Does almond milk have tryptophan and melatonin? ( benefits)
In this article, we will discuss whether almond milk contains tryptophan and melatonin or not. Furthermore, we will explore the health benefits of tryptophan and melatonin, the nutritional profile of almond milk, the effects of almond milk on sleep regulation and what other food sources are rich in tryptophan and melatonin.
Does almond milk have tryptophan and melatonin?
Yes, almond milk contains tryptophan and melatonin. However, the amount of tryptophan in almond milk may not be as high as in some other foods that are rich in protein. Similarly, melatonin is typically found in higher concentrations in tart cherries or certain nuts. (1)
Tryptophan is considered to be an essential amino acid, which can not be produced by your body on its own and you need to properly incorporate it in your diet. Tryptophan is also called the building block for proteins and the precursor of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that helps regulate moods and emotions and also influences sleep cycles. (2)
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body or it can also be taken in supplemental form as it plays a crucial role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle, also called circadian rhythm. It is available as an over-the-counter supplement to help promote sleep. (1,3)
If you have concerns about your sleep or mood and are considering dietary changes, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider or registered nutritionist for further advice based on your health status.
What is the nutritional profile of almond milk?
The nutritional profile of almond milk may vary depending on the brand and whether it is commercially produced or homemade. Generally, one cup (240ml) of almond milk may contain: (6)
- Calories: Approximately 30-40 calories in one cup.
- Protein: Relatively low protein, just about 1 gram per cup.
- Fat: About 2.5 grams of good fat.
- Carbohydrates: Not too many carbs, around 1-2 grams per cup.
- Dietary fibre: A bit of fibre, around 1 gram in a cup.
- Calcium: Many almond milks have added calcium, providing about 15-45% of the recommended daily intake per cup.
- Vitamin D: Some almond milk is fortified with vitamin D which is good for your bones like calcium.
- Vitamin E: Almonds naturally have vitamin E, so some of it is retained in almond milk.
- Sugar: If it’s un-sweetened there is little to no added sugar. But sweetened ones can have added sugars, check the nutritional label for it.
Keep in mind that homemade almond milk may have different nutritional profiles, as it depends on the almond-to-water ratio and whether additional ingredients like sweeteners are included or not. Always prefer to check the nutrition label on almond milk when you’re buying it to get the exact details.
What are the potential health benefits of tryptophan and melatonin?
There are several health benefits of tryptophan and melatonin as both are essential for various physiological functions of the body. Some of these benefits are discussed below:
Health benefits of tryptophan:
Mood regulation: Tryptophan helps in the synthesis of a neurotransmitter called serotonin which helps regulate mood, boost motivation in a person and reduce anxiety. (1,5)
Sleep improvement: Serotonin also influences the regulation of the sleep-wake hormone called melatonin. This helps promote sleep in insomniac individuals. (1)
Cognitive function: Tryptophan is also found to be involved in the production of important molecules in the brain, such as niacin. The proper functioning of the brain and cognition may rely on these molecules.
Immune support: Tryptophan helps generate niacin, which plays a crucial role in immune system function and protects you from getting sick.
Protein synthesis: Being an essential amino acid, tryptophan helps in the synthesis of protein which plays several important functions like maintaining and repairing body tissues. (3,5)
Health benefits of melatonin:
Sleep aid: Melatonin is like your sleep manager. It helps you fall asleep and wake up at the right times. Melatonin supplements can be prescribed for patients struggling with sleep. (1,4,5)
Circadian rhythm regulation: Melatonin helps in the synchronization of your regular sleeping schedule.
Antioxidant properties: Melatonin may also possess antioxidant properties which help protect the cells from getting oxidized and damaged.
Immune support: Some studies suggest that melatonin might also have immune-modulating effects. It may potentially enhance and upgrade the response of your immune system to certain challenges.
Neuroprotective effects (Brain protector): Melatonin might also help keep your brain safe and functioning well by exerting its neuroprotective effects.
It’s important to remember that while tryptophan and melatonin have various health benefits, individual responses can be different as everyone is unique in terms of brain chemistry and how they react to certain supplements.
What is the role of almond milk in sleep regulation?
Almond milk like other foods contains some nutrients that might indirectly contribute to sleep regulation. The main ingredient in almond milk is the almond itself, which contains an amino acid called tryptophan. It is considered to serve as a precursor for serotonin and melatonin production, which are neurotransmitters involved in sleep regulation. (1)
Almonds are a good source of magnesium as well and magnesium is thought to have a calming effect on your nervous system, thereby enhancing sleep quality. Almonds are also a rich source of calcium and calcium plays a role in the production of melatonin which is important for maintaining your regular sleep-wake cycle. (6)
Staying hydrated is also essential for overall health and even mild dehydration can negatively impact your sleep. Almond milk can contribute to your overall fluid intake, help you stay hydrated and improve your sleep quality.
What are the potential side effects of tryptophan and melatonin?
One must be aware of all the potential health hazards and side effects related to tryptophan and melatonin use, especially in terms of higher amounts than normal.
Considerations and side effects of tryptophan:
- Interactions with medications: Tryptophan supplements can interact with medications that increase serotonin levels, like certain antidepressants. So it’s better to consult a doctor before combining tryptophan supplements with medications. (4)
- Allergies and sensitivities: While uncommon, allergic reactions like rashes, swelling and itching on the skin or difficulty in breathing can occur to tryptophan supplements.
- Digestive issues: Some people may experience GIT discomfort while taking tryptophan supplements, such as nausea or upset stomach. These are usually mild and may go away on their own. (4)
- Serotonin syndrome: Taking tryptophan supplements in high amounts for a prolonged time or combining them with medications that increase serotonin levels like antidepressants, might lead to accumulation of serotonin in your body. Its symptoms include hallucinations, fever, seizures, confusion etc. (1)
Considerations and side effects of melatonin:
- Drowsiness and impaired alertness: Melatonin supplements can make you feel drowsy, so it’s advisable to not drive or operate heavy machinery immediately after taking them. (5)
- Interactions with medications: Melatonin can also interact with certain medications like blood thinners, anticonvulsants and immunosuppressants. Consult your doctor if you’re taking any of these medications.
- Daytime fatigue: Some people may experience fatigue and tiredness during the daytime or a hangover-like feeling after taking melatonin.
- Hormonal changes: Prolonged use of melatonin can affect your hormonal balance, including reproductive hormones.
- Individual response: The responses of individuals with dietary melatonin or its supplements can vary depending on the amount they’re consuming. (1,2,3)
As a pharmacist, in my opinion, almond milk is a good choice to add to your daily diet. It is a source of many vital nutrients and minerals that help boost your immune system and overall health. Most people who are allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant can opt for almond milk as an option.
Tryptophan and melatonin which are not present in high amounts in almond milk, are safe and effective choices to improve sleep and mood betterment. However, if you experience any discomfort it’s essential to consult your doctor.
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