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Clin Neuropharmacol. 1992 Apr;15(2):129-41.

Effect of a low-tryptophan diet as an adjuvant to conventional neuroleptic therapy in schizophrenia.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 20422.


Eleven patients with DSM-III-R schizophrenia were entered into a 4-day tryptophan (TRP)-deficient diet. The diet lowered total plasma TRP levels in all patients; during the diet phase, there was a greater than 50% reduction in mean total plasma TRP levels from the pre-diet phase. The low-TRP diet improved performance on the Stroop Color and Word Test. These data are especially intriguing in view of the suggestion that a deficit in color-word naming is related to frontal lobe dysfunction and the possible occurrence of frontal lobe abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia. Interestingly, depressive symptomatology did not emerge on the TRP-deficient diet, despite the lowering of total plasma TRP levels. There were statistically significant improvements noted on objective ratings of the severity of psychotic symptomatology; however, these statistical improvements were without obvious clinical significance, as the magnitude of the changes on the behavioral ratings were minimal. The results of this study suggest that there might be some adjuvant potential for a low-TRP diet in the treatment of schizophrenia, and that schizophrenia or antipsychotic medications might offer some protection against the depressive effects of a TRP-deficient diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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