Skinny Daily Post


Iíve inherited a tendency toward migraine cycles. Itís a familial thing. Migraine, like depression, can be successfully treated by manipulating our production and use of serotonin, a compound formed from tryptophan and used by our bodies to regulate all sorts of processes.

For people with severe problems making and using serotonin, the new classes of drugs that help normalize that process are a real life-saver. But for those of us with just mild or cyclical cases, a minor bout of the blues, random binge episodes, eating foods high in tryptophan, serotoninís raw material, followed by foods that release serotonin, may just help ease us past a tough time.

Keep in mind that foods high in tryptophan are not for everyone. If you have lots of problems with cystitis, your urologist will have you avoid these foods. Also, tryptophan supplements (including 5HTP) are not confidently recommended by anyone these days. A bad batch a few years back brought a ban in this country that has been lifted, but until more studies on safe use of the supplement are documented, their use is considered risky. Stick to real food.

Nutritionists recommend timing your eating, using foods that release serotonin 3 hours after foods that are high in tryptophan. This combination will help comb out your frizzy brain, calm your anxious heart, waylay the green meanies.

Foods high in tryptophan will help you make serotonin: Most any protein, especially turkey, and soy products, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds are good. Milk and cheese too.

Foods high in carbohydrates will help your brain use serotonin. Of course, I have to recommend high-carb whole foods here, like fruits, whole grains, potatoes, starchy vegetables.

The trick to this prescription is not to overdo it. Donít binge on high-carb foods. Donít overfill your gullet with high-tryp proteins. Just a reasonable protein serving followed by a reasonably sized high-carb snack. No need to overeat.

Migraine and serotonin

Eating disorders linked to serotonin action

Potatoes, Not Prozac potato prescription, Kathlene Des Maisons

Tryptophan supplement watch

4 thoughts on “Feel Good Food

  1. Cathy says:

    I used to have migranes (fingers crossed) at least once or twice a month and finally after 40 years discovered they were cyclical. I could almost tell you when they were going to be. Now that I am 10 years older and closer to the “M” word, I haven’t had one in years. So there is an end to those triggers. I found it very helpful to keep a journal of my headaches, when they came, how they started, what I did, etc. None of the prescription meds helped me, it had to be an injection of some sort; we started out with narcotics, but then they finally developed non-narcotic meds to help with the control of migranes. Thank goodness. To any of you who are still suffering with them, my heart goes out to you! It is NOT fun!

  2. betsy says:

    My computer has been down, but today I was welcomed back by this gorgeous new site. Love it, congrats and thank you!!! Your fresh style and insight daily inspire!!

  3. JuJu says:

    Hi Cathy, Hi Snitz,

    Cathy, so glad to hear your cycles have broken. I can just about clock migraines myself. They kick off with the estrogen drop each month. Tried estrogen supplementation, but it didn’t work for some reason. However, the good news is they’re down to just 2 or so each month rather than 18 days of every month. So that’s saying something. I believe moderate exercise, and magnesium and niacin supplementation, recommended by my neurologist, are responsible. I suspect if I could ever kick my caffeine habit, we’d clear up the rest of it. But I’m also going to try this eating trick again next month. I think it at least helped me sleep this time around. And sleep is good.

    The new migraine drugs are pretty amazing. So sorry you missed them and had to work with that other stuff. I remember the other stuff. Awful stuff.

  4. Paz says:

    Some days ago, in “Fear of fat” you wondered about those unsheddable pounds, immune to workout and diet.

    Long term weight loss losers -specially on low carb diets- experiment cravings and stubborn plateaus because of their lack of L-Carnitine. High protein diets make your body addapted to high levels of L-Carnitine.
    Without Carnitine, low carb diets lead to fatigue and food cravings. With 1,000 to 2,000mg of Carnitine per day, it’s easier to stay on: energy levels increase and cravings lessen quickly.
    It also there may be some problem with your progesterone -watch if those pounds are stuck on your belly and back-.

    Thank you for sharing and expanding health knowledge.
    A big hug

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