The treatment of obesity by carbohydrate deprivation suppresses plasma tryptophan and its ratio to other large neutral amino acids.J Neural Transm. 1983; 57(3):187-95.JN
We measured plasma concentrations of tryptophan (Trp) and the other large neutral amino acids (LNAA) in 6 control and 7 obese subjects before and after they consumed a low-carbohydrate "protein-sparing modified fast" (PSMF) diet; LNAA levels in control subjects were also assessed after supplemental oral Trp. Consumption of the PSMF diet by non-obese subjects, or obesity per se, caused major reductions in the ratio of the plasma Trp concentration to the summed plasma concentrations of the other LNAA (i.e., the "plasma Trp ratio"), and may thus have diminished brain serotonin synthesis. Administration of even 2 g of supplemental Trp did not elevate the plasma Trp ratio beyond the normal range observed previously in subjects consuming carbohydrate-containing meals.