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Tryptophan

Posted Oct 05 2009 12:35am

This amino acid is required for the production of niacin ( Vitamin B3 ). It is used by the human body to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is important for normal nerve and brain function. Serotonin is important in sleep, stabilizing emotional moods, pain control, inflammation, intestinal peristalsis, etc. 

It is further important in controlling hyperactivity in children, assists in alleviating stress, helps with weight loss and reducing appetite. It has also been found that people suffering from migraine headaches have abnormal levels of tryptophan, and in this supplementation may be helpful.

One of the Best Health Care Tips is,a shortage of tryptophan, combined with a shortage of magnesium may be a contributing factor to heart artery spasms.

Dosage

The dosage listed is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.

In certain studies supplementation of 300 mg – 600 mg per day was experimented with to help with sleep disturbances, migraines, weight loss, appetite control, anxiety and depression, but a supplementation of 100 mg at night-time proved beneficial to promote better sleep.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake

Supplementation with high dosage of this amino acid could lead to gastrointestinal upsets, headaches, sleepiness and anxiety.

Best used with

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is required by the body for the formation of tryptophan, but people taking anti-depressants or serotonin modifying medication should be careful in taking a supplementation.

Other interesting points

Supplemental 5-HTP is derived from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant.

Food sources of tryptophan

Good dietary sources for this amino acid is cottage cheese, milk, meat, soy protein and peanuts.
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