Does Chromium Help Tryptophan Enter the Brain?

November 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Atypical Depression, Research

Dear Dr. McLeod

Thank you so much for your work on chromium and depression.  Here is my question: I know that tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, and that brain levels of serotonin are involed in depression.  Has any research been conducted to answer the question whether chromium helps tryptophan enter the brain?

ANSWER:

Yes. Research on this topic has been conducted by a group on splendid investigators in the Department of Psychiatry at Warneford Hospital in Oxford, England.  They concluded that “Chromium can modify brain 5-HT function in humans and animals, perhaps by altering the sensitivity of central 5-HT(2A) receptors.”  This may be the mechanism whereby chromium helps some people.  I would certainly like to see more research on this topic.

Thank you for  your question.

Malcolm N. McLeod, MD