Of the 22 different amino acids in proteins, eight are ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS are NOT produced by the body, but must be obtained through DIET. Essential amino acids include:
Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Valine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, and TRYPTOPHAN
Since we are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s important to highlight TRYPTOPHAN. When TRYPTOPHAN reaches the CNS (crosses the blood-brain barrier), it is converted into SEROTONIN (affects mood) and MELATONIN (affects sleep-wake cycles). TRYPTOPHAN is also a biological precursor of NIACIN (vitamin B3). Tryptophan is found in most protein-based foods and egg whites, spinach, and cheese actually contain higher amounts of tryptophan than TURKEY. So if you feel tired after eating a big meal on Thanksgiving, it might simply be from the daily grind of dental school and not the turkey! Happy Thanksgiving from DENTIN.