There are enormous dangers and side
effects with Prozac and the SSRIs. I do not recommend their use. L-tryptophan,
though, is different. I think L-tryptophan is an amazing amino acid, with many
uses. Because of one tainted batch of imported L-tryptophan, the FDA banned its
sale for humans in the U.S. several decades ago, just a Prozac was primed for the
marketplace. L-tryptophan is safe, healthy, and available.
from Ronald G. Sturtz,
Health Freedom News
I still recall my nutrition class in
junior high school where we were first shown the food pyramid, and like the
ancient stone pyramids baking in the Sun near Giza, it had an aura of unshakable
permanence. Of course, we now have a variety of food pyramids presented to us by
researchers and professors battling it out in the halls of universities. Some
researchers have turned the pyramid on its head, and others have left out levels
altogether. One thing they all leave out, because, after all, food pyramids are
intended for junior high-school students, is the chemistry behind their
recommended choices of food. This is unfortunate because this is where you begin
to find permanence, the bedrock of nutrition understanding. Among the unvarying
food factors that we all need to learn about, for example, is the class of
chemicals called amino acids. As important as amino acids have been since
ancient times, we find that one is especially relevant to our lives today.
Like other amino acids, L-Tryptophan is one of the building blocks of protein,
but unlike some amino acids, L-Tryptophan is considered essential because the
body cannot manufacture its own. L-Tryptophan plays many roles in animals and
humans alike, but perhaps most importantly, it is an essential precursor to a
number of neurotransmitters in the brain. As such, L-Tryptophan is the only
substance normally found in the diet that can be converted into serotonin. Since
serotonin, in turn, is converted in the brain into melatonin, L-Tryptophan
clearly plays a role in balancing mood and sleep patterns.
Originally developed to treat depression in humans, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and
other anti-depressants are now being prescribed for a much wider variety of
disorders, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, migraine headaches,
sleep disturbances, weight loss, PMS, obesity, and back pain. And the usage of
these drugs in animal health-care is growing dramatically as well, thanks to
lots of advertising.
All of these drugs work along the same principle. Selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors, or SSRI's as they are known, work by artificially increasing the
level of serotonin in the synapse between nerves ... thereby greatly prolonging
the effect of serotonin. It is a fact, however, that serotonin can be elevated
in the way nature intended, namely, by replenishing serotonin's only dietary
building block, L-Tryptophan, in the diet. Although L-Tryptophan is the least
abundant amino acid in foods, the good news is that serotonin levels can be
increased by supplemental L-Tryptophan.
While animal studies are commonly used to predict the benefits of a new drug or
nutrient to humans, human studies also help to point the way to improved
treatments in animals. In studies done with humans on two continents by Lehman,
Braverman, and Pfeiffer, depressed patients were found to have very
significantly lower plasma levels of L-Tryptophan than normal controls. By way
of contrast, changes in thirty other amino acids were not significant. To list
just a few potential applications, human studies have also demonstrated L-Tryptophan's
benefits in treating Down's syndrome and aggressive behavior. In parallel to
human studies, a survey of horse owners reported that horses fed soy meal, which
has nearly five times the level of L-Tryptophan as oats, are less aggressive
than those horses fed oats.
One question remains, how does L-Tryptophan compare with SSRI's in treating
clinical conditions? A study done by a team of Swiss and German psychiatric
researchers comparing the L-Tryptophan metabolite, 5-HTP, with the SSRI,
Fluvoxamine, found that depression was alleviated more predictably with 5-HTP,
and while side effects are commonly reported for Fluvoxamine, the Physician's
Desk Reference does not list any for 5-HTP. The researchers went on to conclude
that the L-Tryptophan metabolite, 5HTP, actually treats a broader range of
symptoms than the drug, symptoms known as "serotonin deficiency
syndrome," which may manifest as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness,
aggression, nervousness, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and migraines ... many
of the same symptoms that are being treated today in humans and animals alike
with the SSRI drugs.
While both L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are building blocks for serotonin, they are
far from identical in their action. The fact is that L-Tryptophan, rather than 5-HTP, is the essential amino acid that plays a role in structural proteins and
enzymes found throughout the body. L-Tryptophan, for example, is a precursor to
the vitamin, niacin, and can be used in the treatment of pellagra. 5-HTP cannot
perform this function. Furthermore, although 5HTP, like L-tryptophan, can
promote the production of serotonin, 5-HTP bypasses an important rate-limiting
step in the production of serotonin. This means that once 5HTP is given orally,
the body has very little control over the level of serotonin it produces. Your
body must, however, carefully regulate its biochemicals, and by side-stepping
your body's control system, you run more risk of over-dosing or under-dosing.
Supplemental L-Tryptophan, on the other hand, allows the body to control
serotonin levels and correct deficiencies of serotonin as needed. But whether or
not deficiency symptoms exist, L-Tryptophan is clearly essential, and no other
amino acid, herb, vitamin, or mineral can replace it.
Disclaimer: Any health related information on this site is for educational purposes only. None of the information is to be construed as medical advice. Before applying any therapy or use of herbs, you may want to seek advice from your health care professional. This information should not be interpreted as a substitute for physician evaluation or treatment by a health care professional, and is not intended to provide or confirm a diagnosis.
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