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Plantains and L-Tryptophan

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 19, 2013 at 12:05 AM

I know this is rather specific, but...

I keep hearing that plantains are a great source of l-tryptophan, but my research doesn't show that to be true. What's up with that?

Also, if there is something to it, is there a difference in the l-tryptophan content of underripe vs. ripe plantains?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on July 19, 2013
at 11:56 AM

Yeah, more important than tryptophan *content* is how much actually gets into the brain. I wonder if they've measured that... Perhaps plantains have a good amount of tryptophan for the amount of protein it has, making it cross the BBB better than a beef patty. Is it the lack of protein or the abundance of carbs that helps tryptophan cross the BBB? Can you provide a source for this idea?

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1 Answers

1
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 19, 2013
at 01:33 AM

Here's the nutritional report on plantains: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2367?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=25&sort=&qlookup=plantain&offset=&format=Full&new=

So yes, 27mg tryptophan per plantain. That's about the amount in 1/6 of a small hamburger patty. Sounds like we've busted a myth here.

There is at least some non-mythic evidence that eating carbohydrates that are low in protein can help tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier and contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis. So perhaps that's what people are thinking of.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on July 19, 2013
at 11:56 AM

Yeah, more important than tryptophan *content* is how much actually gets into the brain. I wonder if they've measured that... Perhaps plantains have a good amount of tryptophan for the amount of protein it has, making it cross the BBB better than a beef patty. Is it the lack of protein or the abundance of carbs that helps tryptophan cross the BBB? Can you provide a source for this idea?

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