deficiency which it also needed in the conversion to serotonin. It may be something widely difference like lack of movement or joy. Depression can be complicated to treat, which is why i always suggest finding someone who is experienced in the treatment to help. It sometimes bugs me that in the western world we have one word for depression, one type of depression that is treated the same, trail and error, until something works. Its like the word love, there are many different ways of feeling depression and of falling into it. All and all it wouldn't hurt for everyone to get a bit more tryptophan in their diet:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000079000000000000000.html

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