Protein is an important function and essential for building, repair and cellular replication. Protein can be found in plant-based food, as well as animal based food.

It’s important for women to be getting 0.75g/kg of weight and men 0.84g/kg of weight. When breastfeeding or pregnant you should be eating 1g/kg of weight.

The brain communicates with itself by sending out chemical information from one neuron, or nerve cell to another. Protein, which is broken down into amino acids, is vital for efficient chemistry and brain function.

Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters, and deficiencies can cause depression, impulsive and aggressive behaviour, violence and suicidal thoughts.

Melatonin is made at night when we are sleeping in the dark but it requires amino acid tryptophan. Once the light hits our eye, our melatonin production stops and switches to serotonin for the day, we only have as much as we created during melatonin sleep.

So you can start to see, if we don’t have enough protein to make melatonin during sleep then we can’t make serotonin, which makes us happy.

This can occur due to lack of protein in our diet or poor absorption of the amino acid due to issues in breakdown, within the stomach and small intestine.

Another important neurotransmitter that requires protein include dopamine, controlling our movement and emotional response, and GABA a neurotransmitter that lessens our response to stress and stimulation, deficiency normally found in children with ADHD.

Some small changes can be made to increase protein and absorption:

  • Eat the required amount of protein for your weight and sex and make sure it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids.

Foods with complete protein include meat, poultry, fish, quinoa, hummus, tofu, buckwheat, chia seeds, protein shakes and rice with beans.

  • Sleep in a bedroom that is dark to make sure you manufacture melatonin.
  • Correct your sleep-wake cycle if you wake frequently address with natural therapist.
  • If you have bloating, discomfort or gas this may cause lack of absorption so address this through gut healing, digestive enzymes, probiotics etc.
  • Drinking lemon water or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water 20-30 mins before meals can assist digestion.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • this was an interesting article to read. I learnt something new

    Reply

  • I guess this is also important while breastfeeding!

    Reply

  • This is fascinating. My partner and I take a melatonin supplement as we aren’t very good sleepers, he more than I

    Reply

  • I’d never heard this benefit of protein before – thank you.

    Reply

  • I think this is a worry for any vegetarian (I used to be one myself, but had to reintroduce for health reason) or vegan. If they’re not getting enough protein, it can lead to problems. Great tips to consider though and I know anyone can have a protein deficiency so this is a great article to read.

    Reply

  • I really enjoyed reading this article. As a mum I am conscious of my sons diet and probable side effects from foods/lack of.
    I’d love to see more nutrition based efucation in schools, teaching children how to make healthy choices for a happy healthy life.

    Reply

  • This explains so very much. Thank you so much for sharing! Now to get on the road to recovery! :D

    Reply

  • Melatonin has a hormone in it according to some different pharmacists O have spoken to. I am not sure it should be given without a GP or specialist’s advice. A lot of people don’t digest Chia Seeds well at all. Maybe try the other protein rich food first or introduce them in your diet slowly.
    There is also a theory that artificial colourings and flavourings can have the same symptoms and perhaps cause ADHD. I heard about a young boy who got really hyperactive and extremely difficult to control his behaviour so he didn’t hurt anybody or himself.


    • Melatonin is naturally made by the body through the process of sleep, I never suggested giving it artificially. Yes there are many form of protein as suggested in the article both vegetarian form and meat forms. Yes of course there are many other reasons for ADHD as you mentioned def artificial colours and flavours, diet plays a massive role in behavioural problems and reducing sugars and increasing whole foods makes a big difference.

    Reply

  • A very informative article to read.

    Reply

  • an interesting read and finding. thanks.

    Reply

  • Very interesting article!!

    Reply

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