Milk Calcium And The Tryptophan-serotonin Pathway

Discussion in 'Doubts About Milk' started by Waremu, Feb 27, 2015.

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  1. Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    Ray Peat says that high tryptophan content of milk should not be problematic, due to the high calcium content. He says that it is the calcium to phosphate ratio is the major contributor in whether the tryptophan in the milk will be converted into excess serotonin or the B Vitamin, Niacin:

    "The ratio of calcium to phosphorous should be very high. If you're under stress, the phosphate becomes more a problem and adds to the stress. Meat and whole grains are major sources of phosphate. You have to be more concerned with your calcium intake if you have a meat or grained based diet."

    Now, as of now I have some doubts that, even with a higher calcium to phosphate ratio, that all or most of the tryptophan will be prevented from going down the serotonin pathway and will possibly be used to produce some or moderate amounts of serotonin.

    Does anyone have or know of any studies which answers these two main questions:

    A) Does most to all of the tryptophan in dairy go down the pathway to produce niacin?

    B) Will the body continue to steer away from the serotonin pathway to the pathway to produce niacin, even when one is getting sufficient niacin from the diet?

    I have been thinking this because perhaps the body will only convert substances into vitamins, etc., often only when it does not have enough of that vitamin/nutrient to meet it's metabolic demands, and when it does have enough, it's own regulatory mechanisms stop it from converting any additional substances to produce certain nutrient's, which brings me to question B (above).

    Most people who follow peat get more than enough niacin/niacinamide from food/supplements, so what evidence do we have that that **in of itself** will not steer the excess tryptophan from milk away from the niacin pathway to the serotonin pathway? What evidence do we have to show that the body will keep using that tryptophan to produce niacin when the bodies nutritional needs for that Vitamin is already being met very well through diet?

    If there is not clear evidence on this, then perhaps it would be very important to consume glycine/gelatin with milk just to be on the safe side (to help with the tryptophan).

    Any studies that anyone knows of which can answer these questions would be great. Thanks.
     
  2. johns74

    johns74 Member

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    If having a high calcium/phosphorus ratio is important, then it doesn't matter, practically, whether the tryptophan in milk is not ideal, because there are no other good sources of calcium other than milk and cheese.

    Getting the calcium will outweigh other concerns if calcium in milk is very beneficial. I'm assuming you want your food from natural sources. For someone willing to use calcium supplements, the argument doesn't apply.

    My experiences with varying milk intake lead me to believe that having a high intake of calcium from natural foods is overall beneficial, regardless of minor bad effects it might have. I guess adding a good source of gelatin might significantly reduce the tryptophan percentage of your protein without giving up milk.
     
  3. johns74

    johns74 Member

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    How much does the good calcium phosphorus ratio from milk lasts in the blood, reducing PTH? Another way of saying this is, how long after consuming a cup of milk can I consume a reasonable sized (*) piece of meat without altering the ratio and inducing PTH secretion?

    reasonably sized (*) piece of meat could be one that balances the minerals in a cup of milk so that the total calcium/phosphorus ratio of the milk and the meat combined is 1 to 1.
     
  4. nikotrope

    nikotrope Member

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    If you have low free fatty acids, you should convert tryptophan to niacin anyway, you need to get low stored PUFA to do that (so most people are not in this case). In addition to calcium, casein is also a factor for the conversion of tryptophan to niacin.
     
  5. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    My main concern isn't avoiding milk/dairy completely, but rather, if those who still have broken/slow metabolisms should limit dairy and, with whatever dairy they consume, add gelatin/glycine.

    Ray Peat said that the calcium to phosphorus ratio is a major factor in whether the tryptophan in milk will go down the serotonin or niacin pathway, but one thing I think that he said, which was vague, and that perhaps not many people picked up on, is that estrogen itself also causes it to go down the serotonin pathway. The problem is, however, that *almost everyone* who is in the healing stage, to various degrees, suffers from estrogen dominance (that is, producing more estrogen then they should naturally produce if they achieved ideal metabolic efficiency). So that then brings up the question: should most people who are in the "healing" stage be consuming so much milk, due to the estrogen dominance, etc.? As I think about this more, I think it may *perhaps* be ideal for those who are still healing to not overdo it with the milk --- unless there is sufficient evidence that most or all of the tryptophan in milk is not signaling the production of more serotonin. In other words, even if someone has a ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio established via diet, if they are hypothyroid and estrogen dominant, then chances are, even the calcium in milk will offer complete protection from the high tryptophan content.

    Also, as I mentioned earlier, I have seen no studies showing that the tryptophan in the milk will be mostly converted to niacin if someone is supplementing or ingesting sufficient or large quantities of it. Therefore, without scientific evidence, it seems like pure speculation to say that the body will just blindly continue to convert all the tryptophan in milk to niacin if it's niacin requirements are already being met via diet/supplementation. The body is very intelligent and will not always continue to convert a substance to a nutrient if it's nutritional needs are being met through diet/supplementation and therefore may steer down a different pathway instead.
     
  6. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    And that is the problem. How many people who follow Ray Peat have:

    A) low FFA

    B) low PUFA

    C) low estrogen production (and overall stress hormones), in conjunction with

    D) an ideal calcium phosphorus ratio

    The chances are, most people are coming from a state of severe metabolic damage and D is probably the only thing out of the three that they have down. But the question is, is D in of itself good enough to counter the very high tryptophan content of milk when A, B, and C is not optimal? By Ray Peats own admission, theoretically, possibly not.
     
  7. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    Today I began an experiment and cut my milk intake in half and replaced it with gelatin protein, mostly. So I am eating the same amount of total protein, but not as much from milk. I will supplement with pearl and eggshell powder for calcium (as it is closer to a whole food than the pure form of supplemental calcium is). It will be interesting to see what happens and how I feel over the next few weeks.
     
  8. nikotrope

    nikotrope Member

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  9. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    Thanks for the link. I appreciate it. I have followed Dr. Peat for quite some time now, have read his articles and statements, and I don't remember reading anything from him that mentioned casein protein blocking or slowing down tryptophan absorption, etc. Maybe I just missed it or forgot, but it seems to be something he never brings up when people ask him about the benefits of milk. He just mentions the calcium. I wonder why.

    Another thing that does concern me, which I forgot to add in my OP, is that milk is also high in methionine, which Ray Peat has talked about being one of the problematic amino acids too. It seems that Glycine from gelatin can help counter methionine, so, from that standpoint alone, I think it would be wise having some gelatin with milk, since, from what I have looked at, the calcium doesn't seem to block it's absorption.
    While tryptophan restriction has been shown in studies to have health-promoting/life-extending effects, so too has methionine restriction. So while someone will get benefits from reducing/blocking tryptophan, it may not be good enough in the long run of methionine intake remains high, which Glycine appears to help counter. Ray Peat even acknowledged that milk is high in methionine and said the benefits still outweigh that risk. But I guess he realizes that there are some things like glycine that can counter that too, much like the tryptophan in the milk, so it then isn't much of a risk to him at that point.

    I will look at those studies you provided about the milk and casein to see how effective it was. Thanks again.
     
  10. nikotrope

    nikotrope Member

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    I also think that at least glycine is important since methionine is high in milk. I may supplement glycine, I tried gelatin several times (last time was this week) and I can't say for sure but I don't seem to digest it well. It's not the only thing I add in my diet this week but I had more gas and bloating than last week.
     
  11. johns74

    johns74 Member

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    Some posters said that t3 turns white/gray hair into darker hair. If so, that suggests that thyroid hormone is involved in tryptophan metabolism. White hair has the highest amount of tryptophan of all hair colors. That thyroid hormone reduces it suggests it can alter tryptophan metabolism.

    Thus, there might be more than one way to manipulate tryptophan metabolism.
     
  12. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    Yes, that could be the case as well. I myself have noticed that my hair is a bit darker since taking thyroid and also very much softer (not brittle). But of course, that would then further validate how significant of a role serotonin plays in peoples health, as most people (at least in much of Europe and North America) are hypothyroid to various degrees.
     
  13. OP
    Waremu

    Waremu Member

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    One thing I have been thinking about lately is the natural BCAA content of milk. I know that a few cups of milk can provide BCCA, which is more than enough to inhibit the tyrptophan to serotonin conversion, but BCAA's also have been shown to reduce methionine by about 50% according to a study someone posted a while back. I am wondering if the natural BCAA's in milk contribute to the reduction in the tyrpophan to serotonin pathway and also if it would also reduce the methionine absorption by that much as well. Would be interesting to have a study done on that. Theoretically, it makes perfect sense to me. If that is the case, then milk (especially when consumed with enough gelatins) shouldn't be worrisome concerning it's methionine content.

    Interestingly, Ray Peat has said in his articles that methionine is the most toxic of the amino acids (which would probably mean that trypaphan is a very close second).

    So despite all the health benefits of milk (calcium, low tyrptophan absorption, protein, potassium, magnesium, etc.), perhaps it still may not be enough to entirely shift any focus or away from raising concern over the methionine content --- especially if one has a high milk/cheese/yogurt diet, which would mean that they would be consuming a high amount of methionine. If the natural BCAA's in milk do not offer much benefit from it's high methionine content, then I would question just how much will gelatin protect from the long-term effects of that amount of methionine.
     
  14. BingDing

    BingDing Member

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    I've read a couple places that B6 steers tryptophan to the niacin pathway, though not RP or maybe entirely reliable. All of the B vitamins are cofactors in many, many metabolic pathways and keeping them up is generally smart in any case.

    Serotonin in the brain and serotonin in the body are two different things, they are generally treated as separate pools since serotonin does not cross the blood brain barrier. Milk is pretty high in the all the other amino acids that use the same transporter across the BBB, including the BCAAs, my theory is that a very small amount of the tryptophan in milk ever gets into the brain so converting into serotonin there is not as problematic as it might seem. Maybe it's the same with methionine, I haven't thought that out.

    From this link:

    Haidut has a post about supplementing BCAAs with any protein that contains much tryptophan, this is exactly the same thing, just extending the idea a bit.

    Serotonin in the body can be reduced with different supplements, I don't want to free list a bunch of things and make a mistake but there are plenty of threads on the forum.
     
  15. Anthony

    Anthony Member

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    Sardines? They also have a good ratio of calcium/phosphorus if consumed whole, skin and bones and all.
     
  16. tara

    tara Member

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    I used to love the bones in sardine. :) But they are oily fish with high PUFA content, and a lot of people here are following Peat's advice to limit fish oil consumption
     
  17. Anthony

    Anthony Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong isn't Ray Peat against Fish Oil consumption from supplemental sources and not Whole Food sources?
     
  18. Vita3

    Vita3 Member

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    Ray Peat himself eats sometimes sardines if there is no food available.
     
  19. tara

    tara Member

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    Almost anything is better than starving. :)

    I understand Peat to favour limiting consumption of oily fish, as well as completely avoiding consumption of fish oil supplements. So the occasional sardine might not be much of a problem, but making it the primary source of calcium might be a bit much fish oil on a regular basis.

    Just looked up sardines, and their oil is less PUFA than I expected, but still not great.
    100g tinned in tomato sauce, drained
    2.1 g PUFA
    4.8 g MUFA
    240mg calcium
    12 g protein
    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fin ... cts/4115/2

    So to get a minimal calcium of 1000mg from sardines, I'd have to eat more than 400g, which is probably more than I could enjoy (about 50 g IIRC), and I'd be blowing my PUFA budget.
    Still, a little now and then might be reasonable.
     
  20. BobbyDukes

    BobbyDukes Member

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    Ray Peat packs a tin of sardines everywhere he goes, because you never know when you might run out of food :cool:
     
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