Now, as you probably know, Serotonin and Melatonin are two hormones that mean serious emotional business. But what if we told you they also have a sidekick, a little something called Tryptophan? Today we’re talking about Tryptophan’s connection to Serotonin and Melatonin, as well as which foods are good for boosting this pair of hormones.
What is Tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body needs to create and retain protein, muscle, and enzymes. But that’s not all. Because it also helps to balance your nitrogen levels and produces a little molecule called 5-hydroxytryptophan, which, for obvious reasons, we’ll henceforth refer to as 5-HTP.
Tryptophan’s connection to Serotonin and Melatonin
Firstly, let’s get the basics done and dusted. Serotonin is in charge of sending messages from your brain to your body. And it’s largely responsible for your mood, including anxiety and depression. Melatonin, though, has a slightly different, but equally important job. It supervises the regulation of your sleep-wake cycle, which impacts your body’s ability to metabolize nutrients, manage your immune system, and control your appetite.
But how are Serotonin and Melatonin connected to Tryptophan? Well, once Tryptophan has been produced, your body uses it to make that 5-HTP molecule. That 5-HTP is then used to make Serotonin. And once you’ve got Serotonin, it can then be converted into Melatonin. With us so far?
Basically, increasing your levels of Tryptophan encourages the production of 5-HTP, in turn increasing your Serotonin and Melatonin levels. Think of the process as a Tryptophan train that fuels high spirits and sleep optimization. And who doesn’t want to ride that train?
Foods good for your hormones
How can I jump on the Tryptophan train we hear you ask? Well, because it is an essential amino acid your body can’t produce it alone, so your diet is a great place to start. Luckily, there are plenty of good foods that are pretty nifty at boosting these hormones.
One study published in The National Library of Medicine found that eating Tryptophan-enriched cereal in the morning and evening enabled people to fall asleep more quickly and for longer. It also alleviated symptoms of anxiety and depression. But don’t worry, we’re not telling you to eat cereal for dinner. Unless you want to.
Many high-protein foods contain Tryptophan. Some great options are:
- Chicken and turkey
- Seeds and nuts
- Soy Products
But what if you’re worried that you can’t consume enough tryptophan because of dietary restrictions? Well, there’s always the option of supplementing 5-HTP. As always, however, please consult a medical professional before embarking on a supplement journey.
What other foods are good for hormones?
Sadly, though, Tryptophan alone isn’t going to cut it. To encourage your Tryptophan train to get moving, you need to be on top of your intake of foods rich in Vitamins B2, and B6. It’s also a good idea to keep your Iron levels in check. Because, if you make your body a Tryptophan-friendly zone, you’ll maximize the benefits of Serotonin and Melatonin.
So, get out there and bask in the glory of Tryptophan. You can thank us later!