Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the human body cannot produce but can be obtained through your diet, specifically from animal and plant-based protein sources.

Tryptophan is linked to a variety of mental health benefits and is responsible for producing serotonin in our bodies. Your body needs serotonin to produce melatonin which improves sleep. It also helps decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, while improving a person’s overall moods and emotional state.

Why do we need Tryptophan?

Tryptophan has the lowest amount in the body of any amino acid- yet it is beneficial and essential for a broad selection of metabolic functions that affect your mood, cognition, and behavior.

Some of the research trials have shown possible benefits of Tryptophan in treating sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual discomfort, and reducing anxiety.

Foods with Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesized by humans and can only be found in both plant and animal-based proteins. Since tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods, it is assumed to be safe in normal quantities. We may not be aware of it but, most people consume more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which is 250-425 milligrams per day.

To know whether you are consuming more than the recommended amount, here are a few healthy choices where Tryptophan can be found:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oats
  • Tofu

While tryptophan consumed through food is typically safe, some people experience adverse effects from the supplement form and should be used with caution. It is better for our bodies to include tryptophan-rich foods where the tryptophan occurs naturally in our diets.

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