Mood, performance, and pain sensitivity: Changes induced by food constituents

Harris R. Lieberman*, Suzanne Corkin, Bonnie J. Spring, John H. Growdon, Richard J. Wurtman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations


We examined the behavioral effects of the dietary constituents tryptophan and tyrosine on human mood, sensorimotor performance and pain sensitivity. Tryptophan and tyrosine are neurotransmitter precursors present in varying amount in protein-containing foods. Tryptophan (50 mg/kg) increased subjective drowsiness and fatigue but unlike many hypnotics did not impair sensorimotor performance. Tryptophan also decreased human pain sensitivity in a manner that was more specific than certain analgesic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1982


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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