The composition of lunch determines afternoon plasma tryptophan ratios in humans

H. R. Lieberman, B. Caballero, N. Finer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


It is well established that the ratio of the plasma tryptophan concentration to those of the other large neutral ammo acids determines the transport of tryptophan into the brain. Brain tryptophan levels, in turn, control production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Protein-rich meals, when consumed in the morning after an overnight fast, have been shown to decrease the plasma tryptophan ratio, while carbohydrate-rich meals have the opposite effect. We now show that these meals have similar effects when consumed for lunch, even if they are preceded by a small breakfast meal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Tryptophan
  • amino acid
  • carbohydrate
  • human
  • protein
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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