Dopamine and serotonin are chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Dopamine stimulates pleasure and alertness. Serotonin stimulates peacefulness and sleep. The levels of these neurotransmitters are indirectly related to mood, according to research published in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry." An imbalance of either one or both is associated with mood disorders. L-tyrosine and l-tryptophan are amino acids found in protein foods which, with vitamin B6, make dopamine and serotonin in the brain. A 2003 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" demonstrates that a high complex carbohydrate, low protein meal can increase the amount of these amino acids that can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Take 500 mg of L-tyrosine and 25 mg of vitamin B6 supplements with a glass of fresh fruit juice in the morning before breakfast. L-tyrosine and vitamin B6 can increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Eat a breakfast that contains unprocessed complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereal with water, apple juice or soy milk. The goal in the morning is to increase dopamine production by increasing levels of L-tyrosine that can enter the brain. Milk is high in protein and may reduce the availability of L-tyrosine that can enter the brain.
Eat a lunch concentrated on protein foods that have high levels of L-tyrosine or L-phenylalanine. The goal for lunch is to obtain most of your daily requirements for protein. According to the Phenylketonuria Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, dairy, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, beans and nuts are good sources of L-phenylalanine, an amino acid that produces L-tyrosine in the body.
Eat a dinner high in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains; low in protein; and with an ample amount of fresh vegetables for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The goal in the evening is to increase serotonin production by increasing levels of L-tryptophan that can enter the brain.
Take 500 mg of L-tryptophan and 25 mg of vitamin B6 supplements with a glass of fresh fruit juice in the evening one hour before bedtime. L-tryptophan and vitamin B6 can increase serotonin levels in the brain.
Things You'll Need
25 mg vitamin B6 supplement
Fresh fruit juice
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Whole grain foods
Diet can manipulate daily patterns of amino acids, according to a 1979 study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." You can balance neurotransmitter levels by increasing dopamine production in the morning with L-tyrosine, and increasing serotonin production in the evening with L-tryptophan.
Fresh fruit juice and complex carbohydrates increase insulin secretion into the blood. Insulin increases the transport of branched chain amino acids in the plasma to enter the muscles, leaving a higher ratio of L-tyrosine or L-tryptophan to enter the brain, according to a 1975 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
Consult a physician or nutritionist about your health, diet and nutrition supplement program, especially if you are diabetic.
- "Molecular Psychiatry"; "Mood Is Indirectly Related to Serotonin, Dopamine"; Ruhe, H.G.; Apr 2007
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Effects of Normal Meals Rich in Carbohydrates; Wurtman, R.J.; Jan 2003
- PKU Clinic University of Washington; "The Essentials of PKU"
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Diurnal Variations in Plasma Concentrations; Fernstrom, J.D.; Sep 1979
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Control of Brain Monoamine Synthesis by Diet; Wurtman, R.J.; Jun 1975