Tryptophan, depresson connection

I have come across articles that : diabetics may be more likely to experience depression. We face challenges and demands that non diabetics do not experience. BG swings can cause mood swings. So that’s understandable.

I have reduced my total carbohydrate intake because it’s easier to manage my BG on a reduced carbohydrate diet. I wonder if there is a connection between reduced carbohydrate and lowered tryptophan and susequently lower mood. I think that I always feel better having more carbs (chocolates, croissants, :slight_smile: , but managing the huge BG swings drive me nuts. Therefore, I try to avoid high carb meals.

Any thoughts?

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There is evidence that eating more carbs reduces depression in some individuals, so that isn’t a crazy idea. Whether or not those on a low carb diet have a higher risk of depression has only been proven in rats. So please, for the sake of the depressed pet rats, feed them a normal carb diet. As for humans, it doesn’t look like it has been studied well enough, but the number of junk science articles taking the rat trial = human conclusion is crazy. I guess big food has been paying for some misinformation.

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I don’t take any depression medication currently but I definitely notice after an afternoon of running too high or maybe a couple days in a row of being higher than normal - I feel super emotional - mainly sad, depressed, whatever. And I also notice when I spike and start lowering to something more normal - I can very quickly feel “happier”. I think in the years prior to this T1D diagnosis things were not working correctly as I would have something sugary or high carb (I don’t eat that way anymore) and just feel emotionally (and physically) yucky. Now it’s just more pronounced.
My mom had T1D and was on several depression/anxiety medications. We always assumed it was because of the divorce and “depression/anxiety running in the family”. I don’t think that was the case - she didn’t manage her numbers well and it showed up emotionally and seemed to compound. I wish I would have understood that better back in the day and prior to my T1D dx so I could have helped her.



I came across that article referencing rats too, LOL.

I think my Dad was similar in that in those days, his doctor did not prescribe glucometers (it was in the 1970’s) and his BG managemnt was poor. My first glucometer in 1990 was the huge colorimetric one. Place a large droplet of blood and check the color for the BG. My Dad’s BG control was poor. Several times, he would be too low and eat lifesavers candy. He seemed to have become more depressed as the doctor continued to increase his insulin dosage. The doctor never counseled him on pre bolusing, managing his carb intake. My dad loved his carbs: toast, rice, zeppoles, buns of all types…etc. I think it’s possible that the glucose swings was the cause of the swings.

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People underestimate the physiological (rather than psychological) link between diabetes, mood, anxiety and depression.

Depression has many causes but one of them is poor homeostasis in the brain. (I’m loath to say “chemical imbalance” but nonetheless the brain is a precisely tuned instrument that can become unbalanced.)

Fast changing BG, high BG, and low BG all upset the balance of the brain. It’s often not a matter of “diabetes makes life hard which gets you down,” but “a physically unhealthy brain is susceptible to depression.”

Anyway, I certainly had low mood on restricted-carb diet; I felt like my brain was starved of energy. But when I’m fasting or in ketosis, there’s no problem. Mood is good.

I heard of an experiment a long time ago where they subjected one group to caloric restriction and another to multiple-day fasting. Those on caloric restriction had horrible symptoms (migraines, self-harm) and many quit the study. Those fasting lost more weight, without much trouble.

I wish I could find a reference…

Please expound on this! For example, the SAD may be 250-300 g carbs per day. What would you consider to be restricted -carb diet? Have others had similar experiences?

I wish that I’ve acquired the skills to eat 40 g carb meals and manage the BG. At this point, it would appear that I can manage certain meals up to about 25 -30 grams and have BG’s somewhere between 100-180. The larger carb meals are difficult to estimate accurately. I can never estimate Chinese and Japanese food well. Most often 1-2 hours post meal ok. 3-4 hours later BG >200.

How often do you fast?

“Low carb” for me is <80g per day. My brain is not too happy.

Ketosis in my case occurs at <40g carbs per day. (And lots of fat.) This is difficult for me to achieve—my brittleness means I get unexpected lows. If possible, I have caffeine instead of carbs when I need to increase my BG, but sometimes it’s not enough and I must have carbs.

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With the CGM graph (which works well for me) I’m not bothered by the fact that my initial estimate of carbs is routinely wrong. I check the CGM graph several times after eating, and use a sugar-surfing approach to steer the BG in a good direction. Of course a good initial estimate helps, but for me it isn’t essential.

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What do you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, for examples?