There may be benefits that haven't yet been proven through research.
L-tryptophan may make you sleepy. It’s been used to treat insomnia. It may be a natural
antidepressant and stress reducer. It may help treat hyperactivity in children. It
may also treat manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. L-tryptophan also decreases
appetite. It may help treat symptoms of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It may
help people quit smoking, when used with other conventional treatment methods.
L-tryptophan is an amino acid that is naturally found in animal and plant foods. After
eating foods with L-tryptophan, your body converts it into serotonin, vitamin B-6,
and melatonin. Experts advise that no one take L-tryptophan as a supplement. This
is because it may be unsafe. It can make some health conditions worse.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
The use of L-tryptophan has been linked with a condition that can be fatal. This is
called eosinophilic myositis. It is also called eosinophilia-myalgia (EMS). This issue
was linked to L-tryptophan made by a Japanese company that had recently changed its
chemical processes. The cause of the condition has been debated. Most experts doubt
that L-tryptophan itself caused the problem. Instead, they think it may have been
caused by something else in the compound.
Ongoing studies have found that 4,5-tryptophan-dione is likely at fault for this problem.
In a study of over-the-counter L-tryptophan, this chemical was found to make up 0.5%
to 10.3% of the samples of L-tryptophan. The FDA has allowed the sale of L-tryptophan
since 2005. But you should only use L-tryptophan under the direction of a healthcare
Don't take L-tryptophan if you take any of these medicines:
Antidepressants/anxiolytics (tricyclics, MAOIs, and SSRIs)
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors