Tryptophan is an essential amino acid required for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Tryptophan is an essential, aromatic amino acid precursor to serotonin via 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Serotonin is produced in the brain and the gut. It regulates gut motility, mood and helps induce sleep in those with insomnia.
Tryptophan has special functions in brain chemistry and is the precursor to the brain chemical serotonin and the vitamin niacin in the body.
Low tryptophan may be the result of poor diet or elevated total body synthesis of serotonin, which depletes tryptophan.
Low levels are commonly correlated with depression, insomnia and schizophrenia.
Supplementation with 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) may help. 5-HTP is one enzymatic step away from serotonin.
Low levels of the three aromatic amino acids, tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine, may indicate inadequate stomach acid.
Tryptophan is high with tryptophan supplementation and in some individuals with a high protein diet. Clinically, high tryptophan is associated with headaches and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment.
Required nutrients for this process include niacin and vitamin B6.
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