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Dr. W. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "fat and happy." Well, it's not just folklore. The same carbs that make you fat (and contribute to diabetes and other problems) also make you happy. It's simple science: Carbs allow more of the amino acid L-tryptophan to penetrate your brain. The L-tryptophan triggers your brain to make more serotonin, and the serotonin makes you feel happier. It's as simple as that! But if you're following a low-carb diet, it's possible that not enough L-tryptophan will penetrate your brain, and you could wind up depressed.

So if you get depressed but don't want to eat more carbs, the solution can be as simple as taking supplemental tryptophan so there's more of it to penetrate the brain. Take either 1,500 milligrams twice daily or, if that makes you drowsy (which is rare but possible), take all 3,000 milligrams at bedtime. It'll pull you out of any high-protein diet depression you may have. Just make sure not to take it when you're eating protein. It's best to take tryptophan with whatever small amount of carbohydrates you do eat.

You might also want to take a small quantity of (over-the-counter) lithium, 5 milligrams, twice daily. Lithium "catalyzes" one of the first steps in tryptophan metabolism, moving it more rapidly and effectively down the "metabolic pathways" toward serotonin. And even though low-dose lithium is quite safe, you can make it even safer by including essential fatty acids and vitamin E in your daily program. I always recommend that anyone taking lithium also take a teaspoonful or two of flaxseed oil (or other essential fatty acid) along with 400 IU of vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) each day.
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649848 tn?1534633700
If you trade the simple carbs (white sugar, flour, rice, pasta, etc) for complex carbs, you will accomplish the same thing.  Complex carbs (fiber - fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc) help make you feel fuller faster and keep you feeling fuller longer, as does protein.

With the proper food, there should be no depression due to lack of tryptophan or anything else.  

Your body needs all of the different food groups, including carbs, so best not to try to eliminate any of them.  Using a reasonable diet and exercise program should give you the desired results.  

Good luck.
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541150 tn?1306033843
See, I was not aware of this. I had been on Atkins, and never felt sad or depressed. I did feel happy abot the weight loss, so happy I wanted to stay on the induction phase (20 grams of carbs, no more) but I didn't stay and I eventually started eating more carbs. I don't know, maybe I was just concentrating on losing weight so desperately that the minute I saw the numbers go down I just jumped and screamed of how happy I was. I never noticed any sadness for lack of carbs. But maybe it is because I didn't do Atkins for a long time.

Good point.
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