Is L - Tryptophan Better Than Antidepressants?
The mighty amino acid tryptophan!
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is the precursor to Serotonin, which is a necessary neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting nerve impulses in the brain and inducing sleep and tranquility. Serotonin deficiencies, which are related, are well documented in cases of depression and insomnia. L-Tryptophan also converts to Niacin, and Vitamin B-6 (5P) is necessary for the metabolism and conversion to Serotonin. The dietary sources for L-Tryptophan are cottage cheese, milk, brown ride, peanuts, meat, turkey and soy products. It is also available in supplemental form. This amino acid is very important for biochemical balance of the brain, and is very helpful for those with sleep deprivation, anxiety, mood enhancement, due to low serotonin levels.
Tryptophan has been shown to be helpful for sleep, calming frayed nerves, weight loss, mood enhancement, pain tolerance, appetite control, chemical addiction, jet lag, and more.
It is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein, but unlike some amino acids, it is considered essential because the body cannot manufacture its own. It plays many roles in animals and humans alike, but perhaps most importantly, it is an essential precursor to a number of neurotransmitters in the brain. As such, tryptophan is the only substance that can be converted into serotonin. Did you catch that last sentence? Most of you mistakenly believe antidepressants create more serotonin, therefore elevating mood. This is a a popular misunderstanding. The fact is all SSRI antidepressants only trap serotonin between the neurons, creating a pooling effect which elevates mood. L-Tryptophan converts directly to serotonin. In turn, it is converted in the brain into melatonin, and clearly plays a role in balancing mood and sleep patterns.
Serotonin can be elevated in the way nature intended, namely, by elevating serotonin's building blocks in the diet. Tryptophan is the best known and most widely used nutritional supplement for this purpose. The conversion of L-Tryptophan to serotonin is a two-step process. First, L-Tryptophan is converted into 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan, or 5-HTP, and 5-HTP is then, in turn, converted into serotonin. This is the process by which serotonin is produced from food. Unfortunately, it's the least abundant amino acid in foods. The good news, though, is that research conducted at MIT years ago established that serotonin levels can be increased by supplemental, dietary tryptophan.
In studies done with humans on two continents by Lehman, Braverman, and Pfeiffer, depressed patients were found to have significantly lower plasma levels of tryptophan than normal people.
The question remains, how does this amino acid compare with SSRI's in treating clinical conditions? A study done by a team of Swiss and German psychiatric researchers comparing the L-tryptophan with the SSRI, Fluvoxamine (Luvox), found that depression was alleviated more predictably with tryptophan, and while side effects are commonly reported for Fluvoxamine, the Physician's Desk Reference does not list any for tryptophan. The researchers went on to conclude that it actually treats a broader range of symptoms known as "serotonin deficiency syndrome," which may manifest as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, aggression, nervousness, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and migraines ... many of the same symptoms that are being treated today in humans with SSRI's.
Whether or not deficiency symptoms exist, it is clearly an essential amino acid that supports the nutritional and dietary requirements your health. Furthermore, in the treatment of deficiency disorders, natural tryptophan has clear advantages over the SSRI's, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and others, for which severe side effects continue to be documented.
There is difficulty in finding pure pharmaceutical grade L-Tryptophan. There is far less money to be made by manufacturing and selling tryptophan as compared to popular antidepressants such as Prozac. If you are interested in trying this amino acid, a natural and powerful remedy for depression, I strongly recommendchecking out your local health food store. If they don't have it, ask ifthey'll order it for you. Or you can safely buy Tryptophanby clicking Here
Tips for making tryptophan work for you:
- Take it with a B-Complex vitamin
- Take it with Ester-C (vitamin C)
- Take all the above with fruit juice
- Make sure you take it on an empty stomach.
This combination greatly improves the ability for this amino acid to cross the blood-brain barrier and convert into serotonin.
Best wishes for your recovery from depression!
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