04 May 2008


It is being reported that research into tryptophan is showing that the conversion of this amino acid into serotonin makes people feel happier about their lives. So, the belief is that perhaps this amino acid can play a role in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. My advice would still be to seek professional help no matter what the scientologists say! However, having a little knowledge of how diet can help you will never go astray.

The report suggests that foods high in tryptophan will be most beneficial to lifting your mood from that of melancholy to something a lot more cheerful. The foods identified so far include mung beans, lobster, turkey, asparagus, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, pineapple, tofu, spinach, and bananas. The food I eat least on this list is lobster because it it too expensive for my taste buds (except on rare and special occasions).

My question is this:

If I was to supplement with tryptophan because I felt I was not getting enough of the amino acid through my diet, can I over-compensate and get too much tryptophan and end up being too happy?

Or is it like other supplements where you just pee away the excess? There is nothing like pissing your hard-earned salary down the toilet!

Nevertheless, I guess if it makes you feel better what harm is there in that. Some people can always do with feeling a little better, particularly if it is the difference between a good and a bad day!


treespotter said...

stay with alcopops. always work.

pjbali said...


Usually if I'm too happy it means I've forgotton something.

I'm curious to know how one measures the effects of various proteins on happiness. Is there something like a richter scale or a happiness quotient?

Rob Baiton said...


Alcopops works for a while and then it is the simple philosophy of the best way to avoid a hangover is to stay on a perennial buzz... :)


I suppose there is a happiness quotient because there is a quotient for everything else! So, why not one for happiness as well? I think the happiness thing related to the release of serotonin and if I am not mistaken there is real science to back up the claims that serotonin has a positive impact on mood...

I guess for me the interest was that I eat most of these foods and they make me feel good and now I know why :)

M said...

Rob, long time no visit. interesting.

It's not that easy with nutrition absorption. in the end, the concept of short cut is always not the best.

when amino acid arrives in body with high concentration, then the liver is obliged to destroy them-to answer your question.

but, the absorption of amino acid, is interesting-like the absorption of many other nutrients-it goes more efficient when the amount in our body is not so sufficient. i other words, when the protein intake is low, the loss of amino acid (from what liver destroy) will decrease.

so i don't suggest you to consume supplement unless doctors said so. balance diet that connect you more with the earth rather than with the supermarket is the best. popular nutritional science often makes people lost.

for me, this is the exciting part about studying nutrition; metabolism in our body is surprisingly works with philosophy :) .

write more on this topic Rob, then i'll visit you more :D .

Rob Baiton said...


I don't know that I can! I only wrote on this because I found it interesting that I could elevate my mood by eating certain stuff other than chocolate :)

I am always skeptical about over the counter supplements for two reasons: do they really contain what they say they do and if they do, do I really need to supplement or as I said am I just pissing my salary down the toilet?

Thanks for dropping by! I will try and write more interesting stuff, but I am just not that interesting a bloke :)

M said...

good if its excreted when its excessed..because perhaps it's not and it's scarier! just read a dairy reference intake guideline published by nap..(this is real nutritional science, not popular reference).

it says that in rats and pigs experiments, both have loss weight on experiment of supplemental tryptophan to their diets. rats has also loosen hair and pigs experience decrease of brain weight.

in human experiment, tryptophan decreased subjective hunger, alertness and food intake in men, but not women.

be careful, buddy!