Tryptophan supplementation increases emotional intelligence
Two hours after taking a supplement with the amino acid L-tryptophan [structural formula shown here], your emotional intelligence has increased significantly and you are better able to gauge the emotions of people in your environment. This is evident from a small human study that British psychiatrists from Warneford Hospital in Oxford published in 2003 in Psychopharmacology.
The researchers experimented with 24 adult women. They divided the women into 2 groups, and gave the women in one group 6 capsules without active substances, and the other group 6 capsules containing a total of 1.8 grams of L-tryptophan.
The capsules contained a total of 2.2 grams of hydrolyzed lactoferrin, a whey protein that contains a lot of L-tryptophan. The hydrolyzed protein was produced by Unilever. During the turn of the century Unilever seriously thought about producing mood-enhancing functional foods with extra L-tryptophan. L-Tryptophan is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and supplementation with L-tryptophan leads to an increase in serotonin levels.
Unilever did not sponsor the research.
One and a half to two hours after the intake, the concentration of L-tryptophan in the blood of the women in the tryptophan group was at its heighest.
Two hours after the capsules were taken, the researchers left the subjects photos from the Pictures of Facial Affect Series. In these photographs models show the facial expressions associated with the six most basic human emotions, such as surprise, fear, happiness, anger, disgust and sadness.
The researchers asked the subjects to indicate which emotions the models interpreted.
The supplementation with L-tryptophan [Trp] mainly improved the recognition of anxiety, and to a lesser extent that of happiness. There was a tendency that supplementation also improved the recognition of the other emotions, but in those cases the differences between the two groups were not statistically significant.
"The enhanced recognition of happiness was of borderline significance, and further studies are required to assess whether this represents a true consequence of tryptophan administration", schrijven de onderzoekers.
"These data suggest that acute administration of nutritionally sourced tryptophan has a detectable effect on the recognition of facial expressions, which is likely to be mediated via changes in brain serotonin function."
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2003 Aug;169(1):104-7.
It's easier to say 'no' when you take an L-tryptophan supplement 28.12.2017
A supplement that mends a broken heart 11.11.2015
L-Tryptophan gives women a rosy view of the world 19.05.2009