Below is the answer to Caleb’s question on the dosages and brand I recommend for L-Tryptophan. Somehow I wound up typing enough for a post on the Amino. I re-read it and decided it was also of good enough quality for a post.
To preface this, I’d like to raise the point to you no human is deficient in any drug or man made substance. Every phycological disorder can be traced to a deficiency, or more probable, deficiencies that can be replaced through naturally occurring substances. It is sad, but too true, medical doctors in the US do little or no testing before they prescribe drugs. These days, most MDs use medications to diagnose a disease. In other words, they Rx a drug, if you respond positively, you had the disease or condition the drug was indicated to “cure”. I thought it was diagnose, then Rx the meds.
How crazy would it be if you went to your MD with a chest cold… or bronchitis you’ve already self diagnosed, and he or she ran tests to find out if it were viral or bacterial? Crazy… it shouldn’t be. If your doc did, Azithromycin (“Z-pak”), like most other antibiotics wouldn’t be so overly prescribed and antibiotic resistant strains of bacterium would not be such a health threat.
Or maybe, just maybe… if your doc did blood and lab work, he/she would discover every, yes… EVERY patient of theirs is deficient in Vitamin D3 and DHA. And then, what if… what if they did a little research and found out these are two things, on a fairly long list, every sick (every disease!) person in the US has in common. At least it would give your MD something to think about.
Why does your MD not do more tests? Simple… expense and time. Insurance won’t cover them and/or people can’t afford them and getting the results can take a few days. No one wants to return to the doctor’s office two days later just to get the drugs the doc was going to just give them anyway.
Consider these things the next time you take a drug… you’re not deficient in Aleve or Advil, Paxil or Wellbutrin, Ambien or Valium. They’re not cures, only bandaids on a traumatic amputation…
Tryptophan is the least abundant of the 22 amino acids in any diet. Even in a perfect Paleo diet with higher amounts of protein, tryptophan intake will be less than 3 grams a day. Increasing protein will increase the amount of tryptophan, but it also increases other aminos that compete for the same spots in the body. So simply increasing dietary sources of tryptophan doesn’t work.
Increasing tryptophan in the brain is our goal, but to pass across the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), tryptophan completes with 8 other aminos to get a “ride” into the brain. Tryptophan is like a dorky kid that gets bullied and not let on the monkey bars on the playground.
Here’s the crappy part… the only way to increase tryptophan levels in the brain is with a high carb diet. Cutting out other amino sources (proteins) and eating foods still relatively high in tryptophan gives the amino the playground all to itself. Tryptophan is one of the reasons sweets make us feel happy and good when we eat them. Albeit for a short while, they increase serotonin and serotonin makes us happy.
Furthermore, insulin enhances serotonin. Nature is a “bi*ch”, huh? By her design, the only foods that increase an amino we really all need more of are food that make us fat!
Another problem with tryptophan supplementation is many of us are also Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficient. If so, the liver will use tryptophan to make B3 before it allows the tryptophan to even get close to the brain. But if your B3 is good, it will aid in Tryptophan uptake into the brain… synergy, it is called.
Do you drink coffee? If it’s 16oz or more a day, then you’re more than likely deficient in Vitamin B6 and inositol. If you are, tryptophan is used to make them. Worse, when tryptophan is used to make B6, the metabolites and waste from doing so are actually toxic and therefore, require your immune system to get involved. That equals more inflammation.
So again I find myself saying… before supplementation of any nutrient, amino, or compound, you have to get your diet in order.
One more time, YOU MUST GET YOUR DIET IN ORDER.
Ok… increasing protein doesn’t work and increasing carbs won’t work for you. Actually, many of you are probably hoping I’ll tell you to eat pizza and cake to get your tryptophan levels up. Get serious.
Supplementation of tyrptophan does work. It works best if you take it on an empty stomach as it will not have to compete with other aminos.
If better sleep is your goal, 0.5 grams up to 4 grams, taken at once at bedtime is indicated. Typically the better your diet, the less you need. If you add a small amount of melatonin, 0.5 to 1 gram, you may get even better sleep.
It is best to start with a small dose and work up. Remember, at first you are refilling a deficiency. At some point, you will have an operating level and need less, and one day possibly none, to sleep well. Also, taking too much will cause the body to make an enzyme (t-pyrrolase) to destroy the excess tryptophan, but it doesn’t stop there… it destroys almost all of it making high dosage supplementation futile.
If you’re slightly depressed, anxious, or stressed, then more IS NOT better. Smaller dosages of 0.5 grams to 1 gram taken throughout the day has proved to be effective. Taken this way, tryptophan can decrease stress elevated cortisol. If you are anxious and unable to settle (ADHA?), your noradrenaline and dopamine receptors are functioning well, but your serotonin receptors are not. tryptophan can provide balance and help reset the serotonin activator sites. If you are depressed, tryptophan, by improving serotonin levels and repairing receptor sites, can get back the healthy, positive mindset you’ve been missing.
Tryptophan can be purchased OTC in the US again. It was banned for a while. Hmmm… the FDA banned a substance known to work better than the Rx drugs indicated. They wouldn’t do that, right?
Oddly, if you want pharmaceutical grade, you have to go to your veterinarian.
I use Poliquin’s Uber Mag Plus and sometimes Vitamin Shoppe’s brand. I like Poliquin’s b/c it comes with magnesium. Magnesium that is also calming to the CNS and helps me sleep (bonus!).
So a longer answer than Caleb probably expected or even wanted. But when addressing serotonin and dopamine, it is difficult to just touch on the subject.
DO NOT take Tryptophan if you are taking an SSRI (like Paxil). You can cause Serotonin Syndrome. That can be fatal!
I’m not an MD and this info not to replace your doctors orders. Discuss all changes in your meds with him/her.
Besides, all we need is you coming off all your meds and going crazy on some unsuspecting fool and then blaming my post. Ha.
“Open WOD 12.3″
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 18 minutes of:
15 Box jumps (24″/ 20″)
12 Push press (115 / 75 )
Movement Standards: The workout will begin with box jumps. The athlete will jump with two feet and come to a standing position with knees and hips locked out on top of the box. After 15 reps they will move to their loaded barbell. The barbell will begin on the ground. For the Push press to count the barbell will move from the shoulders to the overhead position, with the knees, hips and shoulders extended in one line. After 12 reps they will move to a pull-up bar. For the Toes-to-bar to count, the feet must begin behind the bar at the bottom and both feet must touch the bar at the same time at the top. After 9 reps are completed, the athlete will begin their next round.
We will run Open WOD 12.3 today during class times only at 9am and 10:30am. Please arrive a few minutes early to warm up and be briefed on the workout and movement standards.
If you completed the Open WOD yesterday then…
3k Row for time