Tryptophan For
Coping With Depression Naturally

by

Tryptophan For Coping With Depression Naturally

Tryptophan is an important amino acid when it comes to coping with depression naturally.


Tryptophan and depression

Lowered in the presence of stress hormone cortisol [1], tryptophan is perceived as the only substance that can be used by the brain for producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is crucial for emotional calmness, sleep regulation and for countering depression. [2]

Indeed, studies have correlated the depletion of tryptophan, and the decreased levels of tryptophan relative to other amino acids (which compete with tryptophan for passage across the blood-brain barrier), with suicide, depression and violence, at the same time as other studies have found lower serotonin levels in those with depression [1, 2].

As cited in Depression-Free, Naturally, a notable study by a Dutch medical researcher had shown that a combination of tryptophan (2g nightly) and vitamin B6 (125mg three times daily) was able to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety-type depressives (depression accompanied by anxiety and sleep disturbances) in four weeks [2].

So if you have symptoms [2] of insomnia, anxiety, irritability and nervous depression, it is possible that your brain serotonin levels are low. In such a case, tryptophan might then be useful to help you increase your serotonin levels and help you cope with depression naturally.

Measuring your tryptophan availability

To have a better sense if amino acids like tryptophan will be useful for your depression, you will first need to check the availability of tryptophan in your body.

You can do so through a plasma or urine test for the ratio of the depression-crucial amino acids (e.g. tryptophan, tyrosine, L-phenylalanine and histidine) relative to each other, as well as to the other larger, neutral amino acids that compete with them for passage across the blood-brain barrier. [3]

Abnormal amino acids patterns revealed through the laboratory tests can suggest the following [2]:

  • availability (or unavailability) of tryptophan and the key amino acids

  • inborn problems with metabolism
  • functional deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals (e.g. those needed for amino acids to be converted to their derivatives)
  • impaired detoxification of ammonia


Getting sufficient tryptophan

If your body is indeed short of tryptophan, then you will need supplementation of this essential amino acid – as an essential amino acid, the human body cannot produce this substance on its own and it can only be obtained through diet.

You can increase the input of this amino acid to your body through the use of foods like eggs, meat and seafood, dairy products, seeds, nuts and grains. [4, 5]

If such food therapy doesn’t help for you, then you will need dietary supplementation of this amino acid for your depression. Find out where you can buy affordable and quality tryptophan supplements to deal with your depression.

On the topic of tryptophan supplementation for coping with depression naturally, if you are living in the US, you might be aware that over-the-counter sales of tryptophan in US were once blocked by the FDA.

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