8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

L-tryptophan: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage & Interactions

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

Bell C, Abrams J, Nutt D. Tryptophan depletion and its implications for psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry 2001;178:399-405.. View abstract.

Bohme A, Wolter M, Hoelzer D. L-tryptophan-related eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome possibly associated with a chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia. Ann Hematol 1998;77:235-8.

Bornstein RA, Baker GB, Carroll A, et al. Plasma amino acids in attention deficit disorder. Psychiatry Res 1990;33:301-6.. View abstract.

Bowen DJ, Spring B, Fox E. Tryptophan and high-carbohydrate diets as adjuncts to smoking cessation therapy. J Behav Med 1991;14:97-110. View abstract.

Bryant SM, Kolodchak J. Serotonin syndrome resulting from an herbal detox cocktail. Am J Emerg Med 2004;22:625-6. View abstract.

Carr L, Ruther E, Berg PA, Lehnert H. Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome in Germany: an epidemiologic review. Mayo Clin Proc 1994;69:620-5. View abstract.

Delgado PL, Price LH, Miller HL. Serotonin and the neurobiology of depression. Effects of tryptophan depletion in drug-free depressed patients. Arch Gen Psychiatr 1994;51:865-74. View abstract.

Devoe LD, Castillo RA, Searle NS. Maternal dietary substrates and human fetal biophysical activity. The effects of tryptophan and glucose on fetal breathing movements. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1986;155:135-9. View abstract.

Etzel KR, Stockstill JW, Rugh JD. Tryptophan supplementation for nocturnal bruxism: report of negative results. J Craniomandib Disord 1991;5:115-20. View abstract.

Ghadirian AM, Murphy BE, Gendron MJ. Efficacy of light versus tryptophan therapy in seasonal affective disorder. J Affect Disord 1998;50:23-7. View abstract.

Ghose K. l-Tryptophan in hyperactive child syndrome associated with epilepsy: a controlled study. Neuropsychobiology 1983;10:111-4. View abstract.

Greenberg AS, Takagi H, Hill RH, et al. Delayed onset of skin fibrosis after the ingestion of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome-associated L-tryptophan. J Am Acad Dermatol 1996;35:264-6. View abstract.

Hartmann E, Spinweber CL. Sleep induced by L-tryptophan. Effect of dosages within the normal dietary intake. J Nerv Ment Dis 1979;167:497-9. View abstract.

Hatch DL, Goldman LR. Reduced severity of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome associated with consumption of vitamin-containing supplements before illness. Arch Intern Med 1993;153: 2368-73. View abstract.

Horwitz RI, Daniels SR. Bias or biology: evaluating the epidemiologic studies of L-tryptophan and the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. J Rheumatol Suppl 1996;46:60-72. View abstract.

Hudson JI, Pope HG, Daniels SR, Horwitz RI. Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome or fibromyalgia with eosinophilia? JAMA 1993;269:3108-9. View abstract.

Kilbourne EM, Philen RM, Kamb ML, Falk H. Tryptophan produced by Showa Denko and epidemic eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. J Rheumatol Suppl 1996;46:81-8. View abstract.

Klein R, Berg PA. A comparative study on antibodies to nucleoli and 5-hydroxytryptamine in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome and tryptophan-induced eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Clin Investig 1994;72:541-9.. View abstract.

Korner E, Bertha G, Flooh E, et al. Sleep-inducing effect of L-tryptophane. Eur Neurol 1986;25 Suppl 2:75-81. View abstract.

Lieberman HR, Corkin S, Spring BJ. The effects of dietary neurotransmitter precursors on human behavior. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;42:366-70. View abstract.

Mayeno AN, Gleich GJ. The eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome: lessons from Germany. Mayo Clin Proc 1994;69:702-4. View abstract.

Messiha FS. Fluoxetine: adverse effects and drug-drug interactions. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1993;31:603-30. View abstract.

Murphy FC, Smith KA, Cowen PJ, et al. The effects of tryptophan depletion on cognitive and affective processing in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2002;163:42-53.. View abstract.

Nardini M, De Stefano R, Iannuccelli M, et al. Treatment of depression with L-5-hydroxytryptophan combined with chlorimipramine, a double-blind study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1983;3:239-50. View abstract.

Philen RM, Hill RH, Flanders WD, et al. Tryptophan contaminants associated with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Am J Epidemiol 1993;138:154-9. View abstract.

Priori R, Conti F, Luan FL, et al. Chronic fatigue: a peculiar evolution of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome following treatment with L-tryptophan in four Italian adolescents. Eur J Pediatr 1994;153:344-6.. View abstract.

Schmidt HS. L-tryptophan in the treatment of impaired respiration in sleep. Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir 1983;19:625-9. View abstract.

Seltzer S, Dewart D, Pollack R, Jackson E. The effects of dietary tryptophan on chronic maxillofacial pain and experimental pain tolerance. J Psychiatr Res 1982-83;17:181-6. View abstract.

Shapiro S. Epidemiologic studies of the association of L-tryptophan with the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome: a critique. J Rheumatol Suppl 1996;46:44-58. View abstract.

Shapiro S. L-tryptophan and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Lancet 1994;344:817-9.View abstract.

Sharma RP, Shapiro LE, Kamath SK. Acute dietary tryptophan depletion: effects on schizophrenic positive and negative symptoms. Neuropsychobiol 1997;35:5-10. View abstract.

Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C. Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(1):CD003198. View abstract.

Simat TJ, Kleeberg KK, Muller B, Sierts A. Synthesis, formation, and occurrence of contaminants in biotechnologically manufactured L-tryptophan. Adv Exp Med Biol 1999;467:469-80.. View abstract.

Singhal AB, Caviness VS, Begleiter AF, et al. Cerebral vasoconstriction and stroke after use of serotonergic drugs. Neurology 2002;58:130-3. View abstract.

Smith KA, Fairburn CG, Cowen PJ. Symptomatic relapse in bulimia nervosa following acute tryptophan depletion. Arch Gen Psychiatr 1999;56:171-6. View abstract.

Steinberg S, Annable L, Young SN, Liyanage N. A placebo-controlled study of the effects of L-tryptophan in patients with premenstrual dysphoria. Adv Exp Med Biol 1999;467:85-8. View abstract.

Stockstill JW, McCall D Jr., Gross AJ. The effect of L-tryptophan supplementation and dietary instruction on chronic myofascial pain. J Am Dent Assoc 1989;118:457-60. View abstract.

Sullivan EA, Kamb ML, Jones JL, et al. The natural history of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome in a tryptophan-exposed cohort in South Carolina. Arch Intern Med 1996;156:973-9. View abstract.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements. Information Paper on L-Tryptophan and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan, February 2001.

van Hall G, Raaymakers JS, Saris WH. Ingestion of branched-chain amino acids and tryptophan during sustained exercise in man: failure to affect performance. J Physiol (Lond) 1995;486:789-94. View abstract.

van Praag HM. Management of depression with serotonin precursors. Biol Psychiatry 1981;16:291-310.. View abstract.

Walinder J, Skott A, Carlsson A, et al. Potentiation of the antidepressant action of clomipramine by tryptophan. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1976;33:1384-89.. View abstract.

(5-hydroxytryptophan) Liquid

Disclaimer: This homeopathic product has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety or efficacy. FDA is not aware of scientific evidence to support homeopathy as effective.

Inactive Ingredients:

Demineralized water, 20% Ethanol

To be used according to standard homeopathic indications.**

**These statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.


To be used according to standard homeopathic indications.**

**These statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.


Adults and children 5 to 10 drops orally, 1 time daily or as otherwise directed by a health care professional. If symptoms persist, consult your health care professional. Consult a physician for use in children under 12 years of age.


Keep reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.


No information provided.

Dist. by Energique, Inc. 201 Apple Blvd, Woodbine, IA 51579. Revised: N/A

About how much does an adult human brain weigh? See Answer

Side Effects & Drug Interactions

No information provided.


No information provided.

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.

Keep reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

Do not use if tamper evident seal is broken or missing. Store in a cool, dry place.


Keep reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.


No information provided.

Overdosage & Contraindications

No information provided. No information provided.

No information provided. Please refer to the WARNINGS section.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Source: https://www.rxlist.com/l-tryptophan/supplements.htm

L-tryptophan: Uses and Risks

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body make proteins and certain brain-signaling chemicals.

Your body changes L-tryptophan into a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin helps control your mood and sleep.

You can get all the L-tryptophan that your body needs by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Supplement doses depend on the health condition you are trying to prevent or treat.

Some people take L-tryptophan supplements to try to help them sleep. 

Low levels of L-tryptophan have been seen in people with depression. Some claim up to 6 grams of L-tryptophan daily may help improve your mood or ward off mental health disorders such as depression.

There is limited research to back these claims and studies show mixed results in supporting these claims.

Some women take L-tryptophan supplements to try to ease mood swings due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The theory is that these conditions may be linked to a problem with serotonin processing in the body, and that L-tryptophan could help that. However, there is little evidence to show this really works.

Early research in people hints that L-tryptophan supplements may be helpful for:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

L-tryptophan is found in meats such as turkey and chicken.

It is also found in:

  • Bananas
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Dried dates
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Oats
  • Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Tree nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter

The amount of L-tryptophan in these foods is small compared to supplements.

L-tryptophan has been linked to a dangerous, even deadly condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). The FDA recalled tryptophan supplements in 1989 after tens of thousands of people who took them became sick, and some died.

EMS causes sudden and severe muscle pain, nerve damage, skin changes, and other debilitating symptoms. Doctors saw a lot fewer people with EMS after the ban.

Some research suggests the sickness was due to contaminants that got into the supplements during manufacturing in a factory in Japan.

The supplements have since been re-introduced to the U.S. market.

Side effects of L-tryptophan may include:

L-tryptophan can interfere with many different medicines. Do not take L-tryptophan if you are on antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), MAO inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants and atypical antidepressants.. Doing so may lead to a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome are:

L-tryptophan supplements should be used with caution in pregnant women.

Talk to your doctors before taking this supplement if you have scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)

Always tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking, including natural ones and those bought without a prescription. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with any medications.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA.


News release, National Institute of Mental Health.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: “Sleep Disorders and CAM.”

Allan, J.A. Arthritis and Rheumatism, November 2011.

Fernstrom J.D. The Journal of Nutrition, December 2012.

Castell, L.M. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1999.

Shannon, M.W., Borron, S.W., Burns, M.J., editors, Shannon: Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Gold Standard Database: “L-tryptophan Drug Monograph.”

Kemper, K.J. Pediatric Clinics of North America, December 2007.

Vigod, S. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, June 2010.

Alternative Medicine Review, 2006.

Lieberman, H.R., Tryptophan Intake in the US Adult Population Is Not Related to Liver or Kidney Function but Is Associated with Depression and Sleep Outcomes.Journal of Nutrition, December 2016.

Yurcheshen M, Seehuus M, Pigeon W. Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research.Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015

Richard, D., Dawes, M., Mathias, C., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., Dougherty, D: L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications, International Journal of Tryptophan Research 2013

Sarris J, Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Am J Psychiatry. June 2016

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/l-tryptophan-uses-and-risks

The health benefits of 5-HTP: For sleep, weight loss, and depression

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

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L-5 hydroxytryptophan is a natural chemical in the body that people can also take as a nutritional supplement. Some people believe that taking the supplement can improve certain aspects of health, including mental health and sleep quality.

The compound is a natural precursor to a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps produce “feel-good” chemicals in the brain and body.

However, there is little significant research to prove that L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can offer such benefits.

In this article, learn about the possible benefits of 5-HTP, as well as its possible side effects.

Share on PinterestManufacturers use the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia to produce 5-HTP supplements.

The body produces serotonin through a series of chemical steps, starting with the amino acid L-tryptophan. One of the chemicals on the way from transforming L-tryptophan to serotonin is 5-HTP.

The chemical was only available via prescription until 1995, when the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it as an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement.

Manufacturers derive the supplement from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, which is an African plant. The supplement does not naturally occur in foods.

Some people believe that taking 5-HTP can increase the amount of serotonin in the body. Doctors have previously linked a lack of serotonin with a number of medical conditions, including depression.

As a result, some doctors recommend taking 5-HTP along with regular medications for certain conditions.

Many studies into the health benefits of 5-HTP and sleep are animal models.

For example, a 2018 study looked the effects of 5-HTP and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) on fruit flies, mice, and rats. The scientists used caffeine to induce sleeplessness, then they administered the GABA/5-HTP combination.

They found that the combination could induce sleep and seemed to enhance sleep quality and length of sleeping time.

Another review of treatments available for sleep problems found that 5-HTP may be beneficial in treating disorders of arousal, such as sleep terrors and sleepwalking.

Taking 5-HTP may support behaviors that help a person lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

In a 2017 study that appears in the journal Brain and Behavior, scientists gave seven healthy human participants a 5-HTP supplement and another seven a vitamin C supplement.

They then performed an MRI scan while showing participants real food and images of food to see how their brains responded.

A brain response for protein-rich foods was more ly to occur in those who took the 5-HTP supplement than in people who did not.

Protein can help a person maintain a healthy body weight, so the researchers concluded that 5-HTP may help a person lose weight by reducing cravings for unhealthful foods.

It is vital to note that this study was very small, so larger-scale research is necessary to validate these results.

Another project studied 20 women who were overweight, 10 of whom took a 5-HTP supplement for 4 weeks. The other 10 women took a placebo for the same amount of time.

At the end of the study, the women who took 5-HTP reported greater feelings of satiety, or fullness, when eating, which led to a decreased food intake. The women who took 5-HTP also had reduced body mass index (BMI).

While these studies were very small, they showed some promise that 5-HTP could help weight loss efforts.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a common treatment for depression. These medications work by preventing the body from breaking down serotonin, thereby increasing the amount that is available in the body.

Some researchers believe that 5-HTP could act in a similar way by increasing the amount of 5-HTP in the body. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of research to support this.

An older meta-analysis examined the results of studies on 5-HTP and tryptophan in relieving depression symptoms. While the authors reviewed more than 100 studies related to the topic, they found that few studies used high-quality methods.

The researchers concluded that there was not enough evidence to say that 5-HTP had a greater effect than a placebo on depression.

However, they did note that some of the studies found that 5-HTP could be better than placebo in some people. These studies were too old, however, to represent the latest clinical research methods.

Another challenge in using 5-HTP to treat depression is that the supplement does not usually last long in the body, which rapidly absorbs and eliminates it.

These characteristics can keep it from being an effective method to treat depression.

If researchers could find a way to make 5-HTP last longer in the body, it may show more promise as a depression treatment, according to one study.

Some natural medicine proponents believe that taking 5-HTP supplements can help reduce anxiety and panic. However, most of the research about 5-HTP and anxiety is 15–20 years old.

One research study from 2002 found that taking 5-HTP reduced anxiety and panic in people with panic disorder. However, the researchers did not find any difference in anxiety in other participants who did not have a panic disorder.

Doctors know that a lack of serotonin is ly to play a role in anxiety and panic. However, studies have not yet proven that using 5-HTP to increase serotonin is an effective strategy for reducing anxiety.

Much of the focus on using 5-HTP for pain relief surrounds the treatment of fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic nerve pain. Chronic pain from fibromyalgia can affect a person’s sleep and mood.

Studies on 5-HTP and fibromyalgia are limited and too old to provide significant results. A study from 1990, for example, found that taking the supplement may help reduce symptoms in participants with primary fibromyalgia syndrome, but larger and newer studies are necessary to confirm these results.

However, a small study in an animal model found that 5-HTP might reduce the perception of pain.

Supplement manufacturers sell 5-HTP in a variety of dosages. These include 25-, 50-, and 100-milligram (mg) capsules.

Some supplement manufacturers may also add 5-HTP to multivitamins. There is no specific recommended daily allowance for 5-HTP.

Most people will take 50–100 mg per day after starting at a lower dose of 25 mg and increasing the dose weekly.

A person should read their supplement label and talk to a doctor before taking any supplement.

It is vital to remember the FDA do not regulate supplements. A person should purchase supplements from a reputable manufacturer and store them as the label advises.

Share on PinterestSide effects of 5-HTP may include nausea and dizziness.

According to some research, taking 5-HTP may increase serotonin but deplete or reduce the amounts of other neurotransmitters. These include dopamine and norepinephrine.

This side effect could actually make some medical conditions worse. Examples of such conditions include:

This is more ly to occur when a person has taken 5-HTP supplements long-term. Some people may suggest taking 5-HTP along with a supplement that increases the amount of dopamine in the body, such as l-tyrosine or l-dopa.

Other potential side effects of taking 5-HTP supplements include:

Before taking 5-HTP, it is vital to check with a doctor to ensure the supplement will not interfere with any medical conditions or medications.

5-HTP has been available as a prescription medication and an OTC supplement for several decades. During this time, no large-scale studies have yet concluded that the supplement may successfully treat any medical condition.

It is possible that taking 5-HTP could have some short-term benefits in promoting sleep and weight loss.

Taking 5-HTP long-term could deplete stores of other vital neurotransmitters. A person should talk to their doctor if they are thinking of taking 5-HTP. This will help ensure that it will not cause any adverse reactions.

People can purchase 5-HTP supplements in pharmacies, at health food stores, and online.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324025

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

Tryptophan is an amino acid that produces serotonin, melatonin, and kynurenine. Supplementation may help with sleep quality, mental health, and PMS. However, there are important safety concerns and limitations. Read on to learn the benefits, food sources, and side effects of tryptophan.

What is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is one of the 8 essential amino acids, meaning it is vital but cannot be produced by the body. Hence, tryptophan must be supplied from dietary sources [1].

L-tryptophan is the natural version of the amino acid and a building block of protein in the body.

In humans, tryptophan is not stored for long periods and therefore has the lowest concentration in the body among all the amino acids. However, only small amounts of tryptophan are required [1].


Common foods that contain tryptophan include oats, bananas, dried prunes, milk, tuna fish, cheese, bread, chicken, turkey, peanuts, and chocolate [1].

Why Is It Important?

Tryptophan is converted to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) in the brain, which produces serotonin [2, 3].

Tryptophan absorption into the brain is influenced by diet.

A high carbohydrate, low protein diet will release insulin, which ultimately increases the absorption of tryptophan into the brain and can, therefore, increase serotonin. This is the mechanism by which eating carbs may increase serotonin [4].

BCAAs compete with tryptophan absorption into the brain. Eating a high protein diet (high BCAAs) will cause less tryptophan to enter the brain, thus reducing serotonin levels [4].

However, higher protein diets usually have higher tryptophan, which can cancel out the effect from the BCAAs.

1) Sleep Quality and Insomnia

Tryptophan produces melatonin in the brain (pineal gland), the gut, the retina, and immune cells. Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns and is used as a supplement itself to help people sleep [5, 6].

A study of 5 healthy volunteers showed that L-tryptophan supplementation increased average total sleep. All of them noticed some form of drowsiness a half hour before sleep [7].

In a study on 7 insomniac patients, L-tryptophan supplementation increased total sleep (by 28%). The supplementation also decreased early-morning wakefulness by an average of 37 minutes [7].

Tryptophan supplementation even helped induce sleep in manic patients. A study of 10 patients with mania showed improvements in total sleep after L-tryptophan supplementation [8].

In a dose-response study of 15 insomniac patients, L-tryptophan (250 mg) increased stage 4 sleep (deep sleep). Normal dietary intake is usually around ½-1 gram of L-tryptophan, so even minimal amounts may increase deep sleep [9].

Tryptophan supplementation may also improve obstructive sleep apnea (airflow blockage during sleep). A study of 12 patients showed that L-tryptophan supplementation increased sleep in those with obstructive sleep apnea during non-REM sleep. However, patients with central sleep apnea showed no improvements [10].

The above findings stem from small clinical trials and thus require further investigation.

2) PMS

The breakdown of tryptophan via the kynurenine pathway is affected by the phase of the menstrual cycle, which can also indirectly affect serotonin production. After ingesting tryptophan, kynurenine was 40% higher during the luteal phase than in the follicular phase [11].

In a study of 37 patients, L-tryptophan supplementation (6 g daily) improved the following symptoms in women suffering from premenstrual dysphoria (a severe type of PMS) [12]:

  • Mood swings
  • Tension
  • Irritability

Mood improved by 34.5% in those given L-tryptophan supplements.

3) Smoking Cessation

A study of 16 people trying to quit smoking showed that L-tryptophan and a high-carbohydrate diet along with regular smoke-ceasing therapies decreased anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. People given tryptophan supplements smoked fewer cigarettes compared to placebo. Further research is warranted [13].

Insufficient Evidence:

No valid clinical evidence supports the use of grape seed extract for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials which should spark further investigation. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit.

4) Depression

Many depressed patients also suffer from insomnia and other sleep-depriving conditions. Therefore, tryptophan’s ability to help with insomnia could aid these depressed patients [14, 9].

A randomized study of 25 young adults showed that high tryptophan diets increased mood and decreased depressive symptoms and anxiety [15].

In a study of 24 patients, clomipramine (a drug for depression) and L-tryptophan were more effective in improving depressed mood, suicidal intent, and anxiety compared to clomipramine alone [16].

A meta-analysis of tryptophan’s effects on depression confirmed some positive effects, but the authors underlined the low evidence quality (only two trials included) and avoided making conclusions [17].

A study of 6 depressed patients showed that L-tryptophan supplementation did not help and the patients needed further treatment before release [18].

Depressed patients often have problems creating serotonin from tryptophan. Instead, they create other metabolites such as quinolinic acid, which can be toxic. For these patients, tryptophan supplementation may not help [19].

When tryptophan is converted to kynurenine and not serotonin, depression may worsen. Some kynurenine metabolites are toxic and animal models have shown increased depressive symptoms with increased kynurenine [20].

Due to low-quality evidence and some conflicting results, further trials should clear up the potential benefits of tryptophan for depressive disorders.

5) Mania

In a small study of five patients with mania, L-tryptophan supplementation improved the treatment with chlorpromazine hydrochloride (CPZ) and reduced side effects [21].

In 24 patients with acute mania, L-tryptophan supplementation decreased manic symptoms by 43% outperforming a previous treatment with lithium (41%). Those who stopped receiving tryptophan showed worsening of the symptoms [22].

However, in a clinical trial done on 10 female mania patients, the L-tryptophan supplementation did not perform better than placebo [23].

More studies are needed to clear out these conflicting results.

6) Appetite Reduction

In a study of 15 healthy volunteers, those receiving L-tryptophan supplementation ate 20% fewer calories and ate more proteins than carbohydrates [24].

A rat study showed that after 24 hours of fasting, the rats given L-tryptophan not only ate less on their first meal, but also their meal intervals were longer [25].

Moreover, reduced tryptophan levels and absorption into the brain might also be responsible for carbohydrate cravings [4].

7) Dementia

A study of 24 patients with dementia showed that serotonin levels in the brain were significantly lower in dementia patients compared to healthy people [26].

The same study showed that patients with dementia had less tryptophan absorption than healthy individuals. When patients with low tryptophan absorption were supplemented with tryptophan, those who increased absorption showed mental improvement [26].

8) Exercise Performance

In a study on twelve sportsmen, those given L-tryptophan supplements had their total exercise time improved by 49.4% [27].

The supplement lowered the athletes’ perceived exertion, most ly due to the increased pain tolerance [27].

In 20 volunteers, L-tryptophan (300 mg, twice a day for 3 days) improved power output during the last 20 minutes of exercise when added to a sugar and electrolyte drink [28].

On the other hand, it had no effects on performance in 10 endurance athletes. Further research is warranted [29].

Side Effects

Source: https://selfhacked.com/blog/tryptophan-health-benefits-tryptophan-deficiency/

What You Should Know About 5-HTP

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a compound produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. It is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin.

5-HTP is manufactured from the seeds of an African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia. The supplements have become popular because it is thought that providing the body with 5-HTP in pill form can boost the body's serotonin levels, similar to the antidepressants that are thought to increase the amount of serotonin available to the brain.

​Verywell / Cindy Chung

In alternative medicine, 5-HTP supplements are purported to help in the treatment of conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight Loss

So far, scientific support for the claim that 5-HTP can treat any condition safely and effectively is lacking. Here's a look at some of the research studies so far.

Several small clinical trials have found that 5-HTP is as effective as antidepressants. For example, in a six-week clinical trial, 63 people were given either 5-HTP (100 mg three times a day) or an antidepressant (fluvoxamine, 50 mg three times a day). The 5-HTP was found to be as effective as the antidepressant, with fewer side effects.

However, a 2002 systematic review of studies published between 1966 to 2000 found that only one 108 studies met the quality standards.

The small study that did meet the quality criteria found that 5-HTP worked better than placebo at alleviating depression.

Some research indicates that 5-HTP may prevent migraines and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, however large randomized controlled trials are needed.

In one study, 124 people were given 5-HTP (600 mg/day) or the drug methysergide. After 6 months, 5-HTP was found to be as effective as methysergide in reducing the severity and duration of migraines.

Another study looked at 5-HTP or the drug propranolol for 4 months. Both treatments resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the frequency of migraines. However, the propranolol group fared better, with a reduction in the duration of episodes and the number of analgesics used for the treatment of episodes.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by fatigue, widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and multiple tender points.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at 5-HTP or placebo in 50 people with fibromyalgia. After four weeks, there was improvement in pain, stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep. Side effects were mild and transient.

Serotonin is converted into melatonin, a hormone needed to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Because 5-HTP is thought to increase serotonin levels, it may increase melatonin and help normalize sleep patterns.

Potential side effects of 5-HTP include nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea. Rarely, allergic reaction to the supplement may occur.

Children with Down's syndrome should not take 5-HTP.

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported having detected a chemical compound known as “peak x” in some 5-HTP products. Peak x had been previously associated with the supplement tryptophan, which is made into 5-HTP in the body.

Tryptophan was taken off the market when thousands of people developed a severe blood disorder called Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). The cause was later traced to a contaminant found only in batches of tryptophan manufactured by one Japanese company, Showa Denko.

Showa Denko, the source of up to 60% of all the tryptophan sold in the United States, had used an untested manufacturing process that reduced the amount of activated charcoal used to filter fermented raw tryptophan. Some reports suggest that purity may be a potential problem for 5-HTP as well. No cases of EMS resulting from 5-HTP use have been reported, however.

There is not enough scientific data to provide a recommended dose of 5-HTP. However, in scientific studies a dose of 150-800 mg daily is commonly taken for 2-6 weeks in the treatment of depression. Less commonly, higher doses are used.

The appropriate dose for you may depend on factors including your age, gender, and medical history. Speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.

You can boost your dietary intake of L-tryptophan, which the body converts to 5-HTP. Food sources include turkey, chicken, pumpkin seeds, spinach, milk, and bananas.

5-HTP supplements are found in health food stores, online, and at some drug stores. Be careful not to confuse 5-HTP with 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), the chemical name for the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Always exercise caution when buying this or any supplement.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get tips on using supplements, but if you're considering the use of 5-HTP supplements, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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  1. Hinz M, Stein A, Uncini T. 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2012;8:323-328. doi:10.2147/NDT.S33259

  2. Pöldinger W, Calanchini B, Schwarz W. A functional-dimensional approach to depression: serotonin deficiency as a target syndrome in a comparison of 5-hydroxytryptophan and fluvoxamine. Psychopathology. 1991;24(2):53-81. doi:10.1159/000284698

  3. Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C. Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD003198. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003198

  4. Titus F, Davalos A, Alom J, Codina A. 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus Methysergide in the prophylaxis of migraine. Eur Neurol. 1986;25(5):327-329. doi:10.1159/000116030

  5. Maissen CP, Ludin HP. Comparison of the effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan and propranolol in the interval treatment of migraine. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1991;121(43):1585-1590.

  6. Caruso I, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M, Azzolini V. Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome. J Int Med Res. 1990;18(3):201-209. doi:10.1177/030006059001800304

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Analysis of L-Tryptophan for the Etiology of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome. Updated May 2, 2001.

  8. Jacobsen JPR, Krystal AD, Krishnan KRR, Caron MG. Adjunctive 5-Hydroxytryptophan Slow-Release for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Clinical and Preclinical Rationale. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2016;37(11):933-944. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2016.09.001

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/5-htp-5-hydroxytryptophan-88320

L-Tryptophan: Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects

8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

Although there are only 20 amino acids, they comprise the basic building blocks of life. Without amino acids, we couldn’t survive. Nine of the 20 are ‘essential’ because our bodies can’t make them–we have to obtain them from food or supplements. Tryptophan is one of those essential amino acids.

What is L-Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is a precursor to a molecule produced by the brain called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which stimulates serotonin production. Serotonin is our primary feel-good hormone. Your body releases it when you eat certain foods (especially carbs and sugar — which is why you feel you’re walking on air after you eat chocolate).

There are two forms of tryptophan: l-tryptophan and d-tryptophan. The l-form occurs in nature, while the D-form is synthetically made in a laboratory.

Tryptophan balances your hormones and boosts your mood. Foods that are rich in tryptophan combat anxiety, promote feelings of calmness and even induce sleep (think of the strong post-turkey dinner desire for a nap). It could also help burn fat by reducing cravings for sweets and carbs, which may even help defeat a sugar addiction.

Read on to learn more about how tryptophan can benefit your health.

Tryptophan and Sleep

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it could lead to depression, inability to concentrate, weight gain, muscle pain and poor memory. Tryptophan helps promote healthy sleep (without the side effects that often accompany prescription medications).

Tryptophan supplements are generally more effective at promoting sleep than food sources of tryptophan. Studies have shown that people who take supplements fall asleep faster and note significant improvements in the quality of their sleep– including less tooth-grinding and reduced sleep apnea. It can even improve your mood the next day (x).

So why exactly does tryptophan make you sleepy? When you eat tryptophan-rich foods or take a tryptophan supplement, your body converts it into the neurotransmitter serotonin, and then coverts that serotonin into melatonin–the hormone that regulates your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Research shows that taking tryptophan increases both serotonin and melatonin levels, helping you relax and ease into a great night’s sleep (x).

Trytophan and Stress Relief

Besides helping you catch up on sleep, tryptophan acts as a natural antidepressant, alleviating anxiety and other symptoms of stress.

In fact, low levels of tryptophan can actually make you feel unhappy. Studies found that people who consumed large amounts of amino acids but no tryptophan felt markedly more nervous, anxious and tense.

Insufficient tryptophan levels may also worsen impulsive behaviors and aggression in individuals with a tendency toward aggression (x, x).

Adding a tryptophan supplement to your bedtime nutrition routine could help you finally get a full night’s sleep and promote lasting feelings of calmness and well-being.

Improves Memory

Low levels of tryptophan could harm your long-term memory, especially memories of experiences and events (x). This is because when tryptophan levels are low, it lowers serotonin levels, and serotonin plays a role in memory recall. Taking tryptophan with your dinner can help boost your memory.

Healthy Weight Loss

Because of its link to serotonin, tryptophan can help you stick to a healthy diet. Higher levels of serotonin help curb cravings and anxiety, all while boosting your metabolism–essential for maintaining a healthy weight.

Tryptophan also aids in the production of niacin (vitamin B3) which converts macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) into energy and synthesizes hormones and enzymes that control appetite.

Quit Smoking

Struggling to quit smoking? Try tryptophan! Research shows that when taken alongside traditional treatments, tryptophan can help you stop smoking once and for all (x).

PMS & PMDD Relief

Tryptophan supplements could help ease PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD, a more extreme form of PMS) symptoms, irritability, anger, stress and mood swings (x).

See Also

Headache Help

One Australian study recorded a reduction in symptoms of migraines and headaches, including nausea, sensitivity to light, indigestion and difficulty sleeping when test subjects consumed a drink containing amino acids including tryptophan (x).

Tryptophan Side Effects

Since tryptophan is a natural amino acid, side effects are very rare. Taking excessive amounts could cause muscle pain or weakness, skin rashes, cramping and fatigue.

Do not take tryptophan supplements if you already take medications that affect serotonin levels antidepressants, as it could lead to a condition known as serotonin syndrome. The symptoms of serotonin syndrome include tremors, agitation, delirium and sweating. If you take medication that influence serotonin, talk to your doctor before adding a tryptophan supplement to your health regimen.

L-Tryptophan Food Sources

Many proteins contain tryptophan. The most well-known is turkey, but other sources include chicken, eggs, shrimp and crabs.

L-Tryptophan Supplements

If you use a tryptophan powder dietary supplement, take 500 mg (scant 3/8 tsp) up to three times a day, or as directed by physician.

Tryptophan supplements may also contain melatonin and 5-HTP. If you need a sleep aid, opt for a supplement containing melatonin. To improve your mood and memory, choose the supplement that contains 5-HTP.

The Bottom Line

Amino acids are natural, readily available without a prescription and have few to no side effects. Tryptophan, one of the nine essential amino acids, produces hormones such as serotonin and melatonin — all of which regulate your sleep cycle, mood, behavior and appetite. While there’s no such thing as a “chill pill,” tryptophan comes pretty close!

Source: https://community.bulksupplements.com/l-tryptophan/