this is a issue i have raised before but i'm raising it again due to a recent article i read in a health magazine. i have read previous to this article, and am convinced from personal experience, that the best way to raise serotonin levels through diet (assuming there is sufficient micro-nutrient co-factor intake) is through a high carb diet with sufficient protein to provide the necessary precursor of L-tryptophan
.the effect of the high carb factor of the diet causes an insulin response which clears the amino acids which compete with L-tryptophan to pass over the blood brain barrier out of the blood stream, meaning only L-tryptophan is left and it then passes over without competetion. this is why those who are depressed often comfort eat through the consumption of refined carbs which have a marked effect on insulin. a diet TOO high in protein hinders this insulin reponse and thus favours L-tyrosine and other amino acids, raising noradrenaline and dopamine levels instead.
different people are at different ends of the scale in regards to whether they have a near exclusive serotonin deficiency (10% of sufferers), a mixture of serotonin and noradrenaline deficiency to different extents for each (80% of sufferers), or a near exclusive noradrenaline deficiency (10% of sufferers). this is why i am not too fond of the term depression- i think it is too vague and doesn't address the individual differences in regards to deficiencies in different neurotranmitters in the brain. a better name would be specific or mixed neurotanmitter deficiency syndrome, or something like that anyway!
i guess for the people who are more affected by a lack of noradrenaline then the favouring of L-tyrosine to pass the blood brain barrier is favourable but i am sure that my problem lies in a lack or serotonin. experience has shown when i base my diet around whole grain foods i feel better then when i increase my protein levels too high- one example of this was when i over did the protein shakes last summer when doing lots of weight training and felt anxious and aggressive and emotionally unstable.
anyway, the article i read basically said that the best ratio for beating depression is one of high protein: low carbohydrate. it says that new research has shown that this diet stabalises blood sugar levels which results in the elevation of mood. it didn't state what the research was exactly which has left me a bit sceptical about the whole idea. okay, a drop in blood sugar levels does result in a feeling of depression and lethargy but i still believe from experience that a high carb diet with ENOUGH protein is the best for raising serotonin levels. an equally effective way to stabalise blood sugar levels is through the consumption of high fibre low GI carb food, eg. lentils, with a moderate amount of protein and a low to moderate amount of fat (again notice the fact there is a MODERATE anount of protein), eg. a meal of lentils and brown rice with turkey breast and a side salad dressed with olive oil.
i was wondering if anyone has heard of this "new research" and also what other's experiences are in regards to ratios of carbs to protein on their own particular moods???