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Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 Sep;32(9):1912-22.

Diurnal variations in plasma concentrations of tryptophan, tryosine, and other neutral amino acids: effect of dietary protein intake.


The effect of dietary protein content on the diurnal variations in plasma neutral amino acid levels was studied in normal human subjects. For three consecutive 5-day periods, subjects consumed diets containing 0, 75, or 150 g of egg protein per day. Blood samples were drawn at 4-hr intervals on the 4th and 5th days of each period. Consumption of the protein-free diet caused plasma concentrations of all amino acids studied to fall in the late morning and afternoon, while the 150-g protein diet elicited increases in these levels during the daytime. Ingestion of the diet containing 75 g of egg protein tended to diminish the amplitudes of the daily rhythms in plasma amino acid levels, but most amino acids still exhibited small but significant elevations late in the evening. At all times of day, plasma concentrations of the large neutral amino acids studied (i.e., aromatic and branched-chain amino acids, and methionine) varied directly with the protein content of the diet. In contrast, the relationships between dietary protein content and the plasma concentrations of glycine and alanine, two small neutral amino acids, were inverse. The ratios of plasma tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine levels to the sum of the concentrations of other large neutral amino acids tended to fall as the protein content of the diet was increased. The corresponding ratio for valine increased as protein was added to the diet, while the leucine and isoleucine ratios were not correlated with dietary protein content. Since diet-induced changes in plasma trypotphan and tyrosine ratios in animals are known to cause parallel alterations in brain tryptophan and tyrosine levels, and thus in the rates of brain serotonin and catecholamine synthesis, our data suggest that ingestion of carbohydrates and protein may also normally affected brain monoamine synthesis in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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