Benefits of Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an important amino acid that can only be obtained through dietary means. The supplements are claimed to have several beneficial uses, such as helping with depression, PMS, and teeth grinding. Other tryptophan benefits include helping people to quit smoking and enhancing athletic performance. Some of these claims are more valid than others, and there is some concern that tryptophan supplements may not be safe.
Does Tryptophan Offer Any Benefits?Tryptophan (sometimes known as L-tryptophan) is an amino acid. It is essential for human nutrition, as the human body cannot produce tryptophan on its own. Supplements are sometimes claimed to be beneficial for treating the following conditions:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Tourette syndrome.
Tryptophan is also sometimes used to help people quit smoking and to enhance athletic performance.
Some of these claimed tryptophan benefits are more valid than others (see Does Tryptophan Work? for more information), and some claims have no real scientific basis. As with many supplements, these claims are sometimes exaggerated, and must be evaluated critically.
There is some concern that tryptophan supplements may not be safe for the general public (see Safety of Tryptophan for more information). For many people, the potential risks may outweigh the possible benefits of tryptophan.
How Does Tryptophan Work?Tryptophan is an amino acid, which is important for building proteins. The body also uses it to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in depression and anxiety. The body also uses tryptophan to make niacin (a vitamin) and melatonin (a hormone).