Depression: Part Two: Amino Acids and Depression

Part I reminded us walking in fresh air, sharing food with friends simple pleasures help stave off depression, and that a balanced, whole foods diet is essential to maintaining good mental health.  The book, Natural Prozac by Joel Robertson and Tom Monte, does a wonderful job explaining the role of food in controlling depression.  We ended last month on the subject of nutrients that can help and had covered 5-HTP, which is a precursor to serotonin.

Tyrosine and Phenylalanine, Precursors to Catecholamines:   Most of us have heard about serotonin, the ‘happy’ neurotransmitter.  But serotonin is only part of the equation.  Other neurotransmitters, called catecholamines, also elevate mood, but in a different way. Serotonin helps us feel relaxed, calm, and at peace with the world, and catecholamines provide pizzazz, get-up-and-go, etc. While the research on 5-HTP as a serotonin precursor is fairly compelling, that on the catecholamine precursors is not.  There have been few studies, with mixed results.  I have known a few people over the years who have sworn by tyrosine and/or phenylalanine, but they were in the minority.