Amino Acids and Mental Health

A recent study entitled ‘Dietary intake of branched-chain amino acids in relation to depression, anxiety and psychological distress’ was published in the Nutrition Journal. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between dietary Branch Chain Amino Acids and psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in a large sample of Iranian adults. Depression, anxiety, and psychological distress are among the most common psychiatric disorders affecting emotion and behavior. Prescribed medicines are not effective enough in the treatment of common mental disorders. Therefore, there is a great need for adjunctive treatment. Dietary intervention is one such therapy. It is well-documented that adequate amounts of nutrients are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters. Studies show that amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine might be useful in treating depression by producing neurotransmitters. This is the first study to examine the relationship between BCAAs intake and psychological disorders in humans The results of the study suggest that there may be an association between dietary BCAAs and the incident of depression and anxiety.

Reference: Glareh Koochakpoor, Asma Salari-Moghaddam, Ammar Hassanzadeh Keshteli, Hamid Afshar, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh and Peyman Adibi, Dietary intake of branched-chain amino acids in relation to depression, anxiety and psychological distress, Nutrition Journal 2021

To view the full article click here