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Can premenstrual syndrome be treated by L-tryptophan?

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Some women take L-tryptophan supplements to try to ease mood swings caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The theory is that these conditions may be linked to a problem with serotonin, and that L-tryptophan could help that. But there is little evidence to show this really works.

SOURCES:

News release, National Institute of Mental Health.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: "Sleep Disorders and CAM."

Allan, J.A. Arthritis and Rheumatism, November 2011.

Fernstrom J.D. The Journal of Nutrition, December 2012.

Castell, L.M. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1999.

Shannon, M.W., Borron, S.W., Burns, M.J., editors, Shannon: Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Gold Standard Database: "L-tryptophan Drug Monograph."

Kemper, K.J. Pediatric Clinics of North America, December 2007.

Vigod, S. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, June 2010.

Alternative Medicine Review, 2006.

Lieberman, H.R., Tryptophan Intake in the US Adult Population Is Not Related to Liver or Kidney Function but Is Associated with Depression and Sleep Outcomes.Journal of Nutrition, December 2016.

Yurcheshen M, Seehuus M, Pigeon W. Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research.Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015

Richard, D., Dawes, M., Mathias, C., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., Dougherty, D: L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications, International Journal of Tryptophan Research 2013

Sarris J, Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Am J Psychiatry. June 2016

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 24, 2019

SOURCES:

News release, National Institute of Mental Health.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: "Sleep Disorders and CAM."

Allan, J.A. Arthritis and Rheumatism, November 2011.

Fernstrom J.D. The Journal of Nutrition, December 2012.

Castell, L.M. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1999.

Shannon, M.W., Borron, S.W., Burns, M.J., editors, Shannon: Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Gold Standard Database: "L-tryptophan Drug Monograph."

Kemper, K.J. Pediatric Clinics of North America, December 2007.

Vigod, S. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, June 2010.

Alternative Medicine Review, 2006.

Lieberman, H.R., Tryptophan Intake in the US Adult Population Is Not Related to Liver or Kidney Function but Is Associated with Depression and Sleep Outcomes.Journal of Nutrition, December 2016.

Yurcheshen M, Seehuus M, Pigeon W. Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research.Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015

Richard, D., Dawes, M., Mathias, C., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., Dougherty, D: L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications, International Journal of Tryptophan Research 2013

Sarris J, Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Am J Psychiatry. June 2016

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 24, 2019

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What conditions can be treated with L-tryptophan supplements?

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