Brain serotonin content: physiological regulation by plasma neutral amino acids.

@article{Fernstrom1972BrainSC,
  title={Brain serotonin content: physiological regulation by plasma neutral amino acids.},
  author={John D. Fernstrom and Richard J. Wurtman},
  journal={Science},
  year={1972},
  volume={178 4059},
  pages={
          414-6
        }
}
When plasma tryptophan is elevated by the injection of tryptophan or insulin, or by the consumption of carbohydrates, brain tryptophan and serotonin also rise; however, when even larger elevations of plasma tryptophan are produced by the ingestion of protein-containing diets, brain tryptophan and serotonin do not change. The main determinant of brain tryptophan and serotonin concentrations does not appear to be plasma tryptophan alone, but the ratio of this amino acid to other plasma neutral… 

Figures from this paper

Dietary effects on brain serotonin synthesis: relationship to appetite regulation.
  • J. Fernstrom
  • Biology, Chemistry
    The American journal of clinical nutrition
  • 1985
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Evidence that the synthesis of serotonin in the brain depends directly on the amount of tryptophan available to it from the circulation is summarized and data are reviewed that attempt to show that appetite for protein and/or carbohydrates is dependent on the relationship between food intake, plasma amino acid pattern, brain tryptophile uptake, and serotonin synthesis.
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The diabetic rat's inability to experience normal carbohydrate-induced increments in brain serotonin suggests that brain functions, normally dependent on such neurochemical signals, may be abnormal.
Recent Research on the Behavioral Effects of Tryptophan and Carbohydrate
  • B. Spring
  • Biology, Psychology
    Nutrition and health
  • 1984
TLDR
Research on human subjects suggests that ingesting tryptophan or carbohydrate can reduce subjective alertness and possibly influence some aspects of objective performance, although other mechanisms may operate and must be ruled out before the mechanism is certain.
The composition of lunch determines afternoon plasma tryptophan ratios in humans
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It is shown that Protein-rich meals, when consumed in the morning after an overnight fast, have been shown to decrease the plasma tryptophan ratio, while carbohydrate- rich meals have the opposite effect, and these meals have similar effects when consumed for lunch, even if they are preceded by a small breakfast meal.
Large neutral amino acids: dietary effects on brain neurochemistry and function
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The thoughtful development and application of dietary proteins and LNAA mixtures may produce treatments with predictable and useful functional effects of physical performance, suggesting that BCAA may fail to increase performance because dopamine is reduced.
Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios.
TLDR
Whether carbohydrate-rich or protein-rich breakfasts, such as those Americans normally eat, produce substantial differences in the plasma tryptophan-LNAA ratio and in the corresponding ratio for tyrosine, the precursor of brain dopamine and norepinephrine is determined.
Extracellular Hypothalamic Serotonin and Plasma Amino Acids in Response to Sequential Carbohydrate and Protein Meals
TLDR
The lack of expected changes to a second meal addresses again the hypothesis of alternate appetites for carbohydrates and proteins driven by serotonin changes.
The treatment of obesity by carbohydrate deprivation suppresses plasma tryptophan and its ratio to other large neutral amino acids
We measured plasma concentrations of tryptophan (Trp) and the other large neutral amino acids (LNAA) in 6 control and 7 obese subjects before and after they consumed a low-carbohydrate
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