Thursday, October 6, 2011

Insomnia chemistry: Producing melatonin from vitamins, minerals, and aminos.

Our bodies should be creating serotonin in the morning to keep us happy, converting it to melatonin at night, so we can sleep. 
With serotonin/melatonin related insomnia, anxiety or depression, one might want to analyze what part of the cycle is not working, and then consider supportive vitamins, etc. targeting that particular step. Some of the nutrients involved:

To create tryptophan you use:
     vitamins B1 and B6, zinc, and protein
         (with enough stomach hydrochloric acid (HCl), zinc, B1, B6 to break down the protein).
     Complex carbs help foster tryptophan uptake into the brain.

To turn tryptophan into 5HTP:
     folic acid, B3 (niacin), calcium, iron
To turn 5HTP into  serotonin:
     vitamins C and B6, zinc, magnesium
     Serotonin production is fostered by sunlight, exercise and kindness

To turn serotonin into melatonin:
       1. Create methionine* using  B1, B6, zinc, folate, methyl-B12, glutathione, and protein (+ HCl)
       2. Create SAMe from the methionine + magnesium
       3. SAMe* + B5 + serotonin are then used to create melatonin.

* Warnings: Many bipolars get manic on SAMe, even on methionine, especially if already overmethylated, (histapenic).  Some authors suggest SAMe is always contraindicated for bipolars.

Note: Excess copper will block vitamins B1, C, folate, zinc and magnesium.
For the diagram of tryptophan to melatonin biochemistry which inspired this post, see:

Influence of exercise, light, protein...

Continued in the following post.