Do you know how it feels when you fall asleep only to wake up an hour later?
A 41-year-old man, who used to suffer from insomnia (sleeplessness) for years on end, says it feels awful!
He would fall asleep only to wake up an hour later and could not fall asleep again until the morning.
He was constantly worse for wear, and this condition actually significantly affected his capabilities and life in general. “Let me assure you, the following day will not be ”a walk in the park” for you. As a matter of fact, you feel like you have been hit by a freight train,” says this man.
When he turned 28, he consulted his primary care physician, and he suggested that he should take anti-depressants.
He took this advice from his doctor, but these medications only caused some side- effects, such as dry mouth and digestion problems. After about a week of these adverse effects, the man simply stopped taking them.
As an alternative, he visited a place he had accidently heard about. This place offered extensive evaluation going down the natural route rather than down the pharmaceutical route.
He made an appointment and explained his issue and the symptoms. Then, he learned that his depression and sleeplessness were interconnected and had the same cause: his brain was not producing enough serotonin.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP) is a monoamine neurotransmitter responsible for sleep, muscle contraction, good mood, etc. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, blood platelets, and the central nervous system of animals, including humans. Its chemical formula is C10H12N2O.
Serotonin is a chemical messenger responsible for sleep, muscle contraction, good mood, etc., therefore, its deficiency will cause depression, sleeplessness, sadness, achy legs and other symptoms.
His natural doctor also explained to him that anti-depressants prevent the re-uptake of serotonin between the synapses in the brain, and thereof bring forth some serious side effects.
At the same time, this man also learned about 5-HTP, which is a precursor to serotonin and a natural product without side effects for the vast majority of people. Namely, when consumed, 5-HTP will be converted into serotonin in the body. The majority of people can absorb enough tryptophan from food sources, but there are others who need much more of it in order to feel well.
A couple of days after the first time he took 5-HTP, this man had a good night’s sleep. The next morning, he awoke refreshed, relaxed and without pain in the legs. His issue was finally gone as if by magic!
Today, after 14 years, this man is still taking 5-HTP on a regular basis, and he enjoys his life to the fullest! “The quality of my life thanks to 5-HTP is so much better than without it,” says he.
The food-mood connection
The relationship between tryptophan and serotonin is part of what’s commonly considered the food-mood connection.
Carbs come in handy
- Carbs cause the body to release more insulin, which promotes amino acid absorption and leaves tryptophan in the blood.
- If you mix high-tryptophan foods with carbs, you might get a serotonin boost.
Serotonin is not found in foods, but tryptophan is. Foods high in protein, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 all tend to contain large amounts of the amino acid. Unfortunately, though, boosting your serotonin levels isn’t as simple as eating a “high tryptophan diet.”
The tryptophan you find in food has to compete with other amino acids to be absorbed into the brain, so it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on your serotonin levels. This differs from tryptophan supplements, which contain purified tryptophan and do have an effect on serotonin levels.
You can also try these 7 foods to boost your serotonin:
The protein in eggs can significantly boost your blood plasma levels of tryptophan, according to recent research.
For dinner, try making a simple baked egg, which you can easily combine or cook with leftovers.
Or get fancy with spinach-and-mushroom frittata.
Pro tip for you: don’t leave out the yolks!
They’re extremely rich in both tryptophan and tyrosine, which are major contributors to the antioxidant properties of eggs.