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L-tryptophan is one of the 8 essential amino acids our bodies require to function. L-tryptophan is a biochemical our bodies do not produce and therefore must come from what we eat. Its function is to manufacture neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin. A neurotransmitter is a messenger that delivers messages to your brain and is involved in every single body function.


Tryptophan and Weight Loss

Tryptophan reduces cravings for sweets and carbohydrates thereby aiding in weight loss. When dieting, serotonin levels drop considerably leading to an increase in cravings and binge eating habits. L-tryptophan increases the serotonin levels and decreases food cravings and intake.


L-Tryptophan and Mental Health

Serotonin is a “calming” neurotransmitter and L-tryptophan increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. L-tryptophan is often taken as a daily supplement to maintain overall good health, to promote cheerful moods, to relieve anxiety and irritability and to encourage normal healthy sleep.


Although Tryptophan is also showing promise as an antidepressant both on its own and when taken with other antidepressants, studies proving this have had mixed results with inconclusive findings. It is also important to note that you are recommended to take Tryptophan for 60 days to experience the full benefit.


L-tryptophan Side Effects

There are no known side effects from taking Tryptophan (if proper dosages are used), however overly high levels of L-tryptophan will cause our bodies to turn it into a waste product that brings on psychotic symptoms. For this reason, follow the dosage directions carefully; more isn’t always best.


Natural Sources of L-Tryptophan

L-tryptophan is found naturally occurring to some degree in many of the foods we eat particularly turkey, bananas, milk, eggs, red meat and chocolate.


Tryptophan Pills

Tryptophan is available in supplementary form as pills or capsules and can be found easily online. It costs about $20 for 90 capsules. Just be sure that you are getting “pure’” or “pharmaceutical grade” product from a high quality source.


Is L-tryptophan banned in the U.S.?

Tryptophan is no longer a banned source in the United States. Back in 1989 there was a large outbreak of a deadly disease that killed 38 people, which was linked to L-Tryptophan. The US government banned it in 1991, but loosened marketing restrictions on the substance in 2001 when there were no deaths or illness in England and the rest of Europe where it was still widely being used.