Tryptophan Rich Foods

March 23, 2023

Tryptophan is a small but mighty part of a healthy diet. As an essential amino acid, tryptophan must be solely sourced from the food we eat. It does its job by assisting and boosting multiple systems in our body to also do theirs. Tryptophan is the nutritional social worker in our body who helps everyone else but risks getting worn out and depleted in the process.

How Tryptophan Works in the Body

Once we eat a tryptophan-rich food, it can be converted into serotonin during the day and melatonin at night. The main route for tryptophan, however, is the production of vitamin B3. In fact, more than 90% of the tryptophan we eat becomes vitamin B3 when we are stressed and have not eaten enough of this important vitamin. If we consume enough vitamin B3, the route from tryptophan to vitamin B3 is interrupted and most of the tryptophan we consume becomes serotonin and melatonin. Therefore, vitamin B3 is known as a “stress” vitamin.

A low-tryptophan containing diet is still a risk in a relatively well-fed culture.  Tryptophan deficiency may be present in those who mostly consume low-quality proteins or rely on carbohydrates. Pretzels and beer may be delicious, but they must be regarded as dietary exceptions. A healthy diet with a variety of whole, unprocessed foods goes a long way to supply our bodies with sufficient tryptophan and its associated vitamins to allow for further production of serotonin and melatonin.

Among the list of healthy, tryptophan rich foods are pumpkinseeds. They are packed with protein and vitamins, healthy oil and nutrients. Recently, as a result of research done by Biosential, they are also now associated with helping alleviate sleep and anxiety issues. There is a catch to this superfood, however. Pumpkinseeds eaten alone will actually reduce the effect that leads to serotonin and melatonin production! Here’s why.

The Tryptophan Paradox Explained

Due to a phenomenon called the “Tryptophan Paradox”, simply eating more pumpkinseeds will not increase your brain tryptophan levels. Instead, eating protein foods rich in tryptophan will surprisingly decrease rather than increase your brain tryptophan levels. The reason behind this is something called the Blood-Brain-Barrier [BBB], a shield that protects the sensitive brain from harmful substances that are in the blood. At the same time, nutrients in the blood must be allowed in the brain. In the case of tryptophan, access to the brain is granted via a transporter that recognizes tryptophan and only then facilitates its absorption into the brain.

The difficulty with tryptophan is that it must compete. It shares this transporter with far more abundant amino acids in the bloodstream which are able to “stick” to the transporter more effectively. Consequently, when you eat protein-rich foods your blood tryptophan levels go up but your brain levels go down as tryptophan routinely gets sent back to the body.

Zenbev to the Rescue!

For years, the Tryptophan Paradox eliminated the use of protein source tryptophan as a way of building brain tryptophan levels. That is, until the researchers at Zenbev combed the medical literature to unlock how this process could be circumvented. It turns out that simple carbohydrate and Vitamin B3 is the answer. In the presence of these ingredients all the other amino acids in a protein get shunted away from the brain except tryptophan allowing it private access across the blood brain barrier.

Once there, it freely metabolizes to serotonin in high light conditions and melatonin in low light conditions. This makes Zenbev Drink Mix special and unique. All the work is done for you to achieve the exact amount of tryptophan you need to get the most out of your day and night.