Research Roundup on Tryptohan, GABA, and Phenylalanine


Probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium directly convert tryptophan into serotonin, “our sunshine neurotransmitter” according to Julia Ross. The majority of serotonin is produced in our gut, not our brain. However alterations in gut microbes through inflammation, infection, and stress, can adversely affect the production of serotonin that circulates through the body and influences brain health, leading to depression. Tryptophan Metabolism: A Link Between the Gut Microbiota and Brain; Kan Gao et al, Advances in Nutrition; vol. 11, issue 3, May 2020, pp709-723


GABA deficiency is involved in anxiety and depression. It also regulates blood pressure and heart rate, and in part controls perceptions of pain. It also controls growth hormone secretion. It appears that certain bacteria work as “psychobiotics” in that they influence the central nervous system by producing neurotransmitters, including GABA. Bifidobacteria are especially linked to GABA production, particularly B. adolescentis. Bifidobacterium adolescentis as a key member of the human gut microbiota in the production of GABA; Sabrina Duranti et al; scientific reports, 24 August 2020,


An increase in dietary protein combined with progressive resistance training helps the elderly improve muscle mass and functional performance. The effects of nutrition on the inflammatory pathways represent a rational approach for an effective analgesic intervention as an increase in dietary protein can lead to a reduction in inflammation. However, supplementing with D-phenylalanine has also proven useful to increase endorphin and manage pain. “In clinical experience it has been observed that pain relief occurs within ten minutes after the ingestion of as little as 500 mg of DPA, with a usual dose of 500-2,000 mg of d-phenylalanine, two to four times a day, in patients with persistent pain. Evidence-Based Role of Nutrients and Antioxidants for Chronic Pain Management in Musculoskeletal Frailty and Sarcopenia in Aging; Simone Perna, et al; Geriatrics 2020, 5(1), 16, 6 March 2020

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