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Increasing your tryptophan levels has been proven to help with depression and insomnia, but what is tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce. This amino acid plays an important role in the production of both serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is essential for sleep and mood regulation and also transmits nerve impulses from the brain. Without adequate serotonin the severity of depression and insomnia a person suffers will increase. It is therefore vital that you provide your body with foods containing tryptophan or take a daily tryptophan supplement.
Increasing your tryptophan levels is not as easy as just eating more foods high in tryptophan. Tryptophan constantly struggles with other amino acids such as tyrosine, methionine, histidine, and leucine to access the brain and eating a high protein diet increases the blood levels of these amino acids and results in an actual decrease in tryptophan.
Eating a high carbohydrate diet of pasta and pastries can help to increase the level of tryptophan in your body. Foods high in carbohydrate cause the release of additional insulin from the body which in turn wipes out the competing amino acids. This allows the absorption of more tryptophan in the brain. This procedure may work in the short term but sustaining a high carbohydrate, low protein diet is not recommended by health experts as the body needs protein to survive.
In order to avoid these dilemmas there are a few steps that can be taken:
Following these three steps will help to increase the absorption of tryptophan in the brain but as with all supplements, a healthy diet should be maintained to achieve maximum results.
There are a wide range of foods that are excellent sources of tryptophan, with turkey being the most well known source. Other foods high in tryptophan include: chicken, beef, brown rice, nuts, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, fruit, and vegetables.
Using foods that contain more carbohydrates is a better way to increase your tryptophan absorption and aid in the production of serotonin, which helps to relax the body and combat sleep problems.
If you are worried about not getting enough tryptophan then using a natural supplement that contains tryptophan can help to put your mind at ease. It is important to remember that tryptophan cannot be made in the body and it is therefore up to you to provide it.