I really DO have a chemical imbalance in my Brain ;)

I’ve been doing some research on natural remedies for Fibro symptoms and have found some out some things that are interesting.  If I understand what I’ve read:

Serotonin is a chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. In people with Fibro, the brain doesn’t use serotonin properly, even if there is plenty available.  You can’t just “take more serotinin”, you need tryptophan to help process it (sort of like Vitamin D and calcium).  Serotonin also works with melatonin.

So many of my Fibro sypmtoms can be traced back to serotonin. (muscle pain, hot flashes, insomnia, Fibro fog, depression).

Based on what I’ve read, I’m going to begin eating foods with high levels of tryptophan along with foods rich in carbohydrates. I’m going to take a B6 supplement, and make sure I spend at least an hour a day in the sunlight.

Here is some information I copied from the internet to help you understand how I’ve reached this decision.  I have also provided the links below. 

If anyone has tried this, please let me know how it worked for you!!

http://women.webmd.com/pharmacist-11/natural-sleep-remedies?page=2

 

Tryptophan is a precursor in the synthesis of serotonin in the brain. That means it’s a biochemical substance that is necessary for the formation of the more stable serotonin.

During the late ’60s and early ’70s, sleep studies suggested that the neurotransmitter serotonin may play a role in sleep induction. Later on, research in animals showed that destruction of parts of the brain that housed nerve cells containing serotonin could produce total insomnia. Partial damage to these areas of the brain caused variable decreases in sleep. The percentage of destruction of these particular nerve cells correlated with the amount of slow-wave sleep.

Because tryptophan is present in milk and warm milk helps some people feel drowsy, tryptophan became a much sought-after item for the treatment of insomnia at natural food stores. Yet some people who took tryptophan as a natural supplement developed a syndrome with features of a disease called scleroderma. Those features included skin tightening, pain in the joints, muscle aches, and weakness. These people also developed anxiety, depression, and difficulty learning. Some people died. Scientists later believed the deaths were the result of taking the amino acid tryptophan. Not everyone who took tryptophan, however, experienced these side effects. In addition, not everyone who took tryptophan received help for insomnia.

The influence of tryptophan on sleep continues to be studied in major sleep laboratories across the nation. While this amino acid is not available as a natural dietary supplement or sleep remedy, you can easily include tryptophan in your diet through food sources such as turkey, cheese, nuts, beans, eggs, and milk. You can also boost serotonin levels in the brain — helping you to feel calm and sleepy — by eating foods rich in carbohydrates.

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/treatingfmscfs/a/serotonin.htm

1. What is serotonin?

Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Although serotonin is manufactured in the brain, where it performs its primary functions, some 90% of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets.

2. How is serotonin made?

Serotonin is made via a unique biochemical conversion process. It begins with tryptophan, a building block to proteins. Cells that make serotonin use tryptophan hydroxylase, a chemical reactor which, when combined with tryptophan, forms 5-hydroxytryptamine, otherwise known as serotonin.

3. What role does serotonin play in our health?

As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. Because of the widespread distribution of its cells, it is believed to influence a variety of psychological and other body functions. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin. This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior.

In terms of our body function, serotonin can also affect the functioning of our cardiovascular system, muscles, and various elements in the endocrine system.

http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin

5. Can diet influence our supply of serotonin?

It can, but in a roundabout way. Unlike calcium-rich foods, which can directly increase your blood levels of this mineral, there are no foods that can directly increase your body’s supply of serotonin. That said, there are foods and some nutrients that can increase levels of tryptophan, the amino acid from which serotonin is made.

Protein-rich foods, such as meat or chicken, contain high levels of tryptophans. Tryptophan appears in dairy foods, nuts, and fowl. Ironically, however, levels of both tryptophan and serotonin drop after eating a meal packed with protein. Why? According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, when you eat a high-protein meal, you “flood the blood with both tryptophan and its competing amino acids,” all fighting for entry into the brain. That means only a small amount of tryptophan gets through — and serotonin levels don’t rise.

But eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, and your body triggers a release of insulin. This, Somer says, causes any amino acids in the blood to be absorbed into the body — but not the brain. Except for, you guessed it — tryptophan! It remains in the bloodstream at high levels following a carbohydrate meal, which means it can freely enter the brain and cause serotonin levels to rise, she says.

What can also help: Getting an adequate supply of vitamin B-6, which can influence the rate at which tryptophan is converted to serotonin.

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3 comments

  1. Great article, Very informative. Easy to understand wonderful explanation of how serotonin works & the use of tryptophan in making serotonin & how carbohydrates aid in absorption of trypytophans. , thanks so much.

  2. Thank you for this well-written explanation. However, I would like to point out that tryptophan is indeed available over the counter again (in larger health food stores and online, after it was proven that the deaths connected to tryptophan supplements came from a tainted batch made by one company in Japan. Well, that’s the shortened version of why L-tryp was banned in 1989 (although still available by prescription, and still OTC in many other countries) and let back in in 2002 (I think). Many people find relief from insmonia and depression using it at 500-1,000mg/dose, both at night and during the day.

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