Tryptophan: Benefits, Uses and How Much Should You Take Daily? – NOOTRIMENT

Tryptophan: Benefits, Uses and How Much Should You Take Daily?

Introduction of Tryptophan (L-tryptophan)

It is a well-known fact that proteins are the “building blocks of the body” These blocks are made up of smaller blocks called amino acids. They help in muscle growth and development that, in turn, helps to make us bigger, stronger and smarter. Additionally, these effects of protein are not restricted solely to the growing years.

Adults also require essential amino acids from protein foods for all these things. As the little peptide substances are responsible to help repair the muscles and increase the motor coordination. Moreover, the proteins also support the cognitive functions of the brain.

Tryptophan Helps to Calm and Relax Mood

Tryptophan Helps to Calm and Relax Mood

Where does tryptophan come in? This substance is one of the essential amino acids like the branched chain of amino acids that induce the production of non-essential amino acids in the body. Since it is not created in the body, you may run low on required tryptophan levels.

This is why people require tryptophan supplements to prevent tryptophan deficiency. They are also dubbed as anti-anxiety pills, nootropics, sleeping drugs and weight loss pill by the medicinal marketers.

The Happy Chemical: What Is Serotonin’s Role in the Brain?

Serotonin is a chemical formed by the conversion of tryptophan. It is often called as 5 HT because it is a combination of tryptophan with tryptophane hydroxylase. It is interesting to note that, the brain serotonin does not cross the blood-brain barrier. That is why the brain produces its own serotonin.

Serotonin is often categorized as a hormone but scientists believe that the reactions in the brain indicate that it may be a neurotransmitter. They label it as the ‘happy chemical’ that stabilizes the mood and has several other psychological effects in the brain.

Since it is a neurotransmitter, the biochemical transmits signals to the nerve cells in the brain so that they can help regulate the:

  • Mood: High level of serotonin stimulate sensations to happiness and calmness. While low levels are often an indication of depression.
  •  Sleep Patterns: The neurotransmitter stimulates parts of the brain to help activate your sleep mode. Whether you are asleep nor awake, it all depends on which part of your brain is being stimulated by the chemical.

Other functions of serotonin include:

  • Causing nausea to remove ingested toxins from the body
  •  Healing wounds by helping in the formation of blood clots
  •  Enhancing bowel movements
  •  Regulating arousal

Although serotonin performs many functions both in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, we will mainly focus on it being a natural mood stabilizer. This is because we know that tryptophan acts as a precursor for serotonin. Since high levels of serotonin directly affect the mood, induce calmness, reduces depression, stimulate sleep, and help regulate mental health. We can see why the tryptophan supplements will be beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and insomnia.

The Basics: What Is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is one of the nine essential amino acid tryptophan is required to make for the body. This category of amino acids is termed as ‘essential’ because they are not created in the body. Therefore, it is ‘essential’ for you to consume a protein-rich diet to give your body sustenance.

What does Tryptophan do?

It primarily accelerates the biosynthesis of protein in the body. On a smaller scale, the amino acid supports the synthesis of growth hormones collectively known as auxins.

Apart from that, it helps you to:

  • Improves your sleep pattern
  • Think clearly
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Lose fat

Tryptophan is one of the rare amino acids that is found in proteins. Yet, it is important for the development of muscle structure and function in the body. This is why many medical practitioners prescribe tryptophan, a dietary supplement that provides tryptophan for your bodily needs.

Amino Acid
Mood Mood
Stress Stress
Sleep Sleep

How It Works:

  • Users serotonin synthesis.
  • Helps in enabling a calm and relaxed mood.
  • Supports peaceful sleep patterns.
Between 6 – 12 g per day
Generally Well Tolerated

Tryptophan Benefits: Why Should You Take Tryptophan?

Tryptophan has nutritional value as it belongs to the class of essential amino acids. However, in order for you to gain the extra benefits of this vital substance you really need to consume some tryptophan boosting pills.

How L-Tryptohan works in your Body?

It is because the mechanism of tryptophan helps produce a lot of positive effects in the brain. Especially for people who face problems like insomnia, chronic pains, anxiety and weight issues.

Here are some of the benefits of taking tryptophan supplements:

How to Relieve Lower Anxiety Levels?

Tryptophan is proven to have a positive effect on the brain. It works as a remote control that switches your brain on to a happy mode. This, in turn, decreases the stress and anxiety that has built up in your body.

How to Get Better Sleep?

Research shows that tryptophan is a natural sedative. The melatonin and serotonin conversions are the reason behind these sedative qualities of the supplement. They soothe the hyperactive nerves so that they may be able to slow their functioning.

As a result, you fall quickly and easily. Therefore you are able to naturally combat the signs of insomnia.

L- Tryptophan Weight Loss

Many people take tryptophan as an appetite or weight loss supplement.

Why people take L- Tryptophan?

This is because this amino acid is a known precursor of vitamins that help support a faster metabolism. This means that your body will burn fat at a good rate that prevents fat accumulation. Furthermore, it can subdue your cravings and eating disorders that usually cause weight fluctuations.

It also helps to:

  • Control your impulses and help subdue addictions like smoking
  • Alleviate headaches

The Mechanism: How Does It Work?

How Tryptophan Works On Your Body

How Tryptophan Works On Your Body

You might be wondering how this tiny amino acid accomplishes all these big tasks. It does so by acting as a trigger to many important reactions in the body. This effective stimulation then helps have the bog impacts we discussed above.

After the body absorbs tryptophan it converts it into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). This conversion occurs in the liver to make the amino acid more soluble. The new compound has higher bioavailability than the natural form of tryptophan. As a result, it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to induce the reactions you would need to put the body into a sleep mode.

Moreover, the body also converts the modified form of tryptophan into other substances that hold nootropic value.

The Neurotransmitter- How To Boost Serotonin?

Serotonin is a ‘happy’ neurotransmitter because it transmits a happy vibe throughout the body. It does this via signals sent across the nerve cells.

Other than that, the neurotransmitter also reduces your cravings and appetite by making the brain believe that you are happy and full.

The Sleep Inducer- Melatonin

This substance works with the neurotransmitter to help your brain unwind after a stressful day. It does so by inhibiting your anxiety levels and soothing the hyperactive nerves. By doing so, the brain finds it easier to succumb to sleep.

The Energy Booster- Nicotinamide

Nicotinamide is commonly known as vitamin B3. This nutrient supplies the brain with regulated blood flow that provides oxygen and glucose. In short, everything your cerebral regions need to keep healthy and functional.
All these details show that every healthy person needs to regulate their tryptophan levels for some of the crucial processes in the body.

The Dosage: How Much Should You Take?



In order for you to steer clear of any issues regarding the intake of L-tryptophan, we suggest that you adhere to the taking proper dosage. This is because overdosing or under-dosing can lead to negative effects in the body.

What dosage does the FDA recommend?

They say that healthy adults are should consume 3.5 to 6 grams of tryptophan per kilogram of their body weight. This may be usually supplied in their regular protein intake. However, those suffering from a deficiency or require clinical help should take supplements.

In cases like these, the dosage is influenced by the reason behind the usage. The Health Department at the University of Michigan was able to give a rough guideline on how to consume tryptophan according to needs.

Here is a snippet of what they think is proper dosage:

  • Insomnia: 1-2 g taken before bed
  • Chronic pains (e.g.  migraine): 2-4 g taken in intervals throughout the day
  • Weight loss: 0.5-2 g per day
  • Depression: 2-6 g

You can stack the supplements with other nootropics for a better effect. However, be wary of any misuse by preventing drug interactions that may cause problems.

The Source: Is Tryptophan Found in Food?

Yes, it is available in natural food that we acquire from raw meat and veggies. This is because the essential amino acids that create tryptophan are required for healthy growth in the body.



Here is a brief list of food in which tryptophan is found:

Meat-lovers or the omnivores among you can eat:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy products (yogurt, milk and cottage cheese)

Those who consume a strict vegan diet can take:

  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes
  • Sesame seed
  • Dried nuts (cashews and walnuts)
  • Banana
  • Legumes

As you can see, daily intake of a rich protein diet is easily accessible to everybody and all types of diet. They help to regulate the tryptophan levels in your body. One way to maintain the amino acid levels in your body is to have 20-30 grams of protein in all your meals.

Yet, this regulation may still not be able to prevent the formation of a deficiency. Therefore, we recommend that those that suffer from symptoms of deficiency must seek aid from supplements.

Top 10 Common Side Effects: Is It Safe?

You might be wondering if these supplements are as safe as they sound. While naturally found tryptophan is tolerant in most humans, its supplement may result in a few potential side effects. Albeit the good news is that these side effects are generally mild and pretty rare.

However, improper dosage or low-quality product may result in:

  • Gastro-intestinal issues
  • Belching
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness

Your choice of product and proper usage of the dietary supplement can prevent the side effects faced after usage. Apart from this, make sure not to use the supplement with other drugs like cough syrups or anti-depressants. This is because these drug interactions may cause severe problems in your body.

Tryptophan Food: Is Tryptophan Food Safer Than Pills?

Like many essential amino acids, tryptophan is also found in many food items. Especially the ones those are rich in proteins and carbohydrates like dairy and poultry.

Overall the list of tryptophan food sources we shared in on one of the previous sub-topics shows that it is easily accessible to people with all kind of food preferences and that vegan and vegetarians can get access to tryptophan through food too.

Additionally, tryptophan is also found in chocolates. This fact explains why we feel so happy after devouring a bar of chocolate. (Does that mean we can eat copious amount of our favorite chocolate for health benefits?)

However, the main question is that if tryptophan food is safer than the pills?

The direct answer is yes, tryptophan foods are safer than the pills. Yet, they will not be able to cure anxiety or minimize insomnia because the rise in tryptophan through food consumption is not sufficient enough to perform these tasks. Moreover, the supplements are a calorie-free inclusion of tryptophan in your daily intake. This is a great benefit for those that have weight problems.

Therefore, it is better to take tryptophan supplements if you truly want to curb that anxiety.

The Verdict: User Reviews

We think all this information adds up to one thing i.e. if you are suffering from sleep or eating disorders, have anxiety attacks or chronic pains then you must give tryptophan a shot.

Don’t believe us?

Here are some user reviews that might convince you:

An anxiety-prone user wrote:

‘’ This supplement is a life changer. Anxiety runs in my family and this drug was helpful in subduing it in a way no other remedy did.’’

A person suffering from insomnia claims that:

‘’Tryptophan has made my nights a blissful sleeping event instead of a restless cycle of tossing and turning.’’

Another user dubs them as ‘miracle pills’ he said,

‘’Tryptophan was meant to cure my insomnia but it doubles up as a weight reducer too. How marvelous is that?’’

These people seem to be very happy with the results.

Why don’t you join the bandwagon to resolve your problems?


  1. No clear effects of acute tryptophan depletion on processing affective prosody in male adults with ADHD.
  2. Supplementing healthy women with up to 5.0 g/d of L-tryptophan has no adverse effects.
  3. Influence of acute tryptophan depletion on verbal declarative episodic memory in young adult females.
  4. Food-derived serotonergic modulators: effects on mood and cognition.
  5. Tryptophan promotes interpersonal trust.
  6. Change in electrodermal activity after acute tryptophan depletion associated with aggression in young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  7. Disturbed tryptophan metabolism in cardiovascular disease.
  8. Effects of treatment with melatonin and tryptophan on liver enzymes, parameters of fat metabolism and plasma levels of cytokines in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease–14 months follow up.
  9. Effect of sub chronic tryptophan supplementation on stress-induced cortisol and appetite in subjects differing in 5-HTTLPR genotype and trait neuroticism.
  10. Melatonin and dopamine as biomarkers to optimize treatment in phenylketonuria: effects of tryptophan and tyrosine supplementation.
  11. Effects of intraduodenal infusion of L-tryptophan on ad libitum eating, antropyloroduodenal motility, glycemia, insulinemia, and gut peptide secretion in healthy men.
  12. Effects of stress and dietary tryptophan enhancement on craving for alcohol in binge and non-binge heavy drinkers.
  13. Tryptophan supplementation and postoperative delirium–a randomized controlled trial.
  14. Tryptophan depletion in chronic fatigue syndrome, a pilot cross-over study.

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