Tag Archives: L-Tryptophan (SA501) by Thorne Research

Why We Need L-Tryptophan

L-tryptophanJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

L-Tryptophan is one of the 22 standard amino acids that are required for human biological processes. As one of the eight essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized within the body, it must be obtained through plant or animal dietary sources. Chemically bound L-tryptophan occurs naturally in high protein foods that many of us consume regularly, such as poultry, soybeans or dried peas. While L-tryptophan has had a somewhat checkered past, newer research shows it may have an exceptionally promising future. Prior to be being blocked by the FDA in 1989 due to some questionable additives found in imported Japanese formulas, L-tryptophan was commonly used as a sleep aid and as a natural and holistic treatment for mild to moderate depression. Restored to good graces in 2001, safe, reliable, well proven L-tryptophan practically calls out for supplementation to aid in the normalization of serotonin production. While L-tryptophan is found in the smallest concentration of all the amino acids in the body, it is the sole precursor to serotonin synthesis.

Serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, has wide ranging roles in many essential metabolic and psychological functions. It is widely believed that L-tryptophan aids the body in effectively regulating serotonin and acts as a building block to produce serotonin as needed. Serotonin, often referred to as the happiness hormone, directly and indirectly influences the majority of brain cells, affecting emotional moods and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, anxiety, stress, and sexual desire and function. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most widely held belief by neurobiologists is that an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is a central element leading to mild or moderate depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, which affect serotonin levels, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications.

Regular exercise and foods that contain high levels of tryptophan are linked to improved mood and cognition. As dietary L-tryptophan is not found in free form and is chemically bound to protein, only a small amount may actually be absorbed by the body. Because the biochemical conversion of L- tryptophan to serotonin happens in the brain, L-tryptophan must compete with other amino acids to cross the blood brain barrier. Evidence suggests that eating carbohydrates along with protein or when taking L-tryptophan in supplement form may allow for more L-tryptophan to enter the brain. Carbohydrates necessitate insulin release, which drives some amino acids into body cells, reducing their blood levels. This increases the proportion of L-tryptophan to other amino acids in the blood and improves the chances of crossing into the brain.

L-tryptophan depletion has been demonstrated to affect a variety of cognitive processes, such as well documented learning and memory impairments, aggressive behavior, and negative mood changes. Unhealthy eating habits, overly stressful lives and the miniscule amount of L-tryptophan contained in foods may make it difficult to meet individual needs through diet alone. L-tryptophan in pure supplemental form allows a higher concentration of L-tryptophan to compete with other amino acids for the transport mechanism that carries them across the blood brain barrier. Supplementing with L-tryptophan may improve sleep quality, regulate behavior, balance moods and help manage depression, reduce anxiety and stress, decrease appetite and have positive effects on energy production. As a precursor to serotonin, L-tryptophan contributes substantially to balancing our state of mind and has noteworthy and positive effects on our sense of wellbeing.

Recommended products for L-tryptophan supplementation include:

L-Tryptophan (SA501)
 
 
L-Tryptophan (SA501) by Thorne Research – One serving provides 1 g of L-tryptophan in support of serotonin production to benefit good mood, relaxation and sleep. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
 L-Tryptophan
 L-Tryptophan by Pure Encapsulations – This product provides L-tryptophan along with cofactors to promote serotonin synthesis and support emotional health and restful sleep. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
L-Tryptophan (200448)
 
L-Tryptophan (200448) by Douglas Laboratories – This product provides L-tryptophan along with necessary cofactors to ensure the proper synthesis of serotonin in support of neurological function and healthy emotional wellbeing. Gluten, soy and dairy free vegetarian formula.
 
 
L-Tryptophan - Capsules 500mg
 
 
 L-Tryptophan – Capsules 500 mg by Source Naturals – Taken between meals and preferably with fruit juice, this product supports relaxation, restful sleep and positive mood.  
 
 
References:
 
L-tryptophan.  http://aminoacidstudies.org/l-tryptophan/
 
Use of neurotransmitter precursors for treatment of depression.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10696120
 
L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/
 
Better Brain Chemistry with Tryptophan. . http://www.lef.org/Magazine/2013/5/Better-Brain-Chemistry-with-Tryptophan/Page-01
 

Healthy Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep_WeighLossJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

If you are dieting and exercising in order to lose or maintain your weight, there’s one more thing you need to prioritize on a regular basis – getting a good night’s sleep! Scientific evidence supports sufficient sleep as a critical component of weight control in that people who maintain a regular sleep schedule have a lower percentage of body fat than those who are sleep deprived. Insufficient sleep promotes hunger and increased appetite and harms the body in other deleterious ways. Sleep deprivation affects appetite hormone regulation and the ability of our fat cells to respond to insulin. When insufficient sleep alters the circulating levels of hormones that regulate hunger, increased appetite and the propensity to overindulge in calorie-dense, high carbohydrate foods results.    

Most of us realize that after a poor night’s sleep we don’t function at our best. We may feel tired and irritable, lack energy and motivation, and have a diminished ability to create and concentrate. However, we may not realize that our food choices and cravings can all be linked to the amount of sleep we get each night. Sleep is a major regulator of the hormones ghrelin, which triggers appetite, and leptin, which signals the brain that you have had satisfied your hunger. More and more, science points to a relationship between how many hours we sleep and the amount of food we eat, the time of day we eat and what we choose to eat.

Weight management requires a balance between two energies – the energy we get from our food intake and the energy we expend from our daily activity. Short sleepers tend to eat enough food at night to exceed the energy they expend by staying awake. Although it’s unclear why lack of sleep affects our food choices, the more sleep deprived we are, the worse our choices become. Simple carbs become far more interesting than healthier fruits and vegetables. One possible reason may be that the brain, which is fueled by glucose, becomes stressed by lack of sleep. Or we may just be so tired that we lack the motivation to choose more nutritious foods.

Trading sleep for excess calories is not a healthy trade. Our lifestyles don’t really stress the importance of sleep. Many of us may find ourselves watching late night TV, catching up on emails, playing video games or surfing the internet, all of which interfere with the production of melatonin that signals our brains when it’s time to sleep. Some of us may find ourselves sabotaging our sleep and wearing a path from the TV or computer to the refrigerator. Besides avoiding an intake of an excessive amount of calories, there are other very good reasons to get your share of healthy sleep.

While we are sleeping, our bodies are building, repairing and rejuvenating body tissues, our brains are forming critical memory pathways, and our organs and systems are actively working, all critical processes for optimal health. While sufficient sleep may vary from person to person, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Up to 40% of Americans regularly “get by” on less, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Significant sleep debt can trigger metabolic and endocrine changes that are characteristic of unhealthy aging. Inadequate sleep can foster insulin resistance, a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, and chronic lack of sleep can lead to hypertension, anxiety, depression, heart attack, or stroke.

In short, sleep deprivation increases hunger, gives us more hours in the day to eat, prompts us to make unhealthy choices, and makes us less likely to exercise, all of which increase the risk of weight gain, obesity and chronic disease. Of course, sleeping can’t take the place of a healthy diet and exercise but it is just as essential to your wellbeing. Changing your habits can help you in your quest for optimal sleep and, over time, the quality and quantity of your sleep may help you shed pounds. Set a consistent bedtime, avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon, spend some time relaxing and unwinding after a stressful day, and turn off all electronics well before bed time. Making a good night’s sleep a priority can boost your mood, attentiveness, mental alertness, patience and productivity and aid you in your quest for optimal weight and wellness.

Products that aid restful sleep for those occasional sleepless nights include:

Kavinace Ultra PM
 
Kavinace Ultra PM by NeuroScience – One of our most popular supplements, Kavinace Ultra PM contains a proprietary blend designed to support the calming neurotransmitters and hormones that promote a normal sleep cycle and restorative sleep. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formula.
 
 
Melatonin PR 3 mg Prolonged-Release (83199)
 
Melatonin PR 3 mg Prolonged-Release (83199) by Douglas Laboratories – This pure, pharmaceutical grade melatonin is designed to aid in the regulation of sleep/wake cycles, support normal immune function and provide free radical protection. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formula.
 
Melatonin Liquid
 
Melatonin Liquid by Pure Encapsulations – This naturally flavored, convenient formula nutritionally augments pineal gland function, supporting the body’s natural sleep cycle without morning drowsiness. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
L-Tryptophan (SA501)
 
 L-Tryptophan (SA501) by Thorne Research – As a serotonin and melatonin precursor, this amino acid supplement promotes relaxation, healthy sleep and good mood. Gluten, soy, and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
References:
Sleep.  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and-obesity/
Sleep Loss Boosts Appetite.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041206210355.htm
How sleep loss leads to significant weight gain.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/20/sleep-loss-weight-gain/7507503/