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Meals Rich In Carbohydrates, But Poor In Protein May Increase Serotonin In The Brain

Faith110

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Aug 17, 2013
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Confused about serotonin

OK, so from what I've gathered so far, RP is not a fan of serotonin, and believes estrogen dominance has alot to do with high serotonin and high histamine. But then as I'm reading his article I find this:

"A large carbohydrate meal increases the ratio of tryptophan to the competing amino acids, and it has been proposed that this can shift the body’s balance toward increased serotonin. In an animal study, bromocriptine, which shifts the balance away from serotonin, reduced obesity and insulin and free fatty acids, and improved glucose tolerance."

I thought that high carb meals are good! I'm confused. Can someone help me clarify this??
 
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charlie

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A LARGE carbohydrate meal.....

Ray Peat suggests smaller more frequent meals.

And :welcome
 

Peata

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Wish we knew what he had in mind when he said LARGE. It could be a small meal that has a lot of carbs in one sitting, or a large volume of food that is carbs.
 

messtafarian

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In this essay he's not trying to argue for a way of eating, he's just talking about the fact that serotonin is not helpful for metabolism. He's saying that when a high carb meal is eaten it causes a higher tryptophan uptake. To my knowledge RP has not really been able to address the problem of tryptophan very well -- it's an amino acid that's in every type of protein including milk. However in milk, there is a huge store of calcium which is extremely helpful to the body and it increases metabolism. So the deal is, tryptophan makes more serotonin, which is bad. When the increase was treated with bromocriptine, it did good things for the metabolism; thus -- serotonin = bad.

This is an argument against SSRI's. RP is not in favor of using SSRIs or any other psychotropic because he thinks the issues are metabolic and not materially to do with "brain chemicals."

As far as "high carbs" -- the metabolic correction of thyroid and other strategies address the issue of serotonin.
 

Mittir

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Large carbohydrate meal will cause lots of problems other than increasing serotonin.
Carbohydrate, especially high glycemic starch, will cause rapid increase in blood sugar.
This leads to high insulin secretion, this causes fat synthesis and cortisol increase.
It is the intense increase in insulin that increases ratio of Tryptophan to other neutral amino
acids and this may lead to increased serotonin production. Just by changing ratio of
carb, fat and protein one can easily lower insulin response and ratio of tryptophan.
Mixed meal have lower glycemic index than high carb meal. Here is a study that describes this
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21349213
RP recommends small frequent meals with carb,protein and fat to minimize
high blood sugar and insulin response. Adding some gelatin with tryptophan rich food
will also lower the tryptophan ratio.
 

Jenn

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""Diabetologists" don't regularly measure their patients' insulin, but they usually make the assumption that insulin is the main factor regulating blood sugar. In one study, it was found that the insulin molecule itself, immunoreactive insulin, accounted for only about 8% of the serum's insulin-like action. The authors of that study believed that potassium was the main other factor in the serum that promoted the disposition of glucose. Since potassium and glucose are both always present in the blood, their effects on each other have usually been ignored. "
http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gl ... etes.shtml

It's the lack of sufficient potassium and lack of fructose to balance the glucose that leads to high insulin response with starch. Not all "carbohydrates" behave the same....you have to keep it in context.

If you read his words, "it has been proposed" is introducing a theory. There are lots of factors involved, we don't know what types of carbohydrates were used for the study. If it was a wheat pasta, could be the gluten cause gut irritation??????????
 

natedawggh

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Faith110 said:
OK, so from what I've gathered so far, RP is not a fan of serotonin, and believes estrogen dominance has alot to do with high serotonin and high histamine. But then as I'm reading his article I find this:

"A large carbohydrate meal increases the ratio of tryptophan to the competing amino acids, and it has been proposed that this can shift the body’s balance toward increased serotonin. In an animal study, bromocriptine, which shifts the balance away from serotonin, reduced obesity and insulin and free fatty acids, and improved glucose tolerance."

I thought that high carb meals are good! I'm confused. Can someone help me clarify this??

Great points brought up in this thread. Also, other articles talk about how there are various ways to deal with the degenerative effects of serotonin, such as the presence of fructose and thus high fruit intake, aspirin, niacinamide, sugared milk, etc. reading all of his papers, though time consuming, gives one a sense of the entirety of metabolic processes as currently understood and how to best approach diet and supplementation.
 

Parsifal

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[ moderator edit: threads merged ]

Sugar Increases Serotonin


Brain serotonin content: increase following ingestion of carbohydrate diet. - PubMed - NCBI

In the rat, the injection of insulin or the consumption of carbohydrate causes sequential increases in the concentrations of tryptophan in the plasma and the brain and of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin-containing neurons may thus participate in systems whereby the rat brain integrates information about the metabolic state in its relation to control of homeostatis and behavior.

I've read that sugar helps tryptophan to get into the brain.

What do you think about it?
 
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schultz

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The study was trying to show that a carbohydrate meal without protein (and possibly without fat) raises brain serotonin through lack of competition from other amino acids (LNAA's). Adding protein to the meal reduces the effect since the competing amino acids are present in the protein ingested. Apparently what happens is that the amino acids are shuttled into the muscles from the rise in insulin (from the CHO), but tryptophan is left behind, without competition for access to the brain.

Maybe someone knowledgeable can comment on this effect?

It wasn't clear to me how they were measuring brain serotonin.

It is apparently impossible to measure brain serotonin in humans without "invasive" methods.

"It is currently impossible to measure 5-HT in the living human brain because it requires invasive techniques (Marsden, 2010). Moreover, serotonin cannot cross the blood brain barrier (Bouchard, 1972; Genot et al., 1981), so peripheral measures do not accurately reflect brain levels." SOURCE

Serotonin research is riddled with confusion and misconceptions and I haven't had motivation to go through it all. These studies build off the mistaken belief of previous studies and it becomes difficult to figure out what is actually going on.
 

ATP

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I was under the impression that only under stress does typtophan get converted to serotonin, in an ideal environment it goes towards niacin?
Also having a low tryptophan intake would solve this problem. Having gelatin with meals containing tryptophan would possibly help minimize the tryptophan/serotonin conversion?
 

Giraffe

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Ray Peat has written about it.
A large carbohydrate meal increases the ratio of tryptophan to the competing amino acids, and it has been proposed that this can shift the body’s balance toward increased serotonin. In an animal study, bromocriptine, which shifts the balance away from serotonin, reduced obesity and insulin and free fatty acids, and improved glucose tolerance. -- RP

Serotonin, depression, and aggression - The problem of brain energy.

Amino acids that compete with tryptophan are tyrosine, phenylalanine, the BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, valine) and methionin.

Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios

This study compared a high-carb / low protein and a low carb / high protein breakfast.

Percentage change in tryptophan-LNAA ratios:
In the 8 subjects who completed both breakfasts, the median increase from baseline after carbohydrate was 11%, and the median nadir after protein was −37%. The median difference between the percentage changes after carbohydrate and protein was 54%; the range was 36–88%. In 5 subjects the carbohydrate-induced rise in tryptophan:LNAA peaked at 120 min after baseline, and in 5 subjects the protein-induced decrease was greatest 240 min after baseline.

Percentage change in tyrosine-LNAA ratios:
In the 8 subjects who completed both breakfasts, the median increase from baseline after carbohydrate was 7%, and the median nadir after protein −23%. The median difference between the percentage changes after carbohydrate and protein was 28%; the range was 10–64%.

..........

Diurnal variations in plasma concentrations of tryptophan, tryosine, and other neutral amino acids: effect of dietary protein intake.
Consumption of the protein-free diet caused plasma concentrations of all amino acids studied to fall in the late morning and afternoon... [...] Ingestion of the diet containing 75 g of egg protein tended to diminish the amplitudes of the daily rhythms in plasma amino acid levels, but most amino acids still exhibited small but significant elevations late in the evening. At all times of day, plasma concentrations of the large neutral amino acids studied (i.e., aromatic and branched-chain amino acids, and methionine) varied directly with the protein content of the diet. [...] The ratios of plasma tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine levels to the sum of the concentrations of other large neutral amino acids tended to fall as the protein content of the diet was increased. [...] Since diet-induced changes in plasma trypotphan and tyrosine ratios in animals are known to cause parallel alterations in brain tryptophan and tyrosine levels, and thus in the rates of brain serotonin and catecholamine synthesis, our data suggest that ingestion of carbohydrates and protein may also normally affected brain monoamine synthesis in humans.
 

Giraffe

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Just noted that there was a second thread about this topic.

Wish we knew what he had in mind when he said LARGE.
In the study I linked above they tested a breakfast "Americans normally eat": waffles with maple sirup, orange juice and sugared coffee (~ 70 g carbs, 6 g fat, 5 g protein).
 

Giraffe

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Apparently what happens is that the amino acids are shuttled into the muscles from the rise in insulin (from the CHO), but tryptophan is left behind, without competition for access to the brain.
I found this study done in 1949 which ilustrates it nicely. They injected fasted dogs insulin and measured the blood concentration of 1o amino acids before and after the injection. They also measured the amino acid content in the muscle.
 

jyb

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Just noted that there was a second thread about this topic.

In the study I linked above they tested a breakfast "Americans normally eat": waffles with maple sirup, orange juice and sugared coffee (~ 70 g carbs, 6 g fat, 5 g protein).

A common lunch in Europe (a dry sandwich) would be similarly high in carbs and low protein and fat. I don't know anyone around me who still eats a high animal protein based diet, other than me.
 
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