Tryptophan is a very important organic compound for the human body. It participates in the production of proteins, is a precursor of some hormones, and is important for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It is also important for our well-being and has an impact on the quality of sleep. Find out what properties tryptophan has, how it can solve sleep problems, where it occurs and how to use it.
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Tryptophan – properties
Tryptophan is an amino acid included in proteins, such as milk and blood proteins. It belongs to the group of essential amino acids, that is the ones, which are not produced by human organism, but have to be supplied from the outside, through food. Tryptophan plays an extremely important role in the human body, among others, it is a key link in the production of hormones – serotonin and melatonin, it also participates in the production of growth hormone. In addition, niacin, vitamin B3, is synthesized on the basis of tryptophan metabolism.
The tasks that tryptophan fulfills in the body relate to different areas of its functioning. First of all, it is worth mentioning the importance of this amino acid for our brain. Tryptophan undergoes transformations, the fruit of which is serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone. It is a neurotransmitter, whose high level in the body promotes the feeling of positive emotions and well-being. Conversely, when the level of serotonin is too low, we get depressed more easily, we feel depressed, irritable, we have a bad mood, we are more susceptible to stress.
Another derivative of tryptophan is melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone, which regulates our biological clock and guards the correct circadian rhythm. The chain of metabolism is as follows: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is formed from tryptophan, which is then converted into serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin. A high level of melatonin in the body in the evening hours is a guarantee for a healthy, restful sleep.
Improving mood, elevating mood, eliminating tension and regulating sleep and wakefulness rhythms by tryptophan are properties which make it often used by people complaining about insomnia, struggling with problems with falling asleep and people who tend to fall into depressive states. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that apart from these important functions, tryptophan also shows a number of other properties, among others:
- influences the increase of the immunity of the organism;
- takes part in metabolism, regulates metabolism;
- suppresses the appetite, eliminates the desire for carbohydrates;
- supports eyesight, protects against UV radiation, has a positive effect on vision after dark;
- improves the functioning of the nervous system, regulates the level of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system;
- improves concentration, enhances feelings of motivation;
- supports muscle mass building;
- has a positive effect on the quality of sleep, promotes night-time regeneration of the body, eliminates fatigue and improves mood, both immediately after waking up and during the day.
Tryptophan – sources
As for the occurrence of tryptophan in food, it is a fairly common amino acid. Nevertheless, if we would like to feel the distinct effects of tryptophan and wish it to help us with sleep or mood disorders or to fight everyday stress, we should think about supplementing it. However we should remember to always take tryptophan according to the instructions on the package, because the excess of this amino acid may cause some side effects such as: headaches, vomiting, nausea, worsening of mood, nervous system disorders.
Foods richest in tryptophan are:
- pumpkin seeds,
- Parmesan cheese,
- yellow cheese,
- sunflower seeds,
- legumes (e.g. beans, soybeans),
- cottage cheese,
Read also: How to fall asleep quickly
Tryptophan – opinions
Dietary supplements containing L-tryptophan are very popular. Consumers return for more packs of this amino acid, which proves that it is effective in its action. Tryptophan reviews claim that it improves mood and is an antidote for sleep problems. A noticeable reduction in tension, negative emotions, and a pessimistic attitude is the highlighted benefit of this amino acid.
Tryptophan speakers are convinced that regular supplementation with this substance results in a reduced susceptibility to stress, an improvement in mood, a decrease in the frequency of bad mood attacks and an overall improvement in mental performance.
A lot of people consider the improvement of sleep quality as the most important benefit of tryptophan. The effects include: relaxation in the evening, easy and fast falling asleep, recovery of healthy and sound sleep, easy awakening, better mood in the morning and throughout the day.
Tryptophan is available in many dietary supplements, both in pharmacies and on the internet. You can buy it in the form of pure L-tryptophan (in powder or capsules) or in the form of multi-ingredient mixtures. Which one is better? Certainly a lot depends on the type and intensity of the ailment you are fighting. When it comes to sleep problems, supplements with tryptophan, which also contain several other ingredients important for regulating our biological clock, are very popular and highly effective.
Take, for example, a market novelty which, due to its particularly well-chosen composition, is very popular – Melatolin Plus. It contains not only tryptophan, but also melatonin, and besides them: gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), L-theanine, extract from melissa, extract from hops, ashwagandha, extract from saffron, extract from chamomile, vitamin B6. Such a blend, taken regularly and in the right doses, can be a remedy for any sleep disorder.
Read more about sleeping pills