Amino acid precursors of dopamine and serotonin have been administered for decades to treat a variety of clinical conditions including depression, anxiety, insomnia, obesity, and a host of other illnesses. Dietary administration of these amino acids is designed to increase dopamine and serotonin levels within the body, particularly the brain. Convincing evidence exists that these precursors normally elevate dopamine and serotonin levels within critical brain tissues and other organs. However, their effects on urinary excretion of neurotransmitters are described in few studies and the results appear equivocal. The purpose of this study was to define, as precisely as possible, the influence of both 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and tyrosine on urinary excretion of serotonin and dopamine in a large human population consuming both 5-HTP and tyrosine. Curiously, only 5-HTP exhibited a marginal stimulatory influence on urinary serotonin excretion when 5-HTP doses were compared to urinary serotonin excretion; however, a robust relationship was observed when alterations in 5-HTP dose were compared to alterations in urinary serotonin excretion in individual patients. The data indicate three statistically discernible components to 5-HTP responses, including inverse, direct, and no relationships between urinary serotonin excretion and 5-HTP doses. The response to tyrosine was more consistent but primarily yielded an unexpected reduction in urinary dopamine excretion. These data indicate that the urinary excretion pattern of neurotransmitters after consumption of their precursors is far more complex than previously appreciated. These data on urinary neurotransmitter excretion might be relevant to understanding the effects of the precursors in other organs.
- Urinary neurotransmitters excretion