The Tryptophan Problem

Yves

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I used to eat a lot of cheese and milk, but found I always had issues of some kind. I know peat says that calcium helps the body convert tryptophan into niacin, but I have never found a reference for that statement. Does anyone know?

Recently I have been on a tryptophan-deplete diet (no animal protein except gelatin) with excellent effects. The real problem with tryptophan in my opinion is that some bacteria require it, so that tryptophan restriction is anti-bacterial. Tryptophan being a problem because it converts into serotonin never seemed very convincing to me except at extreme intake levels since the body can naturally convert more or less to serotonin as needed. The body can burn the excess tryptophan for calories, or convert tryptophan into niacin.
 

nwo2012

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Yves said:
I used to eat a lot of cheese and milk, but found I always had issues of some kind. I know peat says that calcium helps the body convert tryptophan into niacin, but I have never found a reference for that statement. Does anyone know?

Recently I have been on a tryptophan-deplete diet (no animal protein except gelatin) with excellent effects. The real problem with tryptophan in my opinion is that some bacteria require it, so that tryptophan restriction is anti-bacterial. Tryptophan being a problem because it converts into serotonin never seemed very convincing to me except at extreme intake levels since the body can naturally convert more or less to serotonin as needed. The body can burn the excess tryptophan for calories, or convert tryptophan into niacin.

Good thoughts. I also couldnt find info on calcium and conversion of tryptothan into niacin.

This would support a low tryptothan diet.

Excessive dietary tryptophan enhances plasma lipid peroxidation in rats.
Aviram M, Cogan U, Mokady S.
Source

Lipid Research Laboratory, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.
Abstract

High plasma cholesterol levels and plasma lipid peroxidation are associated with atherosclerosis. The effect of excessive dietary tryptophan on plasma lipid peroxidation was studied in rats fed a diet containing soybean oil (control), as well as an atherogenic diet, containing coconut oil and cholesterol. Feeding the atherogenic diet resulted in a 5-fold increment in plasma cholesterol concentration with no significant effect of the tryptophan supplementation. The plasma obtained from the hypercholesterolemic rats exhibited a 67% increased lipid oxidation (measured as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) in comparison to normocholesterolemic plasma. Dietary tryptophan supplementation increased plasma lipid peroxidation by 9 and 21% in the control and in the hypercholesterolemic animals, respectively. Similarly, the excessive dietary tryptophan enhanced macrophage cholesterol esterification rate by 40 and 38% following cell incubation with the plasma obtained from the control and from the hypercholesterolemic animals, respectively. Since tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin we have measured urine concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA), the metabolite of serotonin, and found 22 and 118% elevation in 5HIAA in the tryptophan fed control and hypercholesterolemic rats, respectively. The direct effect of tryptophan and serotonin on in vitro lipid peroxidation was also studied. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) was peroxidized by incubation with copper ions in the presence of tryptophan or serotonin. Serotonin was shown to enhance LDL peroxidation whereas tryptophan had no effect on LDL peroxidation. We conclude that excessive dietary tryptophan may be atherogenic since it enhanced plasma lipid peroxidation in hypercholesterolemic rats and increased macrophage uptake of plasma cholesterol. These effects are probably associated with increased plasma concentration of serotonin following the consumption of a tryptophan supplemented diet.
 

FunkOdyssey

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Yves said:
I used to eat a lot of cheese and milk, but found I always had issues of some kind. I know peat says that calcium helps the body convert tryptophan into niacin, but I have never found a reference for that statement. Does anyone know?

Recently I have been on a tryptophan-deplete diet (no animal protein except gelatin) with excellent effects. The real problem with tryptophan in my opinion is that some bacteria require it, so that tryptophan restriction is anti-bacterial. Tryptophan being a problem because it converts into serotonin never seemed very convincing to me except at extreme intake levels since the body can naturally convert more or less to serotonin as needed. The body can burn the excess tryptophan for calories, or convert tryptophan into niacin.

What effects have you noted from a tryptophan-depleted diet, and what are your other sources of protein aside from gelatin?
 

Yves

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I've noticed reduced fatigue and a clearer head. The first 2 days I had a nasty headache that cleared up and hasn't returned. I suspect it may have been some sort of pathogen or bacterial die off. C. Pneumonia for example will stop replicating in a tryptophan deplete environment. The bacteria infects the CNS and brain and is thought to be behind brain and neurological problems (read second comment as well): http://www.cpnhelp.org/role_of_tryptophan_supple

The initial headache may have also been due to a reduction in serotonin. My understanding is that serotonin intially helps migraines because it vasocontricts, so that a sudden decrease in serotonin could actually trigger a migraine. In the longer run however, elevated levels of serotonin are associated with increased migraines.. It makes reading the literature on serotonin and migraines very confusing. It also doesn't help that serotonin research is often times dubious given the promotion of SSRI's.

No other protein source. Fruit, juice, white rice, and coconut oil form the bulk of calories. I take some mineral supplements and vitamin D/K2. I'm starting to add in antibiotics to go for the kill (I'm working on the CPN premise).
 

Yves

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Here are some more resources with regard to tryptophan (Trp) restriction having antibacterial effects. The immune system destroys trypophan via the cytokine IFN-Gamma Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase when there is an infection present. Reducing Trp then should spare the immune system the trouble of having to destroy Trp.


"Infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae, a human respiratory pathogen, has been associated with various chronic diseases such as asthma and atherosclerosis, possibly because the pathogen can exist in a persistent form. C. pneumoniae persistently infect DCs in a TNF-alpha dependent manner. The present study investigated whether C. pneumoniae infection can induce indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity in dendritic cells, and whether the restriction of chlamydial growth in the DCs by TNF-alpha is IDO dependent. Our data indicate that infection of DCs with C. pneumoniae resulted in the induction of IDO expression. Reporting on our use of anti-TNF-alpha antibody adalimumab and varying concentrations of TNF-alpha, we further demonstrate that IDO induction following infection of DCs with C. pneumoniae is TNF-alpha dependent. The anti-chlamydial activity induced by TNF-alpha and the expression of chlamydial 16S rRNA gene, euo, groEL1, ftsk and tal genes were correlated with induction of IDO. Addition of excess amounts of tryptophan to the DC cultures resulted in abrogation of the TNF-alpha-mediated chlamydial growth restriction. These findings suggest that infection of DCs by C. pneumoniae induces production of functional IDO, which subsequently causes depletion of tryptophan. This may represent a potential mechanism for DCs to restrict bacterial growth in chlamydial infections."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19643200

"Here we demonstrate that at low exogenous tryptophan concentrations a substantial fraction of C. trachomatis bacteria fail to traffic to the MTOC or to switch into the conventional persistent state in gamma interferon-induced human cells. The organisms stay scattered in the cell periphery, do not retain infectivity, and display only low transcriptional activity. Importantly, the rate at which these aberrant Chlamydia bacteria become reactivated upon replenishment of cellular tryptophan pools is substantially lower. Thus, severe tryptophan depletion in cells with high IDO activity affects chlamydial development more rigorously than previously described."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17724071

This also appears to work against Toxoplasma:

"Tryptophan (Trp) is an indispensable amino acid required for biosynthesis of proteins, serotonin and niacin. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is induced by infections, viruses, lipopolysaccharides, or interferons (IFNs) and this results in significant catabolism of Trp along the kynurenine (Kyn) pathway. Intracellular growth of Toxoplasma gondii and Chlamydia psittaci in human fibroblasts in vitro is inhibited by IFN-gamma and this inhibition is negated by extra Trp in the medium. ..."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1722946
 

nwo2012

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But all this assuming you are infected by such pathogens in the first place. And also you have to believe in the germ theory of disease. Food for thought though.
 

charlie

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Yves, are you still doing the tryptophan-less diet? Any updates?
 

Yves

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Hi Charlie, thanks for asking, I'm still on a low tryptophan diet. I find exercise and a high carbohydrate intake are needed to maintain muscle mass, and once a week or so I will have steak or seafood to prevent too much muscle loss. I find it hard to get enough protein from gelatin alone since I don't like the taste of it; I usually mix it in with my orange juice or coffee and chug it down.

I re-tested my serotonin levels and they have dropped from 141 to 111 so that is an encouragement.

One thing I have become acutely aware of is that whenever I eat protein I get a clogged nostril, in the past my nostrils were so chronically shut (but without mucous) I never really noticed it. On a low tryptophan diet it's pretty much gone... I notice things which boost the immune system (beta glucan, vit. d, iodine+selenium) reduce nasal inflammation significantly, so I think it's immune system related somehow. Anyone have any ideas? Chronic infection in the nasal area somehow?
 

Nick810

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Exactly the same for me... bad food = stuffy nose. If I stick to fruit, liver, meat etc I'm fine, but if I eat anything bad, like some weird dairy, or some unripe fruit. My nose gets congested. If you balance the meat with some fruit and gelatin it might be better, give it a try.
 

nwo2012

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I asked RP about this because my son got a lot of nasal congestion.

RP
Congestion of the nose and chest is usually the reaction to inflammation in the intestine, from something allergenic or undigested

When we dropped apples from my son's diet it improved dramatically. Still there sometimes but nothing like it was. But then I believe there are other causes which are not taken into account...............like persistant contrails.
 

Yves

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nwo2012 I agree, I notice that if I am exposed to a lot of chemicals or offensive smells my nostrils get inflamed. I also think there is a chronic infection component.

Nick, I've noticed that hard to digest foods in general clog my nostrils, but even when sticking to safe foods, protein clogs my nostrils (but no mucus). I find I have to eat a very high ratio of sugars to protein (5:1) to dampen the effect. Coffee also helps.
 

PeatFeat

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Yves said:
Hi Charlie, thanks for asking, I'm still on a low tryptophan diet. I find exercise and a high carbohydrate intake are needed to maintain muscle mass, and once a week or so I will have steak or seafood to prevent too much muscle loss. I find it hard to get enough protein from gelatin alone since I don't like the taste of it; I usually mix it in with my orange juice or coffee and chug it down.

I re-tested my serotonin levels and they have dropped from 141 to 111 so that is an encouragement.

One thing I have become acutely aware of is that whenever I eat protein I get a clogged nostril, in the past my nostrils were so chronically shut (but without mucous) I never really noticed it. On a low tryptophan diet it's pretty much gone... I notice things which boost the immune system (beta glucan, vit. d, iodine+selenium) reduce nasal inflammation significantly, so I think it's immune system related somehow. Anyone have any ideas? Chronic infection in the nasal area somehow?
Sounds like food allergies to me. You can get a skin prick test, but it's not completely accurate.
 

Nick810

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I think it's just a sign or symptom of generally being in a stressed/allergenic/low-metab state, where loads of foods are difficult to digest.
 

gretchen

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I was dairy free off and on for years and just don't think I could do it again. Serotonin is an ongoing problem for me though, and at times I have thought I felt better off dairy, or on it. I'm often not able to really decide.
 

Yves

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gretchen said:
I was dairy free off and on for years and just don't think I could do it again. Serotonin is an ongoing problem for me though, and at times I have thought I felt better off dairy, or on it. I'm often not able to really decide.

I've been in the same boat as well. I think it comes down to the benefits of calcium + saturated fats vs the allergenic and tryptophan problem with dairy. If you can get your calcium from other sources like calcium fortified OJ or eggshell or supplements (and to make sure your vit d levels are up to par) you may find dairy is unnecessary. I still eat some dairy because it's tasty and convenient, but defiantly skin issues and clogged nostrils remind me it's not an ideal food. I also seem to gain weight easily on dairy fats.
 

gretchen

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Yves said:
gretchen said:
I was dairy free off and on for years and just don't think I could do it again. Serotonin is an ongoing problem for me though, and at times I have thought I felt better off dairy, or on it. I'm often not able to really decide.

I've been in the same boat as well. I think it comes down to the benefits of calcium + saturated fats vs the allergenic and tryptophan problem with dairy. If you can get your calcium from other sources like calcium fortified OJ or eggshell or supplements (and to make sure your vit d levels are up to par) you may find dairy is unnecessary. I still eat some dairy because it's tasty and convenient, but defiantly skin issues and clogged nostrils remind me it's not an ideal food. I also seem to gain weight easily on dairy fats.

I may have to look in to the eggshell option.
 
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Yves said:
The initial headache may have also been due to a reduction in serotonin. My understanding is that serotonin intially helps migraines because it vasocontricts, so that a sudden decrease in serotonin could actually trigger a migraine.

This possibly explains why I get mad headaches whenever I take a stab at the Buteyko method. Good to know.
 

kettlebell

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gretchen said:
Yves said:
gretchen said:
I was dairy free off and on for years and just don't think I could do it again. Serotonin is an ongoing problem for me though, and at times I have thought I felt better off dairy, or on it. I'm often not able to really decide.

I've been in the same boat as well. I think it comes down to the benefits of calcium + saturated fats vs the allergenic and tryptophan problem with dairy. If you can get your calcium from other sources like calcium fortified OJ or eggshell or supplements (and to make sure your vit d levels are up to par) you may find dairy is unnecessary. I still eat some dairy because it's tasty and convenient, but defiantly skin issues and clogged nostrils remind me it's not an ideal food. I also seem to gain weight easily on dairy fats.

I may have to look in to the eggshell option.

Another option is to go to a homebrew (Beer wine) shop and buy some precipitated chalk (Pure Calcium Carbonate). Its added to wines to lower acidity.
 

Dean

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I'm also very interested in the question of "how low can you go" on the tryptophan intake without undermining yourself on calcium. I'd rather keep supplementation to a minimum, so at this point, I'd like to make some dairy work, perhaps a liter of milk a day and make up the rest in gelatin and potato juice.

Is the consensus belief, however, that Dr. Peat believes anything less than two liters of milk (or the equivalent in cheese,etc.) would require calcium supplementation?
 
J

j.

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Dean said:
Is the consensus belief, however, that Dr. Peat believes anything less than two liters of milk (or the equivalent in cheese,etc.) would require calcium supplementation?

I don't know, but if you have 1 liter of milk but also have cheese probably not.
 
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