Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids that the organism needs. The body cannot produce it on its own, which is the reason it must be supplied through food or a dietary supplement.
Tryptophan, also known as L-tryptophan, provides countless benefits for health. One of the most important properties is that it improves the state of mind, due to an increase in serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that causes a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.
It also helps people who suffer from insomnia to sleep. It reduces depressive mood states and helps athletes to improve their physical performance.
Tryptophan is a dietary supplement that is available without medical prescription, and can be used as a treatment for some pathologies, or to compensate for a possible deficiency of this substance in the organism.
What is Tryptophan?
It is a proteinogenic amino acid that the human organism needs for several functions. It is naturally produced in plants and in proteins of animal origin.
When the body absorbs this amino acid, through the diet or dietary supplements, it is transformed into 5-hydroxytryptophan, which in turn is transformed into serotonin, the hormone in charge of the transmission of signals between nerve cells.
A deficiency can cause severe mood swings. It is naturally found in many foods that are rich in protein, such as red meat, eggs, poultry, cheese, milk, yogurt, fish, bananas, peanuts, oats, chocolate, spirulina and sunflower seeds.
Although it is present in all these foods, a poor diet can lead to a deficiency of this substance in the organism. Tryptophan dietary supplements can fix this deficiency and compensate the negative effects that could be produced in the body.
The levels of this amino acid should be kept stable in order to facilitate a healthy functioning of the body. An increase in serotonin levels helps to sleep more deeply, to improve physical performance, alleviate depression and anxiety, and in some cases, to prevent the grinding of teeth during the night.
The health benefits of Tryptophan
Among the benefits of tryptophan for health we highlight the following ones:
- Increases the levels of serotonin in the human brain
- Helps to sleep easily and prevents insomnia
- Prevents the symptoms of depression
- Avoids anxiety
- Improves physical and mental performance
Tryptophan to increase serotonin
Serotonin levels are increased by consuming tryptophan or L-tryptophan.
Serotonin acts as a modulator of the functioning of other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine (associated to problems such as anxiety, fear, or aggressiveness).
- It blocks aggression and wrath.
- It controls appetite (satiety) and helps to sleep.
- It is involved in the regulation of body temperature.
- It is involved in the regulation of mood.
- It influences the sexual response.
- It inhibits vomiting.
- It is involved in the control of motor, cognitive, and perceptual activity.
- It participates in the regulation of hormones (the growth hormone, for example).
It is clear that the body can only absorb a limited amount daily, as it happens with any other dietary supplement. To find out the exact dose you need, please consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
Tryptophan helps you to sleep better
If you sleep badly at night, you should analyse your levels of this amino acid. A deficiency can lead to insomnia or wake you up several times during the night.
Clinical studies have shown that sleep disorders can be treated by consuming tryptophan. There is nothing worse than being tired and not being able to sleep.
If you use tryptophan you will see that you fall asleep quickly. Moreover, it has also been proven that using tryptophan capsules improves the attitude of people with insomnia, by regulating their sleep habits and recovering the sleep that has been lost for so long.
Tryptophan and depression
Another good reason to consume this amino acid is that it helps to combat the symptoms of depression, since it regulates serotonin levels and improves mood.
Tryptophan capsules help to regulate the levels of this amino acid in the organism and to fight against depression and sudden mood changes caused by its deficiency.
Tryptophan and sport
Consuming tryptophan while doing sports or physical exercise reduces the symptoms of fatigue. While many athletes can withstand physical pain very well, others have to stop when they feel pain, because the human brain tells the body that it must stop.
A lack of mental strength is the main reason why most people give up sports. In some cases, an increase of this amino acid can increase physical performance and endurance in athletes and sportspeople.
Therefore, it is a supplement that is aimed at sportspeople who want to have a positive attitude and not be distracted from their goals.
Who can benefit from Tryptophan?
- People who have difficulty to sleep
- People with a serotonin deficiency
- People suffering from depression
- Sportspeople who want to improve their physical performance and mental endurance
Tryptophan, interactions and combinations
Serious interactions may result if this amino acid is consumed along with the following medications: antidepressants (all antidepressants can interact with L-tryptophan), MAO inhibitors, sedatives and clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), and others.
None of these products should be consumed together with tryptophan. Moreover, you must also be careful not to combine tryptophan with the following medications: dextromethorphan, meperidine, pentazocine, phenothiazines, and tramadol.
If you are using any of these medications, you should first consult your doctor or a pharmacist before consuming tryptophan supplements.
Recommended dose and intake of Tryptophan
The recommended dose of tryptophan depends on the age, health, and the particular circumstances of each person. The dose should not exceed a 500 to 1000 mg daily.
When should we consume Tryptophan?
It is recommended for the treatment of the following symptoms:
- To compensate for a serotonin deficiency
- To relieve sleep problems
- To alleviate the symptoms of depression or anxiety.