The Best Way to Boost Serotonin

The Best Way to Boost Serotonin
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The secret to naturally boosting serotonin levels in the brain may include eating foods such as pumpkin seeds, with a high tryptophan-to-total protein ratio. This may help explain why studies show that those eating plant-based diets have superior mood states.

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We can choose carbohydrate-rich plant foods over animal foods to boost tryptophan levels, but ideally, it would be more than just carbs. Since the main determinant of brain serotonin concentrations appears to be the ratio of tryptophan with others that compete with it for uptake into the brain, to maximize the mood-elevating effects of diet, one would ideally choose a snack with a high tryptophan-to-total protein ratio—which would mean primarily seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin.

“Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study.” So, what protein source did they use? Butternut squash seeds, because of their high tryptophan-to-protein ratio, as part of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of people suffering from social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder. And, they found significant improvement in multiple objective measures of anxiety in those eating the squash seed bars.

Before studies like this one, “a change in the composition of intact dietary protein was not seen as a possible option for the treatment of common psychological disorders associated with low serotonin levels.” But, that’s because they were using animal proteins (which can makes things worse), not plants.

If this is true, then those eating vegetarian should be golden. And, indeed, this was the reasoning used to explain why “Global mood…was significantly better in the ‘vegetarian’ than in the ‘mixed’ diet group.” It’s all about carbohydrates, and a huge tryptophan-to-protein ratio. “The vegetarian group was instructed to avoid meat, fish, and poultry and to restrict intake of milk, milk products and eggs to a minimum…” And, within three weeks, the vegetarian diet groups had a significantly improved global mood.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

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Images thanks to Evan-Amos via Wikimedia

We can choose carbohydrate-rich plant foods over animal foods to boost tryptophan levels, but ideally, it would be more than just carbs. Since the main determinant of brain serotonin concentrations appears to be the ratio of tryptophan with others that compete with it for uptake into the brain, to maximize the mood-elevating effects of diet, one would ideally choose a snack with a high tryptophan-to-total protein ratio—which would mean primarily seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin.

“Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study.” So, what protein source did they use? Butternut squash seeds, because of their high tryptophan-to-protein ratio, as part of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of people suffering from social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder. And, they found significant improvement in multiple objective measures of anxiety in those eating the squash seed bars.

Before studies like this one, “a change in the composition of intact dietary protein was not seen as a possible option for the treatment of common psychological disorders associated with low serotonin levels.” But, that’s because they were using animal proteins (which can makes things worse), not plants.

If this is true, then those eating vegetarian should be golden. And, indeed, this was the reasoning used to explain why “Global mood…was significantly better in the ‘vegetarian’ than in the ‘mixed’ diet group.” It’s all about carbohydrates, and a huge tryptophan-to-protein ratio. “The vegetarian group was instructed to avoid meat, fish, and poultry and to restrict intake of milk, milk products and eggs to a minimum…” And, within three weeks, the vegetarian diet groups had a significantly improved global mood.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Evan-Amos via Wikimedia

Doctor's Note

This is the final video of a four-part series (mentioned in Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death) on natural ways to boost serotonin in the brain. In Human Neurotransmitters in Plants, we saw that plants themselves can contain serotonin. The Wrong Way to Boost Serotonin was a cautionary tale about tryptophan supplements. And, A Better Way to Boost Serotonin covered the role carbs can play in boosting tryptophan transport into the brain. The findings of better mood scores in those eating vegetarian is consistent with both cross-sectional studies (see Plant-Based Diet & Mood) and interventional studies (see Improving Mood Through Diet), which I’ve covered previously. The reason I report more data on nuts than seeds is a function of the greater access of researchers to funding on nuts (thanks to producer groups). From what little data we have, though, I have a feeling it’s like the soy versus other beans story (see Soy Worth a Hill of Beans). If I had to guess, I’d bet that, in general, seeds may be even healthier than nuts. And, since I encourage daily nut consumption, I’d add seeds to that recommendation as well. If only researchers had more seed money! :)

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: How To Boost Serotonin NaturallyTop 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year, Saffron vs. Prozac for Depression, and Treating Parkinson’s Disease With Diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

73 responses to “The Best Way to Boost Serotonin

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  1. This is the final video of a four-part series (mentioned in Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death) on natural ways to boost serotonin in the brain. Wednesday’s video-of-the-day Human Neurotransmitters in Plants noted that plants themselves can contain serotonin. Thursday’s The Wrong Way to Boost Serotonin was a cautionary tale about tryptophan supplements and Friday’s A Better Way to Boost Serotonin covered the role carbs can play in boosting tryptophan transport into the brain. The findings of better mood scores in those eating vegetarian is consistent with both cross-sectional and interventional findings I’ve reported previously. The reason I report more data on nuts than seeds is a function of the greater access of researchers to funding on nuts (thanks to producer groups). From what little data we have, though, I have a feeling it’s like the soy versus other beans story. If I had to guess, I’d bet in general seeds may be even healthier than nuts, and since I encourage daily nut consumption, I’d add seeds to that recommendation as well. If only researchers had more seed money! :)

    1.  This is just on of the reasons why I wonder — struggle with — why the No-fat doctors continue to insist that fat is bad. It really boggles my mind. In my opinion, at best, they are derelict in recommending no fat. I also find it morally incomprehensible, especially since I suffered from following that recommendation for years. I just hope I don’t pay any more than I already have in the future!
      Thanks for posting about the benefits of good fats in our diets.

      1. I’m just curious. What side effects did you have from the low fat diet? I personally like Dr. Mcdougall but I haven’t eliminated the fat as he recommends. I still use small amounts of oil in some of my cooking, enjoy dark chocolate and use nuts and seeds in cooking.

          1. Yeah but you still haven’t answered mt question. I’m assuming you tried going without added oils and nuts. My reason is taste, really, not side effects. So I’m curious what people experience without the fat.

            1. I was on the McDougall diet strictly for about 8 years.  What I experienced after that time of NO nuts or seeds and NO oils was a problem with my joints, especially my knees and shoulders.  However, I was also NOT eating many raw foods other than fruit.  I believe if I had been eating daily green salads, I may not have experienced the problems I did.  My shoulder pain was diagnosed as bursitis and my knee pain arthritis.  After doing some research, I decided since both conditions could be helped by adding enzymes to my diet, I decided to eat primarily raw foods, including raw fruit and vegetable juices.  In a period of about 2 months my shoulder pain was completely gone.  The knees took about 6 months.  I have continued this way of eating now 14 years and at the age of 62 have no aches or pains at all.

            2. Ok, I’ll bite.  Everyone is different and many seem to do very well on the “very low fat” diets.  I however had dramatically increased dandruff, super dry skin, chronic itching all over, strange skin rashes that would not heal, much increased joint pain, and steadily worsening sinus allergies.  After adding about 1 oz raw seeds/nuts plus 200 mg of DHA daily (total fat intake around 20%) all those symptoms reversed and gradually resolved.  Now, after 2 1/2 years on the higher but still low fat diet, I am healthier all around than ever.

              Taste adapts and is very “trainable”.  I love the food eating McDougall style and I love it eating Fuhrman style.

              1. Forgot to mention I was 100% McDougall’s “strictest” version but I did eat a ton of greens and other veg. Nearly as much as I do w/ Fuhrman’s approach, just no seeds/nuts and grains and potatoes and sweet potatoes instead of beans

            1. The problem isn’t fats… it is Omega-6 fats. These are inflammatory and contribute to many diseases. Omega-6 is in most foods, veggies included. So stop using ADDED omega-6 fats and increase Omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation. There are both animal and vegetarian sources for Omega-3. They are not used for cooking or flavoring.

      2.  Strix: If you look at the well-referenced Wikipedia article on the ‘Okinawa
        diet’ you will see that ‘their overall traditional diet would be considered a
        very-high-carbohydrate by modern standards, with carbohydrates, protein, and fat
        providing 85%, 9% and 6% of total calories respectively.’ Now, this 6% is
        actually lower than what is generally recommended by what you wrongfully call
        the ‘no-fat doctors’. And this same Okinawa diet ( as you yourself
        remark elsewhere on this site) is associated with longevity and good health, is
        it not? So, how is this to be explained?     And similarly with the
        Tarahumara Indians. Here I quote an individual that you doubtless consider so
        villainous in his infamy that I will not increase your sufferings by
        even mentioning his name: ‘The Tarahumara Indians, consume a diet that is around
        10% protein, 10% fat and 80% carb, with 90% of their calories coming from corn
        and beans (19% from beans, and 71% from corn), and are renowned the world over
        for their endurance running and virtually non existent heart disease.

      3.    Strix: If you look at the well-referenced Wikipedia article on the ‘Okinawa
        diet’ you will see that ‘their overall traditional diet would be considered
        a very-high-carbohydrate by modern standards, with carbohydrates, protein,
        and fat providing 85%, 9% and 6% of total calories respectively.’ Now, this
        6% is actually lower than what is generally recommended by what you
        wrongfully call the ‘no-fat doctors’. And this same Okinawa diet ( as you
        yourself remark elsewhere on this site) is associated with longevity and
        good health, is it not? So, how is this to be explained?     And similarly
        with the Tarahumara Indians. Here I quote an individual that you doubtless
        consider so villainous in his infamy that I will not increase your
        sufferings by even mentioning his name: ‘The Tarahumara Indians, consume a
        diet that is around 10% protein, 10% fat and 80% carb, with 90% of their
        calories coming from corn and beans (19% from beans, and 71% from corn), and
        are renowned the world over for their endurance running and virtually non
        existent heart disease. ‘ And how about

        giving a direct reply to April Lille’s question: ‘What side effects did you
        have from the

        low fat diet?’.

    2. So a great mood-enhancing breakfast could be a combination af seeds, nuts and fruit – and the best part – it tastes delicious!

    3.  I have concluded a 7-day experiment of adding a daily 50 grams of (ground)
      pumpkin seeds to my food so as to obtain  250 mg of tryptophan. (Mentioned in my comments much lower in this page.) Contrary to my
      expectations, it was a total failure. There was no improvement to my normally
      good mood; in fact, it seems to have had a somewhat depressing effect. (For
      the benefit of anyone who might leap to an easy conclusion, no, it is not the
      case that my body is so flooded from competing amino acids from animal foods
      that the 250 mg of tryptophan never had a chance. I have eaten a starch-based
      whole foods diet without animal source foods for years.) Now, I cannot be the
      only person who reads this site who has done a similar tryptophan experiment
      with seeds of some sort or another. The rest of you : what were your
      results?

      1. U were already in a good mood u said. So, what more do u want or expect. They are not amphetamines. :) I think the idea was that they would elevate the mood of people not feeling so good and you didn’t need that. Good for you. :)

        1. Typical tryptophan dosage via supplements for mood change is more like 2000 mg twice per day and maybe  3rd dose at bedtime…

      2. I’m giving this a go for 30 days.

        Should I space it out at different times during the day, or might as well intake it at one occasion?

      3. I haven’t tried the pumpkin seeds but I have been taking B vitamins, 5-HTP and L-Theanine for 5 days and I have seen major improvements in my mood and my irritable bowel syndrome which I have suffered from since I was really young. Not cured yet but every morning I wake up feeling better than the day before so something must be working. I think it is mostly the 5-HTP.

      1. I don’t know if there is any specific research on Chia and Sesame seeds specifically for Serotonin, but Dr. Greger sure recommends nuts and seeds in general for health. So I don’t see any harm in it.
        You might like these videos about the benefits of nuts and seeds:
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-are-better-chia-seeds-or-flax-seeds/
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/sesame-seeds-for-knee-osteoarthritis/

        Kelly
        Nutritionfacts.org Moderator

    4. Dear Dr Greger,

      I love all your stuff, but considering there is such rigorous test of research ability in your hiring policies, I am disappointed that you would present a study which has a sample size of n=7. As you know, this is completely underpowered so there is a strong statistical possibility of obtaining ‘false positive’s – i.e. it is impossible to tell whether differences between the intervention and control group are due to chance or due to the differences in diet. You have a responsibility as an expert to present research responsibly, as people who are not so lucky to be research-literate will take what you say at face value. I hope you don’t become so driven by your very valid, well supported belief in plant-based diets that you begin selectively criticising only studies which favour animal consumption.

      Best wishes,

      Hannah

  2. I doubt that seeds are healthier than nuts considering the unfavorable omega 6/3 ratio of most seeds- except for flax seeds, and the favorable ratio for walnuts.

      1. 1) About the omega-6 : omega-3 ratio in anything, there is
        no need to engage in idle speculation, repeat hearsay etc etc. Either directly
        consult USDA
        National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference – Release 24 (USDA sr24) 
        online, or use tools which incorporate its database, such as Cron-o-meter (there
        is both a downloadable and a web version) , or http://nutritiondata.self.com or
        various other online sites. Enter 100 grams of something and then see what the
        inter-ratio of the fats are. This operation does not take any intelligence,
        but does require a little will-power.

        2) The fact is that with these already mentioned exceptions that come to
        mind right away — flax, chia, walnuts — well-known seeds and nuts both generally
        all have very bad ratios: much too much omega-6. Walnuts have a ratio that is
        just barely good, but consider: are walnuts all that you are going to be eating
        in a day? What about the ratio in the other foods? Total context, not foods
        considered in isolation.

        3) As noted elsewhere on this page,
        persons following Gregerian recommendations will be taking algae or yeast
        derived longchain omega-3 (DHA), and such persons, presumably — is this so Dr
        G? — need not concern themselves with the shortchain omega-3 (ALA) directly
        available in plants. (There is another school of thought about how much short
        –> longchain conversion takes place and the need/wisdom or not for longchain
        supplementation but that is another matter.)

        4) Paulc: Elsewhere on this page you
        ‘translate’ ‘hoi-polloi’ as ‘the people’. Well, literally yes, but it would have
        been odd to use it in that sense. And in fact , in English it is usually used in
        a connotative sense; so, my saying ‘us hoi-polloi’ would be like saying ‘us
        plebs’, ‘us proles’, ‘us laymen’ or something of that sort. 

        1.  What are you trying to prove here? Most non nut plant foods have adequate omega 3/6 ratios. My conclusion to the fact that seeds are more nutrient dense then nuts comes from the evidence provided by Jeff Novick showing vitamin and mineral content per 100 grams of each nut/seed.

          1. It is possible there is mutual misunderstanding going on.
            First, although I was replying to your post, Toxins, what I wrote was to both
            you and Paulc. Second, all that I meant, in short, was
            that if one is going the ALA route (as I do), then use of flaxseed or chia —
            not walnuts — is probably the way to make for a good omega-6/3 balance
            .           At length, I restate and rephrase what I meant, like so:
                    In general both seeds and nuts have bad omega 6/3 balances, the
            notable exceptions being chia and flax among the seeds, and walnuts among the
            nuts. But in the big picture of the entire diet, the just barely acceptable
            omega 6/3 balance found in walnuts is not going to be of any use in the context
            of , say, what I ate yesterday (food names and values from USDA sr24 via
            Cron-o-meter — and ‘raw’ means the item was weighed in that state, not that I
            necessarily ate it that way): 
            item                                                                                  
            weight     kcal Kiwifruit, green,
            raw                                                                75g      
            45.8Peppers, sweet, red,
            raw                                                       50g    
             15.5Cabbage, red,
            raw                                                                  50g     
            15.5Broccoli,
            raw                                                                           
            100g     34.0Tomato products, canned, paste, without salt added         
            75g       61.5Carrots,
            raw                                                                             
            400g    164.0Salt,
            table                                                                                
             0.12g    0.0Cabbage,
            raw                                                                        
             400g     100.0Cereals, oats, regular and quick, not fortified,
            dry              100g       379.0Wheat flour,
            whole-grain                                                       200g      
            680.0Rice, brown, medium-grain, cooked                                  
            500g       560.0Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without
            skin                        500g       380.0  This gives me 7.0 g of
            omega-6 against only 0.4 g of omega-3. The problem is the grains .Now what
            is the sensible thing to do in order to correct the imbalance, add walnuts, or
            add ground flaxseed? If I add this,   Seeds,
            flaxseed                                                             2tbsp,
            ground      74.8     Then I have, in the day’s food, 7.8 g of
            omega-6 vs 3.6 g of omega-3. Maybe too much of both (I hope my saying this will
            not cause Strix undue alarm) but anyway a good balance.         But now
            what happens if instead of that 74.8 calories of ground flaxseed I use 74.8
            calories of walnuts?      Nuts, walnuts,
            english                                                    
            11.44 g                 74.8       Let’s look, in isolation at the omega
            6/3 composition of the walnuts. It’s 4.4 g of the first and 1.0 g of the second.
            Barely ok, falling actually outside the minimally desired ratio of 4:1 for
            omega-6 to omega-3. And so what corrective affect, if any, would this have in
            the context of all that other food? Let’s see. Substituting the walnuts for the
            flaxseed we now have, in the total day’s food, 11.3 g of omega-6 vs. 1.5 g of
            omega-3. Useless.            No wonder that Jeff Novick recommends an
            optional 1~2 TB of ground flaxseed (which is precisely why I do it), and not
            walnuts.               

             

            PS: Toxins, if you also post on the McDougall site, what
            is the name you use there? I’d like to see what you have written. And you as
            well, philologist Paulc.
             

      2.  Hi Toxins; thanks for writing; I normally learn a great deal from your erudite comments. I decided to compile a short list of seeds and their omega 6/3 ratios when the data was available for both. I didn’t include legumes which are technically seeds, but generally have low ratios, and so, are no problem. Here’s the list and I invite you to confirm my results:

        Caraway seeds               20.8
        Celery seeds                  17.6
        Chia seeds                      0.33
        Cumin seeds                  17.6
        Dill seeds                        6.4
        Flax seeds                      0.26
        Lotus seeds                  10.6
        Mustard seeds                0.97
        Poppy seed                  104
        Pumpkin/squash seeds 114
        Safflower seeds            253
        Sesame seeds              95.8
        Sisymbrium seeds          0.39
        Sunflower seeds          311

        Since an acceptable ratio is only 4, I would think it best to avoid noshing on all seeds with the exception of chia, flax, mustard and sisymbrium. I’ve no doubt that we can get plenty of tryptophan from these 4 safe seeds. I would definitely avoid poppy seeds, especially if you’re scheduled to take an illegal drugs test. If you did a similar list for nuts, I think you’d find that only walnuts have an acceptable ratio.
        Keep those comments coming, Toxins; they’re great.

        1. Thanks for the list, I agree that the omega 6/3 ratio should be 4:1 or better. My comment was specifically aimed towards nuts vs seeds.

          Peanuts have a ratio of 4400: 1
          Almonds have a ratio of 1800: 1
          Brazil nuts have a ratio of 500: 1 

          These nuts are widely consumed and have the worst ratios. Comparring nuts and seeds specifically, as a common trend, the nuts tend to have poorer ratios.

  3. I eat lots of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, so what’s my excuse?  I guess I’m just a cranky…brat ;^)

    Squash seeds are awesome and I get a lot of mine “free” when Autumn gourds are abundant and inexpensive. I dry them myself and even season some for variety. Once dried they can last all year long. Don’t throw out those seeds when cleaning your squashes or Jack ‘O’ Lanterns!

  4. I’m new to your AMAZING video clips!  Thank you for taking the time to do this! I will be highlighting your videos regularly in my postings and musings.  It’s a confusing mess out there on our information superhighways. The research is there.  We just need the bottom line.  Thank you for being our nutritional champion!

  5. The seeds may be helpful but I’ve found that combining a quality vegan diet with a sufficient amount of exercise, rest, sun, water and fresh air really helps improve my mood. Actually, I think rest is a biggie, and few of us get enough of it, guilt free or worry free. 

    1. Indeed. You said it all. A lot of people don’t exercise and that tends
      to catch up to them. My issue was not getting enough sun and I’m fixing
      that now.

  6. And these fine results were obtained how many mg of tryptophan (from squash seeds) per day? Do I misunderstand in thinking it was 10 mg?? I see from USDA sr24 (via CRON-o-meter) that to get 10mg  tryptophan from ‘seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried’ would take 180 g of them, which is …….. 1006 Kcal. 

    1.  My error. In fact 9 g (= 50.3 kcal) of pumpkin seeds, according to the USDA, is already 100 mg.

      But, as Emhstein asks: what is the amount that needs to be consumed for effect?

      1. Hi Elvin. According to http://www.ajcn.org/content/68/2/303.full.pdf
        you need a minimum of 4.01mg of tryptophan per day for every kilogram of body mass and 5.02 mg to be on the safe side.. So, using the higher figure, if you weigh 120 pounds, you’d need about 275 mg per day, if you weigh 155 pounds, you’d need about 355 mg per day and if you weigh 180 pounds, you’d need about 410 mg per day. But my opinion is that you should also choose foods with a low omega 6 to omega 3 ratio- a problem with most seeds- or take flax seeds to make the overall ratio favorable, around no more than 4 to 1. Also, try not to get too much methionine in the protein foods you choose. Best of luck to all of us.

        1.  
          Paulc: 

           

           (1) What you have written is puzzling, because you have taken great
          care to answer a non-question.The question is not ‘what is the daily RDA/DRI etc
          for tryptophan?’. The question is: ‘what amount of daily tryptophan was used in
          the info-video happiness-report; and how does that translate, for us
          hoi-polloi, into a daily hit of pumpkin seeds or sesame?’  Of course this is
          going to be (much) greater than the RDA.

           

          (2) For people who follow Gregerian rather than (say) Novickian
          suggestions, the question of omega 6/3 ratio is not, I would think, going to a
          matter of concern since the Gregerians are taking ‘
          250 to 500 mg daily of yeast or algae-­‐derived DHA and/or EPA’ — which
          presumably trumps by a big margin the amount of DHA derived from the AA of
          flaxseed. Gregerians will also be less interested in the question of increase in
          fat-derived total calories resulting from addition of the
          seeds. And substitution of the seeds for nuts, is after all, an option of course
          … but wait — this is a meaninglessly abstract discussion without knowing what
          amount of seeds we are taking about. If the kindly Dr Greger would choose to end
          the suspense it would be a great mercy.

              

          3) So far as I can see, it has no direct relation to seeds as such, but
          what you say about methionine is however correct, and interested readers will
          want to look here: http://www.medical-hypotheses.com/article/S0306-9877%2808%2900383-6/abstract .
          Its restriction may have healthspan/lifespan optimising affects similar to those
          delivered by CRON (or CRAN, if you want to to substitute the concept ‘adequate’
          for ‘optimal’.)

          1.  Hi again Elvin,
            Okay,  now that I understand your question, I directly quote the original article on social anxiety:

            Materials and methods
            For this study, 2 separate food bars were prepared.

            (i) Food 1 (tryptophan bar) contained 25 g of deoiled butternut
            squash seed meal and 25 g of dextrose. The tryptophan
            content of food 1 was 250 mg/food bar.
            (ii) Food 2 (placebo bar) contained 50 g of carbohydrate
            composed of dried fruit and dextrose. The tryptophan content
            was 0 mg for food 2.

            So, all that is needed is  250 mg of tryptophan plus a handful of carbs.

            Hope that helps hoi polloi (Greek for “the people”)
            PS your link to medical hypotheses seems to be broken. Best Wishes

            1.  Paulc:

              I see, thanks very much. As for that url, it works fine when I click it. If it still does not work for you, do a search for the title of the article: ‘The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy ‘.

              1.  CRON-o-meter is insufficiently fine tuned, but from www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR24/reports/sr24fg12.pdf
                it can be seen that 100 g of ‘Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried ‘
                contains 0.576 g of tryptophan. That’s 576 mg. Now, 43.4028% of 576 is
                250.000128. And 43.4028% of 100 g is of course 43.4028 g. So, to get this 250 mg
                of tryptophan will take that amount of the seeds (= about 1.5 oz), which in turn
                is about 260 kcal (because 100g is 599 kcal). I hope I am wrong either in
                reasoning or calculation and will be corrected; otherwise it looks not like an
                experiment in happiness but an experiment in getting fat. At any rate, we who
                practice CRAN and keep our BMI in the lower part of the ‘normal’ range do not
                blithely throw 260 kcal into our mouths. That being said, the pursuit of science
                does sometimes require personal sacrifice , yes.

                 

                I will leave it to someone else to do the calculations for sesame
                seed.

                  1.  I here announce that yesterday I began a 7-day experiment of inclusion of
                    daily 50 g of ground pumpkin seeds into my diet. This will, if nothing else,
                    greatly impact my normally only having about  10% of fat-derived total calories
                    daily. But science sometimes calls for self-sacrifice, does it not? Consider the
                    case of A. A. Bogdanov who fatally experimented with rejuvenation through blood
                    transfusion:         ‘In 1924, Bogdanov started his blood transfusion
                    experiments […] after undergoing 11 blood transfusions, he remarked with
                    satisfaction on the improvement of his eyesight, suspension of balding, and
                    other positive symptoms […] Leonid Krasin wrote to his wife that “Bogdanov
                    seems to have become 7, no, 10 years younger after the [transfusion]”. In
                    1925-1926, Bogdanov founded the Institute for Haemotology and Blood
                    Transfusions, which was later named after him. But a later transfusion cost him
                    life, when he took the blood of a student suffering from malaria and
                    tuberculosis. (Bogdanov died, but the student injected with his blood made a
                    complete recovery.)’

                          

                    If Bogdanov could give his life for such a cause, certainly we followers of
                    those notorious ‘no fat’ [sic] doctors can up our fat intake for a few days,
                    yes?

                1. So Elvin, what do you think of the latest study on CRAN and monkeys?
                   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444772804577619394017185860.html?mod=rss_Health&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fxml%2Frss%2F3_7089+%28WSJ.com%3A+Health%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo#articleTabs%3Darticle

  7. paulc, toxins: very good points.

    One other metric that may be of interest is the total omega-6 content per 100g. Some examples follow:

    pumpkin seeds:  20.7 g omega-6 per 100g
    sunflower seeds: 37.4 g omega-6 per 100g
    sesame seeds: 21.3 g omega-6 per 100g

    versus

    peanuts: 15.6 g omega-6 per 100g
    almonds: 12.1 g omega-6 per 100g
    brazil nuts: 20.6 g omega-6 per 100g

    So, even though, as Toxins points out, these three nuts have on average a much higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than the above-mentioned seeds, the nuts contribute less omega-6 to the diet than the seeds. In all above-listed cases the omega-3 contribution is essentially negligible, so total omega-6 contribution may matter more than the omega-6:omega-3 ratio.

  8. paulc and toxins have raised some very good points.

    One other metric that may be of interest is the total omega-6 content per 100g. Some examples follow:

    pumpkin seeds:  20.7 g omega-6 per 100g sunflower seeds: 37.4 g omega-6 per 100gsesame seeds: 21.3 g omega-6 per 100g

    peanuts: 15.6 g omega-6 per 100galmonds: 12.1 g omega-6 per 100gbrazil nuts: 20.6 g omega-6 per 100g

    So, even though, as Toxins points out, these three nuts have on average a much higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than the above-mentioned seeds, the nuts contribute less omega-6 to the diet than the seeds. In all above-listed cases the omega-3 contribution is essentially negligible, so total omega-6 contribution may matter more than the omega-6:omega-3 ratio.

  9. Judging by the chart alone, it seems that those on the regular “diet” simply got more depressed (higher readings), while those on the largely vegetarian diet stayed the same. This could be interpreted as a plug for the control conditions (no dietary restrictions at all – just eat what you want?), rather than the vegetarian diet.

  10. Animal protein is definitely a downer in my experience. However, to say that it’s due to relatively low levels of tryptophan is assuming a lot. It could be due to the fact that animal proteins are relatively high in the acidic amino acids which may also result in a mood downer as well as alternator.

  11. Its amazing how different the dietary advice given is from Vegetarian doctors, to Low-carb Doctors, to Paleo or similar to Paleo doctor. One wonders! I will try full on vegetarian lower fat for 2 weeks right now, see im my ongoing depression gets better, if so I will extend the trial for a month, see how I feel. I really hope I dont get a bunch of cavities from the added carbohydrate and sugar from fruit though! I wont brush right after eating, and follow a tooth care protocol to help me anyway.

    1. A few hot tips from a somewhat seasoned veteran and long time acupuncturist (me): Do not base your diet on fruit. Don’t eat more than 4-5 pieces/day max and emphasize the lower glycemic ones like berries and kiwi. And no added sweeteners! Beans will likely help stabilize your blood sugar better than intact whole grains; regardless which you choose avoid flour products, even 100% whole grain ones as they turn to blood sugar too fast. Blood sugar spikes and crashes can really aggravate depression! Main food by volume should be nonstarchy vegetables. Clean your mouth after every meal and don’t snack. Only eat if you are hungry, and don’t eat if you are not truly hungry. That means, don’t eat out of boredom, depression, anxiety, etc. not even just because it tastes good. Better if you tried this for 5 or 6 weeks as depending on what you have been eating you may have some detox/adjustments to go through. Best to you on this experiment!

    2. Hi Liz, so you made this comment two years ago. I’m curious to hear what you’ve done, and how you’re feeling :) Care to share your personal findings?

  12. Sunny Days Dressing

    – ¼ cup sunflower seeds
    – ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
    – 1 organic* golden delicious apple, chopped
    – 1/3 cup water
    – 1 tbsp water
    – 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. The ending consistency is quite thick and easily spooned onto salad.

    *Apples rank 1st (most contaminated) for yet another year in the “dirty dozen: 12 foods to eat organic” so choose organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  13. Her türlü girer çıkarım ümraniye web tasarım da girerim cıkmam ama kurumsal web tasarım da önüme gelmeyin sakın siz nasıl dersiniz bilmiyorum ama ümraniye web tasarım firmaları rasında girişler hep serbest siz hiç firma rehberi gördünüzmü lan konuşmayın o ümraniye web tasarım firmaları zman sokar cıkartırım söyleyim bak site ekle dedikya en iyi reklam yerleri olarak hepinizin amın akoyum şerefsizler :)

  14. Can you tell me where your list of high tryptophan:LNAA foods? I am having a hard time finding that information in your cited references. Thank you for wonderful video series on tryptophan.

  15. I am bummed so far, because I have gone 90% vegan and have upped my seed intake and fruits and veggies, but my social anxiety has increased significantly.

    It might be the milk in my morning cappuccino?

    I don’t understand it, but I am definitely worse than I ever was and I am wondering what I am doing wrong, because when I started with the more fruits and veggies, I got better, but now it is so much worse.

    I am wondering if I am low in Magnesium or B3 or something, but I was really hoping just adding the seeds would improve it more than just upping the nutrition did.

    1. Might want to check: sups: B12, Vitamin D in the dose recomended by Dr Greger. Following the daily dozen daily, not just “being vegan eating randomly”. Also a TMJ or TMD might worsen any condition. Are you eating enough?

    2. Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about the worsening of your symptoms. As you probably know, most of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut and this is the hormone that has a big impact on our mental health and wellbeing. This hormone is produced by our gut bacteria and therefore we should be aiming to keep our gut bacteria as ‘healthy’ as possible. The main way is to make sure you are getting enough fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. At least 40 grams a day. There are also a number of foods that are pre-biotics, they provide ‘food’ for our gut bacteria. This video may help you https://nutritionfacts.org/video/prebiotics-tending-our-inner-garden/

      The other thing you could consider is taking a probiotic for a period of time to reboot your gut bacteria, the reason for which are explained in this video https://nutritionfacts.org/video/gut-feelings-probiotics-and-mental-health/

      The others things to consider are toxins you may be ingesting that can affect brain health such as the artificial sweetener aspartame.
      Aromatherapy may be worth trying https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/03/31/does-orange-aromatherapy-reduce-anxiety/

      I believe based on the data that over time your anxiety has the best chance of improving on a whole foods plant based diet. It may be that the initial chance has led to an increase in serotonin levels that your body is not used to and hence you are feeling some adverse effects. I strongly believe that your body will adjust to your new diet and the more plant based you can be the better for many reasons.

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