An Overview of Tryptophan and Breastfeeding
It is not known if tryptophan
(also known as L-tryptophan
) supplements are safe for use in women who are breastfeeding. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is essential for human nutrition. While it is found in many foods, it is also available in dietary supplements
. However, there are concerns that tryptophan supplementation may not be safe for anyone, including breastfeeding women. Until more information is available, it is probably a good idea to avoid tryptophan supplements while breastfeeding.
Is Tryptophan Safe for Breastfeeding Women?
At this time, it is not known if tryptophan supplementation is safe for women who are breastfeeding. It might seem logical that tryptophan supplements would be perfectly safe for women who are breastfeeding, as tryptophan is just an amino acid that is found in many foods. However, just because a normal dietary intake of tryptophan through food is safe, it cannot be assumed that using tryptophan supplements medicinally is equally as safe. Perhaps the higher levels of tryptophan could cause problems, or perhaps the tryptophan in supplements is slightly different from the tryptophan found in foods. Until more information is available, it is probably wise to wait until after weaning your child to take tryptophan supplements.
Importantly, there are concerns that tryptophan supplements may cause a serious medical condition known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). It is not clear if all tryptophan supplements (or just certain contaminated supplements) are linked with this problem (see Safety of Tryptophan for more information)
. Until more information is available, it is probably a good idea for breastfeeding women (and perhaps even all people) to avoid tryptophan supplements.