In the scientific publication, “Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis.” (2016) in the 8th volume and 56th issue of Nutrients, authors Jenkins, Nguyen, Polglaze and Bertrand explain how the amino acids Tryptophan and Serotonin affect depression, anxiety, sleep, memory and more through the gut-brain axis. This is a summary and interpretation of their findings.
The direct link between the intestines (gut) and the brain through the vagus nerve and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) is a hot topic in scientific circles right now. The idea that the food we eat and the microbes that live in our gut may actually impact our mood, behavior and social interactions is like the proverbial caveman’s discovery of fire! We can now say that the link exists between the gut and brain, flowing both ways with one affecting the other and vice-versa.
TRYPTOPHAN & SEROTONIN
It has long been known that the neurotransmitter, serotonin, is involved in the “happy” mood or feeling that we experience. This is why low serotonin levels in the brain result in depression and so much more. Well, we don’t get serotonin from simply eating it. Our bodies have to make it. The amino acid, tryptophan, is actually the starting molecule for making serotonin. It is an amino acid that our body must have in order to make proteins in our cells.
Kenda Rigdon, Ph.D. Nutrition Sciences Research Associate, Wife, Mother of 3 and Enthusiast for all things Microbiome and gut related!
Check out this blog in the April, 2018 edition of the Birmingham Metro magazine: b-metro.com/b-yourself-kenda-rigdon/34337/
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