Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that cannot be produced by the body. Unfortunately, many people have not yet learned enough about the benefits of tryptophan. Find out more about the effects of this vital amino acid here.
When you take tryptophan, it is converted to serotonin - a neurotransmitter that is responsible for controlling mood. There are actually a variety of drugs for depression and anxiety that aim to protect the brain from the breakdown of serotonin, which has a direct effect on the mood. It simply means that an extra serving of serotonin creates a better mood.
Tryptophan also contributes to healthy sleep. Once the body has converted the tryptophan to serotonin, it can make a new neurotransmitter called melatonin. This process takes place in the light-sensitive pineal gland, which lies deep inside the brain. There are several uses for melatonin, but it is best known for its ability to promote healthy sleep and improve sleep behavior.
The most important effects of tryptophan have been studied in detail. The three main health benefits of tryptophan that are currently being boasted about include:
When it comes to taking tryptophan, there can be very large differences in the dosage needed. This is because factors such as age, weight, physique, exercise, diet, stress and health have a major impact on L-tryptophan needs.
In general, tryptophan is not likely to be overdosed from food instead of food supplements. Pure L-tryptophan in tablets or capsules works much better because it bypasses the digestive process and can be absorbed directly.
Research shows that healthy adults consume around 4-6 milligrams of tryptophan per kilogram of body weight with food most days. Chronic stress, a poor diet, lots of exercise, and any form of inflammatory bowel disease or liver damage can cause less tryptophan to be absorbed, causing tryptophan deficiency.
However, if you suffer from mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and sleep disorders, you are likely to benefit from taking tryptophan.
If you take more than 1000mg (2 capsules) per day, you should take the entire daily dose throughout the day. The amount can either be distributed evenly over the day or even better - little in the morning, a little more at noon and the highest dose in the evening. This is how you achieve the best effect, as serotonin is produced by the body during the day and melatonin in the evening.
Clinical studies recommend not taking more than 6000 mg (6 grams) tryptophan in a single dose to improve mood and cognition. Overall, tryptophan is considered a safe and useful nutritional supplement.
Tryptophan is a natural, mood-enhancing dietary supplement that is taken by many people due to its beneficial effects on mood, memory, and sleep.
Most people do not experience any side effects when taking tryptophan at the recommended dosage. However, if you exceed the recommended dosage (more than 6000mg per day), side effects can occur. To avoid this, you should always follow the recommended dosage.
Side effects from overdose may include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and excessive sweating.
An interaction can occur when large amounts of tryptophan are taken with serotonin agents such as SSRIs or MAOIs. This is known as 'serotonin syndrome'. It arises from an accumulation of excess serotonin in the brain.
The reason for this is that tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. Taking tryptophan supplements increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which has a positive effect on mood and has a number of other health benefits.
However, antidepressants and antipsychotics interact with the serotonin system, causing an excessive increase in serotonin. Some of these substances also prevent the breakdown of serotonin. For this reason, the combination of tryptophan with antidepressants or other substances that affect the serotonin system is not recommended.
The symptoms of serotonin syndrome include nausea, nervousness, drowsiness and dizziness, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, drowsiness, and excessive sweating.
Nutrition Data has become one of the leading nutritional value websites since its launch in 2003. The website aims to provide the general public with unbiased and comprehensive nutritional information. The website publishes information that comes from both the United States Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database and the manufacturer's information sheet for the products tested.
The main food sources for tryptophan are listed in the nutrient database. The nutrition experts listed the following foods as main suppliers of tryptophan (in milligrams of tryptophan per serving with 200 calories):
While these food sources are all very high in tryptophan, many of them also contain other amino acids that could compete with tryptophan for intake. As we'll explain later, studies have shown that high-carb, low-protein meals improve tryptophan intake the most.
The best way to increase your tryptophan level is to take a high-quality tryptophan supplement.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in many protein-rich food sources. Bananas also contain tryptophan. At doses higher than those normally found in food, tryptophan is suitable for improving mood and promoting healthy sleep.
Many people wonder how best to take L-tryptophan to improve sleep quality, i.e. which dosage should be taken at what times. We will also examine the myth that bananas promote sleep.
Bananas are great in many ways! And they are not only beneficial for the strongest animal in the world, the silverback gorilla. The only problem is that bananas contain relatively small amounts of tryptophan and you would have to eat a lot of bananas to feel the effects. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database, a banana contains approximately 0.011 grams of tryptophan.
Given this information, you would need to eat at least 10 bananas a day to exceed 1 gram of tryptophan. Nevertheless, bananas are a great food because they are rich in magnesium and potassium - two very important minerals for optimal health. So don't let the low tryptophan content stop you from eating bananas!
In summary, tryptophan is an important amino acid that is used to build proteins and is converted into various substances in the body. Tryptophan is found, for example, in protein-rich foods and bananas - however, you would need to eat a lot of bananas to feel the great effects!
It is recommended to take about 500 mg to 1000 mg tryptophan in separate portions throughout the day. This prevents the negative effects of a single high dose, but it can help to increase melatonin levels and enable more fulfilled sleep.
In 2016, scientists published an in-depth report on how tryptophan and serotonin can affect mood and perception. The report was published in 'Nutrients', a renowned scientific journal for nutritional research.
According to the studies cited by the researchers, a tryptophan deficiency affects mood differently. Similar to how it affects cognition, tryptophan also appears to affect people's moods. The effect differs depending on whether you have a personal or family history of depression or anxiety disorders.
However, it is clear that an improved tryptophan level is associated with an improvement in mood. People who have been diagnosed with depression are also more prone to mood swings associated with tryptophan levels.
In another study published in 2015 on 59 healthy middle-aged women, it was found that taking a tryptophan supplement daily (0.5 grams twice a day) can improve emotional processing ability and the mood. The experiment was carried out over a period of 19 days and showed that mental alertness, mood, and happiness increased when the preparation was taken before bed.
Tryptophan supplements improve sleep behavior. Researchers are now of the opinion that this is another reason to promote the use of tryptophan for mood enhancement. The effects of sleep quality on mood have been thoroughly investigated and understood, whereby both the length and the quality of sleep are important for maintaining a positive mood.
Eliminating sleep disorders is one of the main health benefits of tryptophan, which has been extensively studied in the past. Scientists have shown that tryptophan improves sleep time and sleep quality.
In 1986, an investigation was published of the previously available literature on the use of tryptophan as a therapeutic preparation for nutritional supplements for insomnia. The authors concluded that tryptophan at a dose between 1 and 15 grams can be used effectively to induce sleep on the first night.
In the case of chronic sleep disorders, a low dose could be used repeatedly to improve sleep quality. Another advantage is the fact that tryptophan is free from side effects and does not cause tolerance development, even if the preparation is taken over a long period of time.
One of the most important aspects of taking tryptophan to help you sleep is to increase your melatonin level. Melatonin is known as the 'sleep hormone' and helps promote sleep. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin in the human body. Excess serotonin is then converted to melatonin in response to day and night cycles as well as other factors in the pineal gland.
Even low doses of tryptophan, which we normally eat as part of our daily diet, can already improve sleep quality. In a study from 1979, the sleep time could be significantly improved with just one gram of tryptophan. Even the low dose of 250 mg had a positive effect on the deep sleep phase.
Scientists have even suggested using tryptophan to improve symptoms of sleep apnea. Taking just 2.5 grams of tryptophan before bedtime significantly improved breathing during sleep in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea (but not in subjects with central sleep apnea). The tryptophan preparation also led to an extension of the REM phase and a reduction in the REM latency in all subjects.
The body must first convert tryptophan to serotonin before it can produce melatonin and improve sleep. This means that the body uses most of the tryptophan supplies to improve mood. At higher doses, however, the excess serotonin begins to convert to melatonin. Therefore, a slightly higher dose of tryptophan may be better for improving sleep.
Tryptophan can help maintain a healthy sleep, but what should be kept in mind is that tryptophan can be converted to serotonin in the liver. Tryptophan has to cross the blood-brain barrier to developing its mood-enhancing effect.
If you eat too much tryptophan at one time, it may not be that the whole amount crosses the blood-brain barrier and is therefore converted to serotonin in the liver. This can cause undesirable side effects such as an upset stomach.
It is therefore recommended to take around 500 mg to 1000 mg tryptophan daily in 3 separate portions over the day. The maximum recommended daily dose for tryptophan preparations is 3000 to 5000 mg. Taking 3 grams is more than enough to improve the mood. However, if you want to improve sleep with tryptophan, you can take it just before going to sleep.
Tryptophan plays a complex role in terms of cognitive performance. Tryptophan is primarily the chemical precursor of serotonin (5-HT). The body converts tryptophan to serotonin through a multi-step process using enzymes called 'tryptophan hydroxylase' and 'aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase'.
The role of serotonin in cognition has been extensively investigated and has now been almost completely deciphered in ongoing studies. As a result, low serotonin levels are strongly related to impaired cognitive performance - especially memory. In addition, researchers have suggested targeting serotonin receptors to improve cognitive skills in depression and Alzheimer's.
However, the relationship between serotonin, tryptophan, and cognition has not yet been fully deciphered. Studies have shown that tryptophan can affect cognition differently for people.
For example, a 2003 study found that while a tryptophan deficiency affects memory, it has slightly improved alertness. In addition, the study authors found that tryptophan deficiency impaired the problem-solving ability of people who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and family history of depression, but improved the problem-solving ability of people with a normal family history.
In a clinical study from 2006, the researchers also found that tryptophan preparations had a positive effect on the processing of emotional experiences. Specifically, tryptophan brought about a mood improvement as well as a positive basic attitude. However, these results only applied to the female subjects who participated in the study but not to the male ones.
However, it can safely be said that tryptophan plays a complex role in human cognitive performance and further studies are needed to fully understand its effects. So far, however, it has been confirmed that tryptophan preparations have a positive effect on human memory functions.
In addition to mood enhancement, many people use tryptophan to reduce stress. The reason for this is that this often goes hand in hand with improved mood and sleep quality by taking tryptophan preparations.
Studies have looked at the effects of tryptophan on stress perception in both humans and animals. The results are encouraging. For example, the first available human study was published in 1985. Researchers have studied the effects of tryptophan supplements on ten outpatients with different types of anxiety. The dietary supplements led to a significant reduction in anxiety levels in all patients.
However, in the 1985 study, tryptophan was used in conjunction with a chemical that reduces the activity of dopamine decarboxylase (which theoretically enhances the tryptophan effect).
Another study published in 1986 examined the effects of childbirth on natural tryptophan levels. Women who had postpartum depression after childbirth typically had lower tryptophan levels and higher cortisol levels than those who had no depression.
More recently, a study published in 2014 examined the effects of a tryptophan-rich diet on the stress-induced craving for alcohol in chronic excessive alcoholics. The so-called 'binge drinkers' who were given a tryptophan-rich diet had a reduced desire for alcohol compared to those who received the control diet. The scientists concluded that this could indicate that tryptophan reduces the stress response.
Interestingly enough, people who weren't binge drinkers did the opposite with a tryptophan-rich diet - they felt an increased desire for an alcoholic drink. Although there was no evidence of an increase in stress levels, the result showed that tryptophan can have different effects depending on the type of behavior.
Scientists have now come to the conclusion that people's individual reactions to tryptophan could be genetically predetermined. For example, a 2015 study found that variations in the 5-HTTLPR genotype resulted in different stress responses to tryptophan supplements.
A less well-known advantage of tryptophan is the increase in athletic performance. Although this has been thoroughly researched by scientists over the past few decades, very few have learned of these benefits.
In 1988, scientists published a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine on the effects of tryptophan on athletic performance. Twelve healthy volunteers took part in a study in which they had to walk on a treadmill until they were exhausted. Various factors have been measured.
Remarkably, the group receiving tryptophan, unlike the placebo group, took around 49.4% longer to become completely exhausted. In addition, participants taking tryptophan were more resilient. None of the physiological values such as the maximum heart rate, the maximum oxygen consumption or the pulse recovery rate were influenced by taking the tryptophan preparation.
A second study, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2015, showed similar results. Twelve healthy athletes performed a 20-minute cycle on 50% of their physical fitness on a bicycle ergometer. Each volunteer completed two rounds in a double-blind, randomized manner - one taking tryptophan and the other without. The results showed that the average distance traveled over the past 20 minutes was 12,000 meters under placebo and almost 12,600 meters under tryptophan - a statistically significant improvement.
The theory has been put forward that tryptophan's ability to improve exercise performance is due to the fact that people stop exercising because of perceived exertion and lack of neural drive rather than muscle fatigue. It appears that influencing the serotonin system with tryptophan positively strengthens the neural drive and increases training performance.
Numerous studies have been performed with tryptophan on people suffering from various neurological disorders such as anxiety, depression or panic disorders. This is due to the important role that the serotonin system plays in the human psyche and brain function.
A study published in 2008 in the 'International Journal of Tryptophan Research' examined all previously published data on the use of tryptophan in panic disorders. The authors concluded that numerous studies have contributed to significantly improving knowledge about the role of the serotonin system. However, the way tryptophan works is complex.
It seems that tryptophan works differently in each person depending on the expression of different genes. Tryptophan also works differently in men than in women. Interestingly, this difference is reflected in the likelihood of panic disorder - women are twice as likely to suffer from this disorder as men.
In the course of an evaluation carried out in 2002 of all previously published studies on the effects of tryptophan in depression, over 108 individual studies were examined. These studies have shown that both tryptophan and 5-HTP achieved significantly better symptom relief than placebos.
Most recently, a study published in 2016 examined a new line of research on the effects of tryptophan against depression. The authors found evidence that depression could be associated with a biochemical change in tryptophan metabolism. For example, instead of being converted to serotonin, tryptophan is converted to neurotoxins such as quinolinic acid.
The reasons for this are probably increased stress hormones or inflammation, with a simultaneous lack of vital substances such as vitamins, minerals or trace elements. Due to the lack of vital substances, tryptophan cannot be correctly converted into serotonin and melatonin.
To make sure that tryptophan can fully develop, it is crucial to always take tryptophan together with a good multivitamin or a specially coordinated vital substance formula.
The role of tryptophan in losing weight has not been adequately researched, and there are a large number of studies with conflicting results. However, tryptophan is apparently unable to directly reduce weight. A 1985 study published in the Journal of Obesity Studies was titled: 'Tryptophan does not contribute to weight loss in overweight subjects with a craving for carbohydrates'.
The study found that dietary tryptophan supplementation did not significantly increase weight loss in overweight subjects. Although the results were not statistically significant, there was a slight decrease in total body weight in the eight subjects who completed the trial using tryptophan, in contrast to the subjects who took a placebo. The mean weight loss over six weeks was 1.1 kg for the placebo-treated participants, compared to 2.3 kg for the participants treated with tryptophan.
One of the most important ways that researchers say chemicals that target serotonin receptors could lead to weight loss is by blocking carbohydrate cravings. It is known with certainty so far that serotonin plays a complex role in appetite control.
For example, eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates and has a relatively low protein content, i.e. a meal that is rich in vegetables, starches, and fruits, the body to produce the proteins that are necessary for the transport of tryptophan to the brain. This, in turn, can be converted into serotonin, which controls appetite.
However, a protein-rich and low-carbohydrate meal provides the body with a variety of amino acids that compete with tryptophan. As a result, less tryptophan can be transported to the brain, which then produces less serotonin.
This illustrates the important role tryptophan has in controlling appetite due to its connection to serotonin.
In summary, tryptophan is a great nutritional supplement with a variety of scientifically proven health benefits. The most important thing is that tryptophan has a positive effect on mood and perception. These effects are most noticeable in women and in people with a family history of mood disorders.
Studies have also shown that tryptophan has a positive effect on stress levels and helps improve sleep quality. The effects of tryptophan on sleep are still greatly underestimated, despite the numerous studies that have confirmed its positive effects on sleep.
Even less known is the ability of tryptophan to improve exercise performance through the serotonin system. It improves neural drive and helps increase endurance. Although the direct positive effect of tryptophan preparations on weight has not yet been sufficiently demonstrated, its effect on stress, mood, cognitive performance, sleep behavior, and athletic performance can be an indication of the potential for an indirect positive effect on weight.
L-tryptophan supplements in the form of tryptophan tablets or tryptophan capsules for nutritional supplements are a great way to improve mood and promote healthy sleep.
Tryptophan, as an amino acid and mood-enhancing food supplement, is also suitable for being taken together with other active ingredients. Taking L-tryptophan with other supplements can improve the health benefits of both substances. These tryptophan combinations can improve the mood and promote healthy sleep.
If your diet is high in protein or dark green vegetables, you should already be eating significant amounts of dietary tryptophan. However, if you want to experience the mood-lifting and sleep-enhancing benefits of this great substance, you may need to take it as a dietary supplement.
Tryptophan can be combined very well with vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is also known as a 'co-factor', which means that it helps the enzymes to function better. Vitamin B6 contributes to increasing the rate of conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
Studies have actually shown that a low vitamin B6 level is associated with a poorer mood. Taking tryptophan with vitamin B6 is a great way to increase serotonin levels and maintain an optimal mood.
Once tryptophan has been converted to serotonin, it can be used to make melatonin (the body's sleep hormone). That's why so many people are talking about the wonderful benefits of tryptophan in promoting and maintaining healthy sleeping habits.
Taking tryptophan with vitamin B6 is a great way to promote healthy sleep. Tryptophan can be combined with melatonin to further improve sleep quality. This combination combines the mood-enhancing effects of tryptophan and the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin.
Melatonin alone is also very effective. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, which is a prerequisite for it to develop its beneficial effects.
5-HTP is the compound into which tryptophan has to be converted so that the body can use it to produce serotonin.
More specifically, tryptophan goes through the following process in the body:
Therefore, taking tryptophan with 5-HTP is a very effective combination. You take two different mood-lifting agents. In general, 5-HTP works faster and stronger. L-tryptophan, on the other hand, has a milder but longer effect. Both have a mood-enhancing and sleep-promoting effect.
If you want to take L-tryptophan with 5-HTP, use this combination responsibly. Because both dietary supplements lead to an increase in serotonin levels. Too much serotonin can cause side effects. Do not use 5-HTP if you are taking prescription depression medication or anxiety medication without talking to your doctor first.
L-theanine is an amino acid, just like tryptophan. Like L-tryptophan, L-theanine has a relaxing effect and can promote healthy sleep.  L-theanine is usually taken as a calming, relaxing nutritional supplement, while tryptophan is more used to lighten the mood.
L-theanine is an amino acid, just like tryptophan. Like L-tryptophan, L-theanine has a relaxing effect and can promote healthy sleep.  L-theanine is usually taken as a calming, relaxing nutritional supplement, while tryptophan is more used to lighten the mood.
In summary, it can be said that tryptophan can be combined with a large number of other preparations in order to increase the effect of these. L-tryptophan is a natural and safe nutritional supplement and goes well with many other substances such as vitamin B6, L-theanine, 5-HTP and melatonin. All of these combinations have different properties and effects.
Tryptophan may not be safe during pregnancy. Although tryptophan is an important nutrient for pregnant women, there is still insufficient evidence to confirm the safety of taking the drug in high doses during pregnancy.
It is possible that such high amounts of tryptophan, as supplied by a tryptophan preparation, can affect fetal breathing and cause fetal stress.
While there is still insufficient evidence to show that tryptophan is safe during pregnancy, studies have shown that tryptophan supplements can be taken safely while breastfeeding. A 2015 study published in the 'Journal of European Neuropsychopharmacology' found that tryptophan supplements do not increase the concentration of tryptophan in breast milk above the levels contained in conventional baby food.
Many wonder what the difference between tryptophan and 5-HTP is. Both of these supplements are converted into the same neurotransmitters (serotonin and melatonin) that are responsible for promoting a positive mood and good sleep quality. Tryptophan is found in many foods as an amino acid. However, 5-HTP can only be taken in the form of a dietary supplement.
Here we will explain the difference between tryptophan and 5-HTP. We will show the mechanism of action of both compounds and explain which dietary supplement is more effective.
Tryptophan is an interesting amino acid with some great properties and health benefits. Tryptophan is found in many foods, especially protein-rich foods.
In addition to food, tryptophan can also be received in the form of protein shakes or high-quality food supplements. Although tryptophan is also found in foods, it is not easily possible to ingest sufficient amounts to benefit from its great health effects. Therefore, we recommend taking a high-purity tryptophan supplement.
The main advantages of L-tryptophan include:
5-HTP is the next molecule in tryptophan to serotonin conversion and the direct precursor of serotonin. The body uses 5-HTP to produce serotonin. The serotonin in the pineal gland is then converted into melatonin. The production of melatonin depends on the lighting conditions, whereby melatonin is directly responsible for regulating sleep behavior.
Many people find that 5-HTP has an extremely quick and powerful effect. The interesting thing about 5-HTP is that it is simply a modified version of tryptophan. The body converts tryptophan into 5-HTP using a special enzyme.
The main advantages of 5-HTP include:
The difference between tryptophan and 5-HTP has been discussed for some time. Some claim that 5-HTP's mood-lifting effect is stronger than that of tryptophan. Others claim that tryptophan improves sleep quality more effectively.
Both tryptophan and 5-HTP must cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver serotonin to the brain. However, tryptophan has to compete with other amino acids to overcome the blood-brain barrier. 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier more easily and effectively.
Tryptophan has to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to develop its mood-enhancing effect. Converting tryptophan to 5-HTP is the slowest part of the conversion process to serotonin (the rate-limiting step). This means that taking tryptophan may not produce as much serotonin as taking 5-HTP.
The body uses L-tryptophan in various ways to produce numerous compounds. These include proteins, NAD / NADP, tryptamine and niacin (metabolites). However, 5-HTP is only used to make serotonin and melatonin.
The body can convert L-tryptophan and 5-HTP to serotonin in both the liver and brain. If tryptophan has to compete with other amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier, it's more likely to be converted to serotonin in the liver. However, the serotonin produced in the liver has no mood-lifting effect.
However, one thing should be considered when deciding between tryptophan and 5-HTP and that the body may develop a tolerance to it after a while due to the high effectiveness of 5-HTP. Although this has not yet been confirmed by researchers, it could theoretically occur after long use of 5-HTP.
L-tryptophan, on the other hand, has a more subtle effect, but it could be used more safely and healthily over a longer period of time. Tryptophan preparations also tend to have fewer drug interactions than 5-HTP preparations.
Tryptophan can be combined with 5-HTP, but you must use the combination responsibly. Because both compounds cause an increase in the level of serotonin in the brain. Too much serotonin can cause various side effects, such as nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, excessive sweating.
It is therefore important to reduce the dosage of both products and to choose so that there are no side effects. In any case, it is advisable to start with only one of the two active ingredients and only add the second active ingredient if it is actually needed.
If you are taking prescription medication, you should first consult your doctor before taking 5-HTP or tryptophan. It is especially important to talk to your doctor if you are taking antidepressants or SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs prevent serotonin from breaking down too quickly in the brain, thereby preventing the development of depression. Please use 5-HTP and tryptophan responsibly and stick to the recommended dosages.
In summary, 5-HTP and L-tryptophan are two great nutritional supplements that improve mood and also help you sleep healthier. Both are converted into serotonin in the body and then into melatonin. However, the body must first convert tryptophan to 5-HTP before it can be converted to serotonin and then to melatonin.
Since the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is slower, L-tryptophan could be described as a milder, gentler form of 5-HTP. Some people appreciate the noticeably faster effect of 5-HTP, others find the milder effect of tryptophan to be more pleasant. Others combine the two products to simultaneously benefit from the long-term effects of L-tryptophan and the rapid effects of 5-HTP.
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