Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids that is necessary for the human body. Our organism can not produce it by itself, so it must be supplied via food or through a dietary supplement.
Tryptophan, also known as L-tryptophan, provides countless health benefits. One of the most important properties is that it improves the state of mind, due to the increase of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences the feeling of satisfaction and happiness.
It also helps people with insomnia to sleep. It reduces depressive mood states and helps athletes improve their physical performance.
Tryptophan is a dietary supplement that is available without a prescription, and can be taken as a treatment for some pathologies, or to compensate for a possible deficiency of this substance in the body.
What is tryptophan?
It is a proteinogenic amino acid that the human body needs for various functions. It occurs naturally in plants and in proteins of animal origin.
When the body absorbs this amino acid, through diet or supplements, it is converted into 5-hydroxytryptophan, which in turn is transformed into serotonin, the hormone responsible for the transmission of signals between nerve cells.
A deficiency can cause severe mood swings. It is found naturally in many foods rich in protein, such as meat, eggs, poultry, poultry, cheese, milk, yogurt, fish, bananas, peanuts, oats, chocolate, spirulina and sunflower seeds.
Although it is present in all these foods, poor nutrition can cause a deficiency of this substance in the body. Dietary supplements of tryptophan can finish with this deficiency and compensate the negative effects this causes in the body.
Levels of this amino acid should be stably maintained in order to facilitate a healthy bodily function. An increase in serotonin levels helps one sleep more deeply, to improve physical performance, alleviate depression and anxiety and in some cases, prevent grinding of teeth during the night.
The health benefits of tryptophan
The benefits of tryptophan for health include the following:
- It increases the levels of serotonin in the human brain
- It allows you to sleep easily and prevents insomnia
- It prevents the symptoms of depression
- It helps avoid feelings of anxiety
- It improves physical and mental performance
Tryptophan increases serotonin levels
By taking tryptophan or L-tryptophan, serotonin levels are increased.
Serotonin acts as a modulator of the function of other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine (associated with problems such as anxiety, fear or aggression).
- It blocks aggression and anger.
- It controls appetite (satiety) and helps us 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 (growth for example).
It is clear that the body can only absorb a limited amount daily, as is the case with any other dietary supplement. To find out the exact dose you need, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Tryptophan lets you sleep better
If you sleep badly at night, you should analyse your levels of this amino acid. Deficiency can lead to insomnia or cause you to wake up several times during the night.
Clinical studies have shown that sleep disorders can be treated by taking tryptophan. There is nothing worse than being tired and not being able to sleep.
If you take tryptophan you will see that you go to sleep quickly. It has also been shown that taking tryptophan capsules improves the general attitude of people with insomnia, regulating their sleep habits and helping them to recover the rest that had been lost for so long.
Tryptophan and depression
Another good reason for taking this amino acid is that it helps you 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 body and in the fight against depression and sudden mood changes caused by its deficiency.
Tryptophan and sport
Taking tryptophan while doing sports or physical exercise reduces the symptoms of fatigue. While many athletes can withstand physical pain very well, others however, stop when they feel pain, because the human brain instructs the body to cease the activity causing it.
An insufficient mental strength is the main reason for giving up sports for most people. In some cases an increase of this amino acid can increase physical performance and endurance in athletes and sportspeople.
Therefore, it is a suitable supplement for athletes who want to have a positive attitude and not be distracted from their goals.
Who can benefit from tryptophan?
- People who have difficulty sleeping
- People with a serotonin deficiency
- People suffering from depression
- Athletes who want to improve their physical performance and mental resistance
Tryptophan, interactions and combinations
Serious interactions may result if this amino acid is taken along with the following medications: antidepressants (all antidepressants can interact with L-tryptophan), MAO inhibitors, sedatives, clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), and others.
None of these products should be taken together with tryptophan. One must also be careful not to combine tryptophan with the following medications: dextromethorphan, meperidine, pentazocine, phenothiazines, and tramadol.
If you are taking any of these medications, you should first consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking tryptophan supplements.
Tryptophan recommended dosage
The recommended dose depends on the age, health and the particular circumstances of each person. The dosage should not exceed 500 to 1000 mg per day.
When should tryptophan be taken?
It is recommended for treatment of the following symptoms:
- To compensate for a serotonin deficiency
- To alleviate sleep problems
- To relieve the symptoms of depression or anxiety.