Supplement with tryptophan makes you more dominant
If you take a few grams of the amino acid tryptophan every day, you will behave more dominant. This appears from a human study that Canadian psychologists published in 2001 in Neuropsychopharmacology. According to the study, tryptophan supplementation makes you a little less quarrelsome as well.
In the body, enzymes change the amino acid tryptophan into 5-hydroxytryptophane [5HTP], and change 5-HTP into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in how we feel. Serotonin levels are usually reduced in depression, but if we win conflicts or rise on the social ladder, our serotonin level usually increases.
The researchers asked whether tryptophan supplementation could change the behavior, and gave 98 subjects 3 capsules each day for 12 days, each with 1 gram of tryptophan [total intake per day: 3 grams]. At each meal, the subjects took 1 capsule. On another occasion, the subjects were given a placebo.
The researchers determined the behavior of the test subjects by presenting them with a list of statements each day, of which the subjects had to indicate whether they applied to their behavior.
Statements related to quarrels were, for example, "I made a sarcastic comment" and "I gave incorrect information", "I showed impatience" and "I raised my voice".
Statements related to dominant behavior included "I asked the other to something", "I voiced an opinion" and "I set goals for the other".
The supplementation with tryptophan made the subjects behave more dominant.
Supplementation with tryptophan simultaneously caused the subjects to argue less often.
The supplement had side effects, and the most common was fatigue. [Table] This is probably because tryptophan is also converted to the sleep hormone melatonin at the end of the day.
"In conclusion, our study has obtained preliminary evidence that increasing serotonin can decrease quarrelsome behavior and increase dominance in healthy humans", write the Canadians. "These conclusions must remain tentative until confirmed given possible order effects."
"Nonetheless, our study indicates the feasibility of further studies examining the effect of specific neurotransmitter systems on human social interaction in everyday life. These studies could also be extended to patients suffering from various types of psychopathology and could reveal to what extent different psychopharmacological agents, as well as psychotherapeutic techniques, alter specific aspects of social interaction."
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Aug;25(2):277-89.
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