Of Topic: Hit the Gym Your Being a Downer!
Ok, so without going into the agonizing statistics it can be resolutely stated that a lot of people are depressed, stressed out, fatigued, or generally bummed out more often then not. And without a protracted discussion of the details it’s clear that the majority of people’s emotional wellbeing and day to day outlook on life is mediated by chemicals in our brains. Our brains are a chemical machine, and if you believe that you should read on.
Tryptophan commonly associated with the notorious sleepiness following a turkey dinner. Is one of the 20 standard amino acids, and being as such, it can not be synthesized or manufactured by our bodies; it has to be taken in via diet. Tryptophan is also a vital biochemical precursor to Serotonin. Too little Tryptophan usually equals too little Serotonin. And what is Serotonin? Simply it’s the feel good neurotransmitter, and it’s responsible for many functions although the following are interesting:
1. Feeling of well being, satisfaction. MDMA “ecstasy” elicits these happy uninhibited feelings via allowing serotonin remain in our brain, and facilitates the production of serotonin – although in unhealthy amounts.
2. Serotonin is believed to mitigate symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia or sleeping frequently and for excessive periods of time, loss of appetite or a ravenous appetite, headaches, backaches, colon disorders, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.
3. Serotonin also acts as a growth factor for some types of cells and may be linked to healing.
Ok..so what then? Well since Tryptophan is an essential precursor to the production of Serotonin its availability is vital to experience the necessary positive byproducts of serotonin. Interestingly though Tryptophan has a struggle on its hands. Here is why.
Your brain is like a well guarded fortress and it only lets in particular molecules via very particular transport mechanism. This barrier that protects the brain is called the “blood brain barrier.” Serotonin can not cross this blood brain barrier, which means you can eat all you want of it, and it will never make you feel good since it will never get in your brain. Tryptophan can cross the blood brain barrier, so just eating it is the solution, right? Not entirely. Tryptophan is a relatively small amino acid, and it has to hitch a ride on a “transport bus” through the blood brain barrier to get in your brain and be used to synthesize serotonin. Unfortunately these “transport buses” are often already packed with 5 other large amino acids, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, leucine and isoleucine, and these can inhibit or crowd out the Tryptophan amino acid from making it through the blood brain barrier. Sucks to be the little guy it seems.
Now…here is the kicker, during exercise, the mussels utilize the other available amino acids for nutrients. The harder you work, often the more your mussels monopolize these other amino acids, and the result is an empty “transport bus” that can shuttle your Tryptophan to your brain, synthesize serotonin, and get rid of those blues, or possibly even help a little with sleepless nights or fatigue.
So don’t be such a downer and hit the gym!
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