Protein is an important function and essential for building, repair and cellular replication.
Protein can be found in plant-based food, as well as animal-based food. It’s important for women to be getting 0.75g/kg of weight and men 0.84g/kg of weight. When breastfeeding or pregnant you should be eating 1g/kg of weight.
The brain communicates with itself by sending out chemical information from one neuron, or nerve cell, to another. Protein, which is broken down into amino acids, is vital for efficient chemistry and brain functioning.
Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters, and deficiencies can cause depression, impulsive and aggressive behaviour, violence, and suicidal thoughts.
Melatonin is made at night when we are sleeping in the dark but it requires amino acid tryptophan.
Once the light hits our eye, our melatonin production stops and switches to serotonin for the day, we only have as much as we created during melatonin sleep.
So you can start to see, if we don’t have enough protein to make Melatonin during sleep then we can’t make serotonin, which makes us happy.
This can occur due to lack of protein in our diet or poor absorption of the amino acid due to issues in breakdown, within the stomach and small intestine.
Other important neurotransmitters that require protein include dopamine, controlling our movement and emotional response, and GABA a neurotransmitter that lessens our response to stress and stimulation, a deficiency normally found in children with ADHD.
Some small changes can be made to increase protein and absorption rates:
- Eat the required amount of protein for your weight and sex and make sure it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids.
- Foods with complete protein include meat, poultry, fish, Quinoa, hummus, tofu, buckwheat, chia seeds, protein shakes, and rice with beans.
- Sleep in a bedroom that is dark to make sure you manufacture melatonin
- Correct your sleep- wake cycle if you wake frequently. Address this with a natural therapist.
- If you have bloating, discomfort or gas this may cause lack of absorption so address this through gut healing, digestive enzymes, probiotics etc.
- Drinking lemon water or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water 20-30 mins before meals can assist digestion.