▷ How to Choose the Best Tryptophan Supplement (2020 Update)
  • Home  / 
  • Supplements
  •  /  Choosing Tryptophan Supplements: Benefits, Safety and Dosage

We earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Choosing Tryptophan Supplements: Benefits, Safety and Dosage

Reviewed by María Torres, M.D. on May 17, 2019
Written by Sabrina Wilson
Choosing the Best Tryptophan Supplement

There are a multitude of nutrients that the human body needs to function effectively on a day to day basis. These compounds are used to create hormones, allow enzymatic reactions, and assist in the production of energy.

With this in mind, they are integral to your health.

Interestingly, there is some recent evidence to suggest that the supplementation of certain nutrients can actually enhance function beyond what could we would typically consider to be ‘normal’.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s article, Tryptophan.

What is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is a specific type of protein known as an essential amino acid.  This particular amino acid is considered essential because it is vital to the maintenance of normal health and function, however it cannot be produced within the body.

As a result, tryptophan must be obtained through diet, or of course, through supplementation (most commonly in the form of L-Trytophan).

Tryptophan can be found in high amounts in oats, bananas, milk, tuna, cheese, chicken, turkey, and peanuts.

Somewhat inconveniently, tryptophan cannot be stored for long periods within the human body. As such, it also happens to be the least commonly appearing amino acid in the body.

After consumption it is metabolically transformed to bioactive metabolites including serotonin, melatonin, kynurenine, and the vitamin niacin (nicotinamide).

Tryptophan is so important because it is converted into a specific molecule known as 5-hydroxytryptophan (of 5-HTP for short) in the brain. 5-HTP is an important compound that is used to produce the hormone serotonin.

Additionally, in a very similar manner, tryptophan is also used in the production of the key hormone Melatonin.

And this is where this amazing amino acids provides all of its health benefits.

What are the Benefits of Taking Tryptophan?

Given that tryptophan is such an important compound, it stands to reason that its supplementation can offer us a myriad of health benefits. As a result, we have taken an objective look at the research to determine where it offers us the most merit.

Does Tryptophan Improve Sleep?

Tryptophan assists in the production of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is an incredibly important hormone that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, and subsequently ensures the maintenance of normal sleep patterns.

Interestingly, the regular supplementation of tryptophan has been shown to increase melatonin production in the brain. Through this interaction, it has the capacity to improve your ability to fall asleep and increase sleep duration, thus causing a global increase in sleep quality.

Can Tryptophan Help Depression?

It has been hypothesised that depression can be the result of reduced serotonin production in the brain. This key hormone interacts with the neural tissue, creating sensations of joy, happiness, and content.

With this in mind, the supplementation of serotonin has been shown to reduce the severity of depressive symptoms in individuals suffering from depression.

However, it is important to note that it doesn’t work in all cases – a small portion of individuals suffering from depression may not respond to its supplementation in any manner at all.

Does Tryptophan Help with Weight Loss?

In conjunction with its apparent impact on sleep and mental health, there is also some evidence to suggest that supplementation of tryptophan can aid weight loss. You see, supplementing with this amino acid has been shown to cause significant reductions in appetite throughout the day.

As a result, tryptophan may have the ability to enhance weight loss by providing a simple way to reduce daily energy intake.

Does Tryptophan Improve Athletic Performance?

There is some interesting research demonstrating that tryptophan supplementation can also impact aerobic exercise performance in a positive manner. Those athletes taking tryptophan regularly have been shown to increase the amount of time that they can exercise until they reach a state of complete exhaustion.

Additionally, these same athletes perceive normal exercise to be easier than when they weren’t supplementing with tryptophan, demonstrating further positive effects in this area.

Can Tryptophan Help Dementia?

And finally, there is also evidence to suggest that those individuals who suffer from dementia have significantly lower amounts of serotonin within their brains and neural tissue than their healthy counterparts.

Because a tryptophan-enriched diet is reported to prevent the age-induced decline of hippocampal serotonin (5-HT), the  serotonin of the central nervous system production that may contribute to age-related cognitive decline.

The enhanced tryptophan intake and the potential increases in 5-HT neurotransmission might help prevent age-related detrimental aspect by inhibiting hippocampal apoptosis.

As a result, tryptophan supplementation has been shown to reduce dementia symptoms in these individuals.

Can Tryptophan Help a Diabetic Patient?

The evidence indicates that a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet increases the expenditure of glucose energy and is therefore beneficial in patients with type-2 diabetes. Tryptophan suppressed both serum glucose and insulin levels and inhibited glucose absorption from the intestine, suggesting that the amino acid suppressed the elevation of the blood glucose levels and reduced the adverse effects associated with insulin secretion from the β-cell pancreatic cells.

The Best Tryptophan Product Reviews

As tryptophan offers some pretty incredible health benefits, we wanted to give you some great options that you can begin to use immediately.

Our first option by Source Naturals is one of the most potent available on the market at the moment, in which it provides a whopping dosage of 1500mg pure L-Tryptophan per serve.

This is a great choice for those after high dosed, extremely effective option.

This great option by BulkSupplements is quite different to the others on this list as it comes in powder form, rather than a more traditional capsule. While this may be slightly less convenient for some individuals, it does mean that you can tailor your dosage as you sit fit.

Additionally, this particular product is extremely affordable, making it the ideal option for those on a tight budget.

Our final option by NOW supplements is a great choice. It provides a scientifically supported dosage of 500mg per serve, offering everything you need to boost health.

As an added bonus, it is also of an extremely high quality, and is very affordable – you really can’t go wrong.

What is the Optimal Tryptophan Dosage?

The current recommended daily intake for tryptophan varies from 250-425mg per day, however a commonly used dosage in research studies is 500mg per day. This is because a tolerable upper limit is yet to be established, with some research demonstrating that you can consume up to 8 grams per day for 8 weeks without experiencing any severe side effects.

With this in mind, we recommend you keep your dosage to between 500mg and 4g per day.

Does Tryptophan Have Any Side Effects?

Tryptophan can cause some side effects in susceptible individuals. These may include: