Vitamin supplements guide   Vitamins & health supplements guide

 
Tryptophan quick review
Description: an essential amino acid formed from proteins during digestion by the action of proteolytic enzymes.
Health benefits: enhance relaxation and sleep, relieves minor premenstrual symptoms, soothes nerves and anxiety, and reduces carbohydrate cravings.

Sources & dosage: chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, and peanuts.
Deficiency symptoms: deficiency of tryptophan may lead to depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and carbohydrate craving.

Side effects: overdose symptoms include agitation, confusion, diarrhea, fever, overactive reflexes, poor coordination, restlessness, sweating, and vomiting.
 
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5-HTP is an intermediate in the natural conversion of the essential amino acid, tryptophan, to serotonin. Clinical studies have shown that 5-HTP increases the amount and availability of serotonin produced by the body. Source Naturals 5-HTP is naturally derived from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia. Source Naturals 5-HTP is manuafactured according to the highest pharmaceutical standards and uses only the best quality raw ingredients. Click here for more information.
 

Tryptophan


Tryptophan (l- tryptophan) is an essential amino acid formed from proteins during digestion by the action of proteolytic enzymes. Tryptophan contributes to the structure of proteins into which it has been incorporated by the tendency of its side chain to participate in hydrophobic interactions. Tryptophan can only be obtained through food and cannot be produced within the body. Many naturally occurring physiological substauces are derived from l-tryptophan such as serotonin, which is involved in vasopressure regulation, and indolacetic acid, which is a plant hormone and also involved in elevated blood pressure, ergotamine, strychnine and other indole alkaloids. Tryptophan is also a precursor for serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and melatonin (a neurohormone). In the body, tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP, which then can be converted into serotonin (a potent neurotransmitter in the brain). Serotonin is involved in mood, appetite, sleep and impulse control. When carbohydrates are consumed, an increase in insulin is created, removing from circulation other amino acids that compete with tryptophan. This makes it easy for tryptophan to enter the brain to make serotonin, which influences the brain in regulating food intake and sleep patterns.

 

Tryptophan functions, uses, and health benefits


Tryptophan may enhance relaxation and sleep, relieves minor premenstrual symptoms, soothes nerves and anxiety, and reduces carbohydrate cravings. Tryptophan is important for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the key brain chemicals involved
in regulating mood. When depression occurs, there may be a decreased amount of serotonin released from nerve cells in the brain. By increasing the amount of serotonin in the blood, tryptophan may increase serotonin’s antidepressant effects. Tryptophan is only used in combination with other antidepressant therapy.

Tryptophan is necessary for the production of niacin (B3) and requires B6, biotin, vitamin C and zinc to form the enzyme needed for conversion. Tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptamine (the middle step in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin) supplementation may help increase serotonin levels and help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. Tryptophan is useful in treating menopausal depressive conditions and alleviating the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Tryptophan helps control hyperactivity in children, relieves stress, and enhances the release of growth hormones necessary for the production of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

Serotonin may play a role in the regulation of appetite and weight loss. More serotonin is released in response to high carbohydrate meals which is thought to decrease appetite and improve mood. Tryptophan is also involved in the body’s regulation of sleep. Increasing tryptophan may help to normalize sleep patterns. Tryptophan has also been found that people suffering from migraine headaches have abnormal levels of tryptophan, and in this supplementation may be helpful.

 

Dietary sources of tryptophan


The best sources of tryptophan are chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, and peanuts. Less concentration is available in corn, cereal grains, legumes (peas and beans), flesh foods, eggs, dairy products, some nuts and seeds and in the casein component of milk. For the maximum effect with tryptophan, use a moderately high carbohydrate-low protein diet since less serotonin will be produced because of less amino acid competition.

 

Tryptophan dosage, intake


The dose of l-tryptophan will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label for proper intake. A common dosage is one 500 mg capsule for every 50 lbs. of body weight, one hour before bedtime. To treat mental depression, adults should take 8 to 12 grams per day, given in 3 to 4 equally divided doses. It is best not to take tryptophan with protein, which competes with tryptophan for absorption. Vitamin B6 and magnesium enhance the effect of tryptophan.

 

Tryptophan deficiency


Because tryptophan supplies part of vitamin B3 in the body, deficiency of tryptophan can increase risk of vitamin B3 deficiency. Deficiency of tryptophan in the diet enhances the progress of the vitamin-deficiency disease pellagra. Tryptophan deficiency is likely to occur in individuals with poor overall protein intake. A deficiency of tryptophan may lead to depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and carbohydrate craving. Combined with a shortage of magnesium, this deficiency may be a contributing factor to heart artery spasms.

 

Toxicity, side effects, interactions, and contraindications


Tryptophan may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. This medicine may cause dryness of the mouth. Symptoms of tryptophan overdose include agitation, confusion, diarrhea, fever, overactive reflexes, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, alking or acting with excitement you cannot control, trembling or shaking, twitching, and vomiting. Avoid combining l-tryptophan with other serotonin increasing agents such as 5-HTP or SSRI drugs, such as Prozac, Paxil, etc.