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Hello there,
my protein shakes that I take on a daily basis post workout contain about 1.5g or 1500mg of l-tryptophan. Is that good or bad for someone that has anxiety issues? Thanks
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725621 tn?1314846847
hi, there i don't know that much about the affects of the protein and anxiety but, what i can say is that i went checking around and here is the best information i found to your question. ok hope it is useful.

I have an anxiety/panic disorder myself and I am on 50mg Zoloft per day. This exact same thing happened to me whenever I took Whey Protein, concentrate or isolate. I wrote a thread about this last summer and everyone called me crazy, but I knew what it was stemming from so I stopped taking Whey altogether.

I got very depressed because I figured, how can I get big and strong and meet my goals if I can't use whey to grow.

Well low and behold I found out there were other types of protein out there and Whey is just one of them. After some research I found that Whey is a very fast absorbing protein that has a rapid digest rate, which I believe is the reason for the anxiety, too much energy all at once.

After more researching I discovered the wonders of Egg and Casein. Egg protein has about the same quality profile of Whey, however it is a moderate absorbing protein that the body uses over a greater amount of time. Casein protein is another dairy protein like Whey, however it is very thick and sticky and your body has a hard time breaking it down, which not only acts as a great anti-catabolic (prevents muscle breakdown) but also gives your body a good 6-8 hour slow but steady flow of protein.

I got off of Whey and started taking Egg Protein powders as my staple protein, and at night now I drink 1 Casein shake right before bed. After not taking Whey for a month or so the anxiety went away, in fact I decided to only take Whey right after workouts, but no other time, and the anxiety still has not come back.

So yes, you are not crazy, yes there is a solution to get lots of protein without suffering the anxiety. GL guys, I will post my little protein chart at the bottom as a reminder.

Whey Protein - Fast Absorbing (Great for after workouts, CAN increase Anxiety)
Egg Protein - Moderate Absorbing (Great for a staple protein throughout the day)
Casein Protein - Slow Absorbing (Anti-Catabolic, take right before bedtime)
Avatar m tn
Tryptophan is an amino acid.  Protein is made up of amino acids.  So the tryptophan is there because the protein is there.  The label probably lists all kinds of amino acids, not just that one.  Tryptophan would be unlikely to be added to a protein shake because it's the amino acid responsible for producing serotonin in the body, and is used as a sleep aid.  As a stand-alone supplement this amino acid has been used by physicians for many decades to promote sleep and relaxation, but the problem with most protein shakes isn't the protein, it's either what the protein is made of and/or the huge amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners in most of them.  Sugar and artificial sweeteners can both cause anxiety.  And if you're allergic to soy, soy protein could pose a problem.  And if you have a problem with dairy, as most people do, you might have a problem with whey protein.  Now, if you're committed to having unduly large muscles, there's nothing you can do but take in huge quantities of protein and use other things to help your workout, which might also be in your shake, such as hidden uppers and hidden pro-steroidals or even hidden steroids.  Lots of college and pro athletes have earned suspensions for buying supplements at GNC and discovering they had hidden drugs in them.  As for speed of absorption, that's really individual.  Whey protein isn't any more quickly assimilated than any other protein, in fact considering that most adult humans lack the enzyme to digest dairy, it could be slower.  It depends on what the digestive system likes the best.  It also depends on the quality of the supplement.  Casein, being the protein in whey and other dairy, is unlikely to be any slower or better absorbed than any other dairy protein.  The healthiest way to live is to get your protein from your diet and use your workout for exercise, not vanity, but to each their own.  Too much protein on a daily basis is potentially harmful to the kidneys, so keep an eye on that.  
Avatar m tn
Hello and thanks for the reply, I've listed the nutrition facts and I usually take 3 scoops daily.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size1Scoop(32g)
Servings Per Container71

Calories 130  
Calories From Fat 20  

Amount Per Serving % DV*

Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Potassium 305mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.5g 6%
Sugars 2g  
Protein 23g 46%

Calcium 120mg 12%
Phosphorus 80mg 8%
Magnesium 8mg 2%

Indispensable Amino Acids (IAA):  

L-Leucine(BCAA) 2.86g  
L-Isoleucine(BCAA) 1.53g  
L-Valine(BCAA) 1.30g  
L-Lysine 2.18g  
L-Threonine 1.82g  
L-Methionine 0.52g  
L-Phenylalanine 0.75g  
L-Tryptophan 0.39g  

Conditionally Essential Amino Acids:  

L-Arginine 0.52g  
L-Histidine 0.42g  
L-Glutamic Acid 4.60g  
L-Cysteine 0.75

Avatar m tn
As I thought, they're just listing the amino acids that naturally occur in protein.  That's what protein is made of, a collection of amino acids.  So you're not actually supplementing with tryptophan, you get it every time you eat protein, whether it be a bean or a steak.  Amounts vary, of course; some foods have more, some less.  What you didn't list are the ingredients, so I have no way of knowing if it's loaded with artificial substances that might be causing you problems, or the quality of the product.  Again, I wouldn't buy anything at a GNC, but a good health food store will have many options, assuming you can find a good health food store anymore now that Whole Foods, GNC, and Vitamin Shoppes have monopolized the market.  If you're just taking one shake a day, I doubt you'll have any problems, and the reason most body builders like whey protein is, providing the manufacturer gives you the proper form of it, it's absorbed better than other forms of protein, but it also gives many people problems because of the dairy factor.  But I wouldn't worry about the tryptophan part of it, you'd get a lot by eating turkey, too.  
Avatar m tn
Ingredients: Whey Protein concentrate and isolate, whey peptides, lowfat dutch cocoa, glycine, natural and artificial flavoring, fructose salt, andacesulfame-potassium.

I guess what I'm wondering if i'm taking in too much L-Tryptophan  per day and if that could cause too much serotonin production. In addition I do eat lots of foods high in protein like turkey, eggs, chicken and so on. With the shake alone i get about 1500mg daily and I read that the range should be between 500mg-1500mg if I'm not mistaken.

Thanks again.
Avatar m tn
You could get too much serotonin production, but not just from food or tryptophan.  The normal way the body works is to use the tryptophan to make 5-HTP, a metabolite of tryptophan, which then converts to serotonin.  But there's some things to consider about this.  First, most serotonin is in the stomach and blood vessels, not the brain, so your body is going to take most of the tryptophan and put it there.  This difficulty passing the blood/brain barrier is why 5-HTP is recommended over tryptophan for anxiety and depression.  Second, when the brain uses serotonin, it only uses what it needs and breaks down the rest with an enzyme -- the body prefers fresh nutrients, and does this with everything you take in.  The way people get too much serotonin is by taking an ssri or snri or other antidepressant that works by blocking this enzyme and allowing serotonin receptors to bathe in the serotonin instead of it being broken down.  So if you combined this with tryptophan, it's theoretically possible to get an overdose of serotonin, which creates a condition called serotonin syndrome.  This also happens on rare occasions when people take ssris and other serotonin affecting medications.  But it's a severe reaction, and you'd know if this was happening -- it isn't.  If anything, if you were getting more tryptophan to your brain you'd feel less anxious and depressed.  As for the shake you're taking, whey protein concentrate isn't very useful -- it's the isolate that works, (or the other way around, I forget) and even then only well-made products, so you're probably not getting nearly as much tryptophan as the label implies.  Or any other component of protein.  The cocoa, of course, contains caffeine, so it you were unduly sensitive to caffeine it could cause anxiety.  The artificial flavoring could be something you could react to adversely.  Fructose is the sugar, it breaks down somewhat more slowly than sucrose, but it's probably from high fructose corn syrup, which means it is basically sucrose.  Some people are very sensitive to sugar, though if you don't eat much other than what's in this product you're fine.  It also contains some sulphur as a preservative; some people are very sensitive to that, but it would more likely show up as a skin problem, not anxiety.  I think if you're just taking this supplement once a day after a good workout you're probably fine all around, though there are better ones on the market.  You're definitely not overdosing on tryptophan except insofar as any protein heavy diet will give you far more amino acids than the body needs for health.  That's the whole point; it's the excess that helps build the muscle.  
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