Benefits of Tryptophan

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Introduction to the Benefits of L-Tryptophanl-tryptophan benefits

L-Tryptophan is another essential amino acid our body has.  It is essentially a natural mood regulator.  It regulates our moods by helping our bodies balance and even produces certain hormones.  If we eat foods rich with tryptophan or more so if we take it as a supplement we can expect it to calm us, help us get to sleep, lower our anxiety levels and maybe burn body fat as well.  I’m sure you will find the benefits of tryptophan very ineresting.

Tryptophan has been shown to be able to stimulate a release of growth hormones, reduce that “carb starving” feeling we get especially after a meal with low to no carbohydrates in it.  It can help us get rid of a sugar addiction which is fabulous seeing as sugar is a huge cause of obesity.

There is an interesting byproduct of tryptophan that is considered a nootropic itself.  5HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan. 5 HTP is another naturally-occurring amino acid metabolite that is known mostly for its role in the production of Serotonin.  It works in our brain and CNS boosting our feelings of well-being.  Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a huge role in regulating our moods and our social behaviours. When we have a healthy supply of serotonin in our brain we can be happy and have a feeling of well-being. A lack of Serotonin is believed to play a role in depression or other emotional problems.

Tryptophan Improves Sleep Quality

Scientific evidence has shown that tryptophan has this natural calming effect that gives you the ability to get to sleep easier and to sleep better.  Those with chronic sleep problems are at risk for depression, a lack of the ability to concentrate and remember things.

It also may be able to help by reducing problems associated with sleep apnea or insomnia.  This is also great because it may be able to replace over the counter or prescription sleep aids and their side effects [1].

To get the full effect of a sleep benefit, eating food you know has tryptophan in it will not give you that.  For this, you need to supplement with tryptophan.  You will take a shorter time to fall asleep, and have better moods the next day because of that better sleep.

Tryptophan and Anxiety and Depression

There have been studies conducted recently that show that low levels of l-tryptophan may play a role in depression.  These low levels are also found in people diagnosed with clinical depression.  However, we still don’t know that if we boost these levels the symptoms of depression will lessen or if the actual depression causes low levels of l-tryptophan [2].

Because of this dilemma, we have a study that actually proved l-tryptophan improves depression and anxiety in the participants involved [3].

There are other studies that show that tryptophan and 5HTP together may work just as effectively as prescription antidepressants. Preliminary findings indicate that 5HTP is an effective treatment for people with mild to moderate depression and just as effective as fluvoxamine (Luvox).

A study involving 63 volunteers found that 5 HTP performed just as well as fluvoxamine for lowering symptoms of depression [4].

Research has also discovered that in those fighting anxiety and depression a reduced supplementation of tryptophan can cause a significant drop in bain activities that promote happiness and that these people also have lower serotonin levels than those who do not suffer anxiety and depression.

L-Tryptophan as a Melatonin Precursor

L-Tryptophan is not only important in serotonin, but it is also very valuable to Melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone and is our sleep hormone.  It controls our sleep and circadian rhythms and needs effective l-tryptophan levels in order to be produced.

You can read more about Melatonin in my in-depth article here

To ensure you get all of the benefits of melatonin it seems clear that supplementing with L-tryptophan will enhance the effect of melatonin.

Reduces Headaches and Migrainesl-tryptophan benefits

There have been studies conducted that have found that low levels of tryptophan cause pain associated with tension headaches and migraines to worsen.  It can also aggravate nausea and sleep problems often experienced by migraine sufferers.

If there is increased brain synthesis of serotonin then serotonin can become a natural headache and migraine symptom reliever.  These positive effects also include light sensitivity, pain and indigestion associated with headache and migraines.

There was a study undertaken at the Murdoch University School of Psychology in Australia that 5-8 hours after drinking a beverage with 19 different amino acids that included tryptophan, the symptoms associated with migraines were significantly reduced [5].

L-Tryptophan May Boost Cognitive Function

L-tryptophan may be a neuroprotector because it helps to improve our nervous system, our brain neuron health, our brain function, and overall nerve health.

Although evidence is still scarce there is some.

One study has shown that l-tryptophan depletion causes memory issues in the study participants.  The suggestion is that increasing l-tryptophan levels would definitely help with memory issues [6].

Tryptophan Can Help with Recovery from Addictions

If you take l-tryptophan, St. John’s Wort and 5 HTP together as a stack, it has been shown to help addicts overcome their addictions. This combination is successful at doing this because it increases serotonin and melatonin production.

Because of L-tryptophan’s benefits, it is quite often used alongside conventional treatment for those quitting smoking to improve the treatment programs that help control impulses and their emotional states over quitting [7]

Help With Neurological Disorders

Two studies have produced evidence that l-tryptophan may have benefits for ADHD and Autism, however, these are preliminary and more data is needed to support these claims [8,9].

Tryptophan and a Healthy Weight?

Tryptophan increases serotonin which promotes a calm feeling, mental clarity, control over impulses and control over cravings.  Because of this, yes Tryptophan may be able to help you in your goal of losing weight.


Getting L-tryptophan From Food

The best way to get your tryptophan from your regular diet and one that is recommended by doctors is to change up or vary your proteins and carbohydrates.  This allows for the most serotonin to be produced overall [10].

Among many different ways to get tryptophan in your diet is to try and get between 20-30 grams of protein with each meal and varying the types of high protein foods you eat.  This shouldn’t be too difficult if you already follow a healthy diet and natural meat these levels.

You can eat both plant and animal foods buy aminal foods have a more concentrated and complete source of the protein you need.


Who Should Not take L-Tryptophan

You should not use this product if you are allergic to tryptophan.

talk to your physician if you have anything in the list below.

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • eosinophilia (high levels of a certain type of white blood cells); or
  • a muscle disorder (such as fibromyalgia).

Side Effects

  • feeling drowsy or light-headed
  • dry mouth, heartburn, burping, gas
  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • weakness, lack of coordination
  • blurred vision
  • headache

These are usually attributed to taking too much or if you are new to taking l-tryptophan.  Start low, maybe lower than recommended and gradually increase until you are at the recommended dose.


L-Tryptophan Dose

The generally suggested dose of l-tryptophan is between 3.5-6mg/kg body weight.  That means you take between 3.6 and 6 milligrams of l-tryptophan for every kilogram you weight.  This can usually be consumed through a proper diet.

If you diet, exercise a lot, are constantly stressed or have liver damage you may have low l-tryptophan levels diet may be able to increase your levels, but maybe not.

Here are some general guidelines for different situations you may fall under

  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders take 1-2 grams before bedl-tryptophan benefits
  • Chronic pain and or migraines take 2-4 grams/day individual doses
  • For depression and/or anxiety take 2-6 grams/day and consult your physician.
  • Lowering appetite and cravings take .5-2 grams/day


Where to Buy

You can easily find L-Tryptophan on Amazon for a great price.


To Wrap it Up

This is a really effective supplement covering a number of areas.  Making sure you eat the recommended amounts protein per day and you will not experience low tryptophan level side effects

Supplementing with L-tryptophan will produce peak benefits like feeling calm, finding it easier to fall asleep and have a good sleep, and lower anxiety levels.

You can lift your mood, lowers symptoms of depression, maintain a healthy weight, have a feeling of well-being with this herb.  Nothing here to complain about.  It’s another great natural and safe supplement to take.


6 thoughts on “Benefits of Tryptophan”

  1. I have never heard of Tryptophan before I have read your article.

    I like the Benefits it is giving and I appreciate that you have also listed the natural food source where Tryptophan can be found. BTW, I do love eating different kinds of protein foods, animal and plant, therefore I should be okay. I also do feel good too.

    I like as well that you have listed the side effects and also who shouldn’t take L-Tryptophan. Do you think that it would be beneficial to get some bloodwork done before using L-Tryptophan or is it enough to just start out slow?

    I certainly have learned something new today and I have saved your website for further reference.

    Thank you for sharing, appreciated.

    • I don’t think blood work is necessary.  These are after all supplements and are taken by thousands of people all over the world with no real problems ever reported.

  2. Nice article. I will forward this to a friend who’s concerned about her anxiety, I do like the fact that this is herbal but as with any medication, I feel it’s safe to consult one’s doctor before taking supplements. varyng proteins and carbohydrates in the foods we eat is definitely an easy option. Is there any food we can get the benefits of L-Tryptophan from as well?

  3. Hi Stew,

    Thank you very much for sharing such an informative article with all the necessary information about Benefits of Tryptophan.

    Actually, I have problems with my sleeping.I do not sleep properly. A friend of mine recommended me to use tryptophan, but that time I did not know anything about this tryptophan and I was unaware of its benefits.Finally i have got the solution of my sleeping problem after reading your article.I am going to use this tryptophan as it is very beneficial for improve sleeping quality which is highlighted you perfectly in this article.I have also learn that L-tryptophan is very good for our health in many ways.Thank you very much for sharing this helpful article.It is a very helpful and  informative article for those people who want to know about tryptophan and it’s benefit, perfectly. I will share this article with my friends and realtives so that can learn the benefit of tryptophan.

  4. Wow! An array of uses for one particular supplements. It goes to show how important it is to our health. I have gone through anxiety disorder and if only I knew then I might have considered this option. Although I’m still prone to it I would definitely get tryptophan supplements for it. And a friend of mine who has migraine would love this good news.. Thanks for sharing

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