- Birth season
- Circadian typology
- Infants aged 2 to 5 years
This study aims to examine the relationship between tyrosine and phenylalanine intake at breakfast as precursors of dopamine, and scores on the Torsvall-Åkerstedt Diurnal Type Scale and of mental health in Japanese infants aged 2 to 5 years.
An integrated questionnaire was administered to parents of 1,367 infants attending one of ten nursery schools governed by Kochi City or a kindergarten affiliated with the Faculty of Education at Kochi University (775 answers for analysis: 56.7%) in May and June 2008. Questionnaires included the Torsvall-Åkerstedt Diurnal Type Scale and questions on sleep habits (onset, offset, quality, quantity, and so on), meal habits (content and regularity of timing), and mental health (depressive states). Amount of tyrosine and phenylalanine intake was calculated based on a breakfast content questionnaire and data on the components of amino acids in foods. Infants who ingested more than 800 mg of tyrosine or phenylalanine at breakfast per meal were more morning-type than those who ingested less than 800 mg (ANOVA: P= 0.005). However, this relationship disappeared in the ANCOVA analysis (with the covariance of tryptophan intake, P= 0.894). Infants who ingested more than 800 mg of the two amino acids at breakfast showed significantly higher mental health scores (lower frequency of depressive states) than those who ingested less than 800 mg (ANOVA: P = 0.004). This relationship remained significant when ANCOVA analysis was performed with the covariance of tryptophan (ANCOVA: P= 0.017).