0

Taking Tryptophan For Mental Health.

Okay, so first thing’s first.

I’M NOT A DOCTOR.

I am not the most intelligent, infallible human in the world or even anywhere close.

I don’t know the legitimacy of Tryptophan.

I’m aware that the sources I have found my information from have advertisements on the page trying to sell nutritional supplements.

I’m aware of all the different articles that have found Tryptophan to be dangerous, or ineffective.

I’m aware that it isn’t supposed to be taken without your doctor’s advise.

I’m aware that you can receive Tryptophan through diet and that most people receive much more Tryptophan daily than I would since I’m on a plant based diet.

I’m aware that it shouldn’t be taken with other forms of medication.

I’m aware of the side affects of Tryptophan and of serotonin syndrome.

Bottom line: I do not really know about Tryptophan on a professional level at all, and you definitely should do your own research before blindly following what some random human online says they think is a good idea for them.

I haven’t even been diagnosed with any mental health problems.

Seriously guys, take what I say with a pinch of salt. 

Okay, so I think I literally can’t express the illegitimacy of my post more than this, so let’s move on to some more more positive statements about my opinions on Tryptophan 😀

 

 


 

 

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed to synthesise serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the “happy molecule”.

Serotonin pathway:

5-htp-pathways

You cannot increase your serotonin directly as serotonin molecules themselves are too large to enter the brain, apparently, so smaller molecules must first enter the brain and THEN be converted into serotonin.

One of those smaller molecules that you can take is Tryptohan!

Now for a lot of people, low levels of Tryptophan intake isn’t a problem – and don’t try to fix what isn’t causing you issues!

BUT.

Depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues HAVE BEEN CORRELATED TO LOW LEVELS OF TRYPTOPHAN.

Studies have shown Tryptophan to be as effective for depression as antidepressant drugs, but is a completely natural molecule found in food.

It has also been found useful for reducing anxiety, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, ADHD, PMS, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, eating disorders and Insomnia, mood, sleep, appetite control and memory.

So, if this molecule is so awesome and the benefits of it over using SSRIs is that it can be received through diet, then why not just eat the right foods rather than taking supplements for it?

Firstly, the best sources of Tryptophan are animal products – which makes it an especially difficult amino acid for people on plant-based diets to come across naturally.

Secondly, as the main source of Tryptophan is from animal products – those foods will also tend to be very high in protein and unfortunately serotonin and Tryptophan levels DROP after eating meals containing protein because protein blocks the synthesis of Tryptophan into serotonin.

Some foods that contain high levels of Tryptophan – such as dairy products, poultry, tuna, oatmeal, spinach and other leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, soybeans, asparagus, cauliflower, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, DO actually result in the synthesis of serotonin when consumed.

However…

Tryptophan is the least common of all amino acids in your body, yet it is one of the most necessary to be a healthily functioning human.

Things such as stress, insulin resistance, magnesium deficiency, artificial sweeteners and becoming older affect your brain’s ability to turn Tryptophan into serotonin.

 

Main point to remember:

Even if you eat a LOT of Tryptophan rich foods, LESS THAN 1% is available for serotonin synthesis in the brain. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know why – read my disclaimer above. This is just all taken from a source that I’ll link at the bottom of this post.

For these reasons, taking a Tryptophan supplement often works much better than trying to obtain Tryptophan from food alone.

Dosage:

There is no official dosage and recommendations on dosage vary WIDELY, but as little as 250mg was found to increase quality of sleep.

Mayo Clinic however recommends 8 to 12 grams PER DAY for depression.

Tryptophan comes in the form of capsules (500mg capsules are what I use) or in powder form (which is recommended if one is taking large dosages of Tryptophan.)

Most supplement manufacturers recommend 1,000 – 1,500 mg per day.

If you’re not sure where to begin, the source I’m getting this information from recommends starting from 500mg per day and then working up to a higher dosage.

Safety:

Although once upon a time Tryptophan supplements were deemed unsafe, Tryptophan is now not considered unsafe at all in and of itself.

HOWEVER…

There are potential SIDE EFFECTS of taking such supplements – perhaps for some reason your brain already has plenty of Tryptophan and taking supplements will mean essentially “overdosing” on the amino acid.

Maybe somebody doesn’t take the supplement correctly, safely or doesn’t increase their dosage gradually, and also end up with essentially a Tryptophan “overdose”.

Maybe there’s just some other reason why taking the supplement doesn’t agree with you.

Possible side effects include digestive upset, loss of appetite, headache and drowsiness.

The safety of taking Tryptophan while nursing has also not been established.

One of the biggest problems with taking the supplement that I’ve read is when people already are taking SSRIs or have recently stopped taking SSRIs and then begin taking Tryptophan.

SSRIs stay in your system for a bit of time, and the effects of these pharmaceuticals won’t just be entirely depleted from one’s system as soon as one stops taking them.

Now SSRI’s also increase your serotonin levels in the brain, so essentially, by taking Tryptophan (or another precursor to serotonin potentially, such as 5-HTP or even highly increasing your levels of B vitamins also involved in the synthesis of serotonin etc), you could very well end up having an overdose of serotonin.

THIS CAN BE VERY,, VERY BAD, and can lead to serotonin syndrome (something unpleasant that I personally experienced a while ago.)

This can cause the shakes, feeling nauseous and I even read somewhere that in super serious cases IT CAN CAUSE YOU TO GO INTO A COMA!!!

SO PEOPLE.

DO NOT TAKE TRYPTOPHAN ALONGSIDE SSRIs – PLEASE.

Cool.

Now, why should you take Tryptophan instead of the more well-known 5-HTP – also a precursor to serotonin?

Tryptophan more readily enters the brain directly than 5-HTP, and once in the brain it can then be turned into 5-HTP, and then serotonin.

Also, for some reason, 5-HTP has not been conclusively proven to help depression, and further, 5-HTP is not recommended for long term use, because it as it increases serotonin in the brain, it simultaneously depletes other neurotransmitters.

(I’m aware that Tryptophan gets converted into 5-HTP so this point needs expanding on but again, I’m just getting this from the source I’m using – if you want more detail then it shouldn’t be too difficult to do a quick search and find the information you need.)

This is why 5-HTP works for some people and then suddenly stops working – and why some people even end up feeling worse after taking 5-HTP for a while.

 

 


 

How this is relevant to me personally:

Well, I’m struggling guys.

I mean I’m really struggling, and if what is the most fundamental, physical and mental cause of the feeling of happiness is a chemical called serotonin, and a natural, safe way to gain more serotonin is to take Tryptophan supplements… Well, I’m all over that.

The thing about depression and mental health problems – or even how the brain works in general, is it’s all down to how our brain is perceiving things. Yes, sometimes really bad things actually do happen and the natural response to those things is to feel despair, but even then, there are many people who experience a host of negative experiences and never become depressed or feel anywhere near as terrible as those of us suffering from mental health issues.

It’s all down to how our brain is working.

I’d never want to be, like, unhealthily happy… I just don’t want to be finding things abnormally difficult in proportion to what the problems in my life are.

I want to be able to handle things that life throws at me well, and for little things that occur daily that are currently massive struggles for me, to not even cross my mind – like how they don’t cross most healthy people’s minds.

I just want to be happy, y’know?

I just want to be normal, happy and healthy – and to perceive everything in my life through THAT lens, rather than the lens my brain is currently seeing through.

I think how your brain perceives things is literally the most important thing in life. It dictates whether you live, thrive, are successful and happy, or whether you die… Problems with how the brain is perceiving things is the reason why people commit suicide – and suicide is a massive problem.

Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in under 45 year olds?

Did you know that over 80% of those suicides are caused by males, and that that percentage is growing?

I’m a woman by the way – just thought that this was an important factoid to throw in there.

Anyways, to literally go against the fundamental purpose of life itself, and to commit suicide – and for the cause of that to be mental health problems – and for the brain chemical that causes happiness and mental stability (serotonin) to have a 100% necessary precursor called Tryptophan that is VERY difficult to obtain through diet, and for a deficiency in this amino acid to be directly linked to a massive array of mental health problems and where studies have shown it to improve such problems…

I mean, this is really important stuff.

Like, life changing stuff.

I’m not saying taking Tryptophan supplements will make somebody who is suicidal suddenly not suicidal. I’m not even saying that Tryptophan will definitely help because again, read my disclaimer above. I don’t really know enough about this stuff to outright tell anybody that.

What I am saying is that this is just really, really important and valuable stuff to look into.

It’s really important, people.

So, I started taking Tryptophan supplements around a year ago and stopped for one reason or another. I probably just got lazy, which was very stupid of me.

I’ve been really struggling recently and did some research on different foods you should consume more of / less of to help anxiety, and bam, there it was, Tryptophan – my old friend.

I still have a ton of leftover supplements – in the form of 500mg capsules, and am going to start taking them again. I don’t know when but probably soon, and probably starting with how they recommend – just taking one 500mg pill a day at first, and then upping that to 2, 3, 4 etc, until I start to feel SLIGHT negative side effects (drowsiness was one I noticed when I took them a year ago), and then I can decrease my dosage, etc, until I find my sweet spot.

Anyway, my source is: bebrainfit.com/tryptophan-serotonin-mental-health/

It just has pretty much the exact same information on that page as what I’ve posted here but maybe you’d like to investigate the site more or something.

It was last updated yesterday (13th December 2018), and was written by a woman called Deane Alban who holds a bachelor degree in Biology, and there’s more information on her on the site aswell.

Again, I don’t really know anything – I’m definitely not a legitimate source.

I’m just trying to be the healthiest me that I can be.

Storm

 

0

Depression Tip #3

Depression Tip #3:

Take a really thorough, long, hot shower. Bathing is something that can become very difficult for those of us with depression – but being unclean just makes us feel even worse! If you’re feeling down and haven’t showered in a while, or even if you have showered recently, almost nothing serves as a better pick-me-up than being clean (at least for me.)

Take the time to give your hair a really good wash and condition. Thoroughly wash your body. Exfoliate and cleanse that beautiful face of yours. When we’re clean, everything feels a bit simpler and easier.

Follow by drying yourself off thoroughly, applying anti-antiperspirant (if you’re like me and anxiety makes you perspire like crazy,) and putting on a clean, warm set of clothes. I personally love to leave a set of clean pyjamas, underwear and socks on the radiator while I shower, so they’re super cosy when it’s time for me to put them on!

– Storm

3

Depression Tip #1

Depression tip #1:

Brush your teeth! I know this first one is going to seem overly simple, but it’s something that definitely makes me feel a bit better. If you’ve ever been so down that even brushing your teeth feels like climbing a mountain then trust me, you’re not alone. You’re not disgusting. It’s not your fault. It’s none of anybody else’s business, and it is something you do for yourself.

It’s very easy to get into the thought cycle of “I don’t deserve to take care of my body, why would I take care of myself when I don’t even like myself? Why would I take care of myself when I don’t even care about anything at all in life right now?” I know, it can be really, really difficult.

My first tip is to brush your teeth, because it’s something that will be over and done with REALLY quickly, and is honestly something that will always make you feel a little bit better. Clean your entire mouth – you’re tongue too, and the sensation of having a clean mouth will just make everything feel a little bit less crap.

– Storm

0

It’s Time To Beat The Winter Blues.

Sorry guys, this is a pretty depressing post, but this stuff is REAL.

So many of us have to struggle through and deal with mental health problems. Being open with eachother helps to lighten the load!


Ugh… Winter…

If anybody knows me, they know that I absolutely despise this time of the year. I just absolutely hate it. Yeah, there’s Christmas, big deal! Lucky old me happens to live in England, meaning Winter sort of overrules the majority of the other seasons, leaving just a couple of weeks in the Summertime when it is actually warm outside.

I hate the cold, I hate the loss of hours of daylight, I hate how all life outside seems to just DIE. I hate how difficult the Winter makes it for me to go outside and just sit on the grass in a park. I hate how difficult the Winter makes it for me to feel good about how I look – it’s pretty difficult to feel beautiful when you’re wearing 100 layers of clothing! I hate how I always become physically unwell with a disgusting 1-month long flu every Winter. I hate how the hardest work I have to do at College or Uni is always when it’s coldest. I hate how expensive it is to heat a home during the winter, and how waking up is made that much more difficult because who wants to get out of their warm bed to shower when the flat is 10 degrees Celsius in the morning?

But, you know what I hate most about the Winter? How much more difficult it makes it for me to manage my mental health. I Unfortunately, come sunshine or snow, seem to always struggle with mental health problems. Winter just further complicates everything!

The primary source of it all for me I think is depression, so I’m going to actively try to fight it. My intentions are not to cure myself of any mental health problems – that would be fairly unrealistic. I do think that I’m able to manage my mental health better though, and to live a much happier life as a result. I don’t really know what to expect, I just know that I am tired of dealing with this much difficulty in my day to day life, and that I have to at least try to make things better for myself.

If anything I try helps, I’ll do my best to post about it. Maybe it will help someone else too.


– Storm

0

What I Hate / Love About The Colder Seasons.

Okay so I’m going to be real honest with you guys here. I’m happy for you all that you’re so excited for Autumn – really, I am. But for me? I hate the bringing of the colder months, with a passion. I don’t just dislike the colder months, they genuinely make me feel incredibly depressed. But hey ho, what can you do eh?

To get some of my hatred for the colder seasons off my chest, I decided to write some things I hate about them, and then some things I love about them to leave me feeling a bit more positive about what’s to come.


What I Hate About The Colder Seasons:

uglyautumn.jpg

  1. Everything starts to die and/or hibernate and hide away. All forms of life find the cold so difficult to actually be present in, that they feel the need to reserve their energy to simply stay warm, and stop leaving their homes to be outdoors. I personally hate going outside when it’s cold – Celsius’ in the 20s is my jam and I absolutely adore the warmth of the sun on my bare skin. Sorry guys, I really do hate the cold and being too uncomfortable to just go outside and get some fresh air.

    uglywinter

  2. When so many of the same people who scream “it’s too hot, I miss Winter!” during the Summer, are the people saying “it’s too damn cold, I miss the Summer” during Winter… Come on guys, be decisive. I’m 100% a Summer lover, and will ALWAYS despise the cold.

    uglyautumn1.jpg

  3. Not really being able to wear body-confident, flattering clothing. I only recently became sort-of happy with how my body looks, and was really embracing wearing high-waisted shorts and little tops. Now I’m just going to be back to hiding my body away in bulky clothing!

    uglywinter1.jpg

  4. IT’S JUST TOO DAMN COLD TO EVER BE COMFORTABLE. You either have to wear a billion layers and be uncomfortable from having so many items of clothing rubbing against your body, or, you have to be really cold and get to wear a more comfortable amount of clothing. Even with loads of layers on, I still end up being too cold during the Winter months – especially my legs!

    uglyautumn2

  5. My Birthday. I turn 24 on October 17th, and let me tell you, it’s coming at me way too quickly. I’m at terms with my aging, but I just wish I had a little longer to achieve my yearly goals before I get run over by the continuous cycle of birthdays.

    uglywinter2

  6. Buying Christmas presents. I actually love buying people gifts, but what I don’t like is buying things that the person I give them to probably won’t end up liking all that much. Being an adult, most of the people within my social life are also adults, and already have the funds to purchase whatever it is they desire in life. Finding something for them that they both haven’t already bought for themselves, and that they genuinely would adore, is really flipping difficult.

    uglyautumn3.jpg

  7. How rubbish it looks outside during the colder months. No sunshine, just grey and white clouds filling the skies and looming over everybody. There’s not much to look at either, I mean, it’s all dead. Yeah so the dying leaves on trees turn pretty colours, but they’re still DEAD. I much rather see nice and healthy ALIVE leaves!

    uglywinter3.jpg

  8. The weather, oh God the weather. Rain galore, proudly drenching all my billions of bulky layers and my once-perfect makeup in it’s wake. Icy winds, so cold that they make my cheeks burn and make my nose run. Add the two together, and you get inverted, spiky umbrellas to have to deal with. I hate the weather we get during the colder seasons, it’s the absolute worst.

    uglyautumn4.jpg

  9. THAT IT NEVER SEEMS TO END… Here in good ol’ London, the colder seasons seem to last more like 3.67 seasons rather than their appointed 2. Yep, according to Accuweather, London averages out at only 30 days a year where the high temperature is 22 degrees Celcius. It just drags on and on and on, and when it finally gets warm it’s just a little sprint that lasts for a couple weeks, then cold again for ages before the next warm sprint, or “heat waves” as most Brits like to call it. That’s how cold it always is here, we actually have a dramatic name for when it feels warm in England.

    uglywinter4

  10. FOMO with Lush products, or ‘fear of missing out’. Lush brings out tons of new products for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and also add a bunch of new ones to their permanent line after the Lush Summit which occurs every September. This also means a whole bunch of discons just weeks beforehand, and will also mean that more seasonal products will begin appearing in the Lush Kitchen (which won’t generally happen during the rest of the year.) Basically, this means that I personally feel a LOT of pressure to purchase many, many Lush products during the colder months, in fear that I will miss out on said products if I do not do so! This then leads to loss of a lot of money, tons of products to have to find a place to stash in my little flat, and excess of products that turn less and less fresh everyday. I STILL have SO MANY products in my stash, mostly purchased during the Boxing Day sale last year. They’re no longer as fresh as they were back then and, lo and behold, Halloween and Christmas products have already been released once again in Lush.

Things I Love About The Colder Seasons:

beautifulautumn.jpg

  1. I do love how cozy I can be during the colder seasons. I find it difficult to drink hot drinks, soups, stews and heavy meals when it is warm in England, so it’s really nice to be able to indulge in those things again. I also don’t cozy up to my partner so much in the warmer months because of how sticky and uncomfortable that can get, so it will be lovely to be able to do that again! + nice, hot baths…

    beautifulwinter.jpg

  2. Okay so, although I do generally prefer Summertime clothing, I am really excited to break in some of my new clothing items that I bought from Primark recently! I have a gorgeous pair of high waited, black skinny jeans that I’m really looking forward to wearing, and am also looking forward to getting to wear all my new shirts, hoodies, jumpers and hats more! I have a few new pairs of shoes made from waterproof material that I’m also looking forward to getting more use out of!

    beautifulautumn1.jpg

  3. Although there’s nothing I prefer than being outdoors, I’m a pretty lazy lady. When it’s too cold to go outside and I pretty much HAVE to spend my spare time indoors, it’s nice to allow myself to read, go on my laptop, watch T.V. etc without feeling too much guilt!

    beautifulwinter1.jpg

  4. Everyone being so happy on Christmas, and all at the same time. Unless they don’t celebrate it of course, but most people here do! It’s such a nice and cheerful day, everything just feels so positive and happy on Christmas, and it is a day I’m looking forward to 🙂

    beautifulautumn2.jpg

  5. The start of a new term of education. I will be attending University toward the end of September, and the start of a new term is always the most exciting and least stressful time I find (although, I do still find it pretty stressful at this time of year!) Everything is new again – new stationary, new teachers, new classes, new learning material, a new opportunity to make new friends and to attend new societies… It’s just all fresh and fun(ner) at this time of year!

    beautifulwinter2.jpg

  6. The colder months are the months where almost all of my family members’ Birthdays fall within. We kick off with my mother’s on 20th September, then mine on 17th October, then my younger brother’s and sister’s on the 12th November, then my older brother’s on 1st December, and then my eldest sister’s on 16th December. Phew! Add in the start of a new term at Uni, Halloween, Firework’s night, Christmas (+Christmas Eve and Boxing Day,) New Years Day and Valentines Day, and we have an extremely eventful couple of seasons this time of year!

    beautifulautumn3.jpg

  7. I guess the cold, drab months help me to appreciate the warmer ones even more than I already would do, right?

    beautifulwinter3.jpg

  8. Makeup not sweating off of my face and / or becoming oily so quickly! I HATE how sticky my face gets when it’s warm, so I am really looking forward to my face staying a bit more matte in the colder seasons.

    beautifulautumn4.jpg

  9. All the beautiful things specific to the colder months – such as pumpkin lanterns being out on Halloween, all the Bonfires and fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night, Christmas lights lighting up every highstreet, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, peeping through people’s windows to see a glorious Christmas tree, fireworks on New Years… All very beautiful!

    beautifulwinter4

  10. Last but not least, not really needing to shave. I hate the process of shaving my legs with a passion. To be able to get away with NOT having shaved legs the majority of the time will be pretty nice actually.

 

That’s it from me for now!
– Storm