L-Tryptophan: The Crucial Building Block for the Happiness Hormone Serotonin
The amino acid L-Tryptophan may not be familiar to many people, but it plays a crucial role as one of the key building blocks for the "happiness hormone" serotonin. This neurotransmitter is among the essential hormones in our body, supporting stress reduction, mood enhancement, regulated muscle contractions, restful sleep, and preventing frustration-induced overeating.
A serotonin deficiency can lead to a bad mood, imbalance, anxiety, or, in the worst case, depression. However, the production of serotonin is not always straightforward, as the body requires the necessary building blocks. Alongside sufficient magnesium and B-vitamins, L-Tryptophan is particularly crucial in this process.
What is L-Tryptophan, and in which foods is it found?
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce on its own, making it necessary to obtain an adequate amount through diet. The challenge lies in the fact that no other essential amino acid is as minimally present in our food as L-Tryptophan.
Foods containing small amounts of L-Tryptophan include whole-grain bread, brown rice, lentils, whole-grain pasta, dark chocolate, and dried figs. Unfortunately, these may not be the foods we reach for during moments of stress or sadness. In such times, our brains crave a quick boost, and we tend to turn to "fast happiness" like fast food and sweets.
Cravings Due to L-Tryptophan Deficiency
L-Tryptophan is found in small amounts in cheese, carbohydrates, and cocoa. It's not surprising, then, that pizza with extra parmesan and a chocolaty dessert is a popular choice for frustration-induced eating. This calorie-rich combination quickly supplies the brain with L-Tryptophan but not in sufficient quantity or sustainably. Comfort eating often fails to provide enough other building blocks for the "happiness hormone" serotonin, such as the plant-based protein phenylalanine, B-vitamins, and magnesium.
In addition, during increased stress, cortisol levels rise, a stress hormone that activates an enzyme that breaks down L-Tryptophan. This further negatively affects serotonin synthesis, leading to a bad mood and increased cravings.
L-Tryptophan Targeted Against Serotonin Deficiency
While some foods increase serotonin levels, there are also those that inhibit them sustainably. These include meat and coffee, which many people find challenging to give up.
Over 80 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut, with only about 20 percent in the central nervous system. The most important building block for this neurotransmitter is L-Tryptophan. A deficiency leads to serotonin deficiency, the symptoms of which, including lethargy, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety, are often challenging to attribute to a single cause.
Sleep quality also suffers from a serotonin deficiency since serotonin is a crucial component for the sleep hormone melatonin. Without adequate sleep, the symptoms of serotonin deficiency worsen, and the vicious cycle continues.
Once again, it becomes evident how much our physical and mental well-being depends on our hormone balance and diet.
|Content per capsule:
|daily dose 1 capsule
*NRV% = % Nutrient reference value
|take 1 capsule daily with lots of liquid during a meal