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Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, used by the brain to produce serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter which transfers nerve impulses from cell to cell, and is responsible for normal sleep.
Tryptophan also helps combat depression and insomnia and to stabilize moods. It helps to control hyperactivity in children, alleviates stress, benefits the heart, aids in weight control as an appetite suppressant, and enhances the release of growth hormone. B-6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the formation of tryptophan, which is required for the formation of serotonin. A lack of tryptophan and magnesium may contribute to coronary artery spasms or irregular heartbeats; supplementation can conceivably reduce heart attacks.
L-tryptophan does not work by drugging or depressing the central nervous system, L-tryptophan simply returns normal function by being available for the body to use as needed. Although tryptophan is found in foods, such as brown rice, cottage cheese, turkey, peanuts, and soy protein, the best way is supplementation, since this is the only way to cross the blood brain barrier for absorption in any noticeable amount. High protein meals can depress the brain levels of L-tryptophan since they compete with various other amino acids for uptake.
The body will use some tryptophan to make the B-vitamin Niacin (B3), if a person is niacin deficient. Therefore one should take a good B-complex or multi vitamin; the inositol in the B-complex also helps with anti-anxiety and sleep normalizing properties, while the B-6 will prevent undesirable degradation of excreted tryptophan.
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