Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that has a key role in the formation of serotonin, a substance that promotes sleep and is beneficial in treating depression. After entering the body, tryptophan converts to serotonin. In addition, it is a precursor for vitamin B3. About 60 mg of tryptophan equals to 1 mg of vitamin B3. Some investigators claim that using 0.5 to 2 grams of tryptophan can correct sleep disorders, stimulates the release of GH, decreases anxiety and depression. Some claim that in combination with vitamin B6, it may cause panic attacks to be less severe.
Athletic Benefits of Tryptophan:
- May stimulate the release of growth hormone.
- May help with athletic jet lag.
- May be useful in pre – competition anxiety.
- May help with weight management by decreasing appetite.
Non – Athletic Benefits of Tryptophan:
The following conditions may benefit from tryptophan:
- Anxiety disorders.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Eating disorders.
- Tension headache.
There is no standard dosage for tryptophan; experts generally recommend 0.5 to 2 grams taken before sleep. Using vitamins B3, B6 and C with tryptophan helps tryptophan to convert easily to serotonin and may cause better results. Foods rich in tryptophan are cheese, yogurt, pork, duck, avocados, and walnuts.
Because it converts to serotonin, tryptophan may also cause drowsiness and headaches. It is recommended that tryptophan not be used before exercise and driving.