Tryptophan is a protein amino acid belonging to the group of essential amino acids. It cannot be synthesized by the body, therefore, it should be supplied from external sources. Food products particularly rich in tryptophan include bananas, oats, dried plums, milk, and meat. Tryptophan deficiency can also be complemented with supplements. Their composition usually includes a well-absorbable L-tryptophan or free tryptophan.
Tryptophan does not accumulate in the body, therefore, compared to other amino acids, its level is usually the lowest. It performs many important functions in the system – it is primarily used to produce several important neurotransmitters and neurohormones. They include, among others, serotonin, tryptamine, and melatonin. Most of the benefits associated with increasing the supply of tryptophan are due to the improved synthesis of these compounds.
Tryptophan supplements improve mental well-being and have a positive effect on the quality of sleep. They are especially recommended for people suffering from mild depression-anxiety disorders or insomnia. They are also helpful in case of uncontrolled appetite for carbohydrates. Athletes often reach for tryptophan preparations to increase pain tolerance. As a result, they can engage in longer and more intense training sessions.