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  • Cindy Cunningham August 09, 2014
    Cindy Cunningham
    August 09, 2014

    Hi eymard aguirre,


    I know you posted this question quite awhile ago, and you did receive a solid response from CIG, but I was wondering if you found an effective treatment plan.  We would love to hear it.  Many other community members have asked similar questions.


    If you are interested in reading more about the topic, check out:


    Is Your Diet Making You Depressed?

    A brief guide to Serotonin


    Hope you are well!

  • CIG
    March 07, 2011
    March 07, 2011

    Sounds like a simple question...but it's not.

    Serotonin's found in both blood cortisol and brain cortisol with no correlation due to the "blood/brain barrier". I assume you're wanting to increase serotonin in brain cortisol.

    Tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin so you'd think foods with a high level of tryptophan would be the answer; it's not. The catch is the ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine determines serotonin production. Foods with a higher ratio promote production of serotonin while foods with a lower ratio inhibit production. Eating a banana will increase serotonin...unless you make a sandwich, on whole wheat bread, of it.

    Using diet to increase brain cortisol serotonin level isn't, I think, a good idea. The problem may not have anything to do with serotonin level and, even if it does, most of the 5Hydroxytryptophan (stuff your liver makes from tryptophan that becomes serotonin) is converted to serotonin before it gets to the brain. So, the brain cortisol level may be increased, marginally, while the blood cortisol level is increased, greatly. This can cause heart problems.

    Speaking of which, several of the foods, which have a high ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine, should be avoided by people with or at risk of heart problems.

    Best answer is to discuss this with your doctor and a knowlegable nutritionist. Second best answer is to eat more chickpeas, chocolate, cottage cheese, dried dates, fish, oats, peanuts, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and yogurt...but not a whole lot and don't be surprised if it doesn't do you any good.

  • Donna-1 March 07, 2011
    March 07, 2011

    Good question.  I hope someone comes up with a good answer -- I will stay tuned.

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