Overview

L-tryptophan is an amino acid. Amino acids are protein building blocks. L-tryptophan is called an "essential" amino acid because the body can't make it on its own. It must be acquired from food. L-tryptophan is eaten as part of the diet and can be found in protein-containing foods.

People use L-tryptophan for severe PMS symptoms (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD), athletic performance, depression, insomnia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work ?

L-tryptophan is naturally found in animal and plant proteins. L-tryptophan is considered an essential amino acid because our bodies can't make it. It is important for the development and functioning of many organs in the body. After absorbing L-tryptophan from food, our bodies convert some of it to 5-HTP (5-hyrdoxytryptophan), and then to serotonin. Our bodies also convert some L-tryptophan to niacin (vitamin B3). Serotonin is a hormone that transmits signals between nerve cells. It also causes blood vessels to narrow. Changes in the level of serotonin in the brain can alter mood.
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