An essential amino acid is an acid that our body can’t create on its own and we must get it from food. The main important purposes of tryptophan are nitrogen balance in adults (anabolic state; you can build muscles), better quality sleep and reduction of anxiety.
The list of benefits is quite impressive and here are some more of them:
- it helps with Insomnia
- it produces serotonin
- it reduces appetite
- it manages pain tolerance
- it can decrease dementia symptoms
- it makes you feel less exhausted during training
- it increases growth hormone that stimulates growth in kids
Where can you find it?
Some common everyday products that has tryptophan include:
- poultry (chicken, turkey, goose)
- oats for oatmeal
Below I’ve gathered some more products that contain lots of tryptophan based on Reference Daily Intake (RDI over 100% in 100 g) for an average adult person:
dried spirulina seaweed (332%), dried eggs (277%), roasted pumpkin seeds (203%), parmesan (200%), mozzarella (184%), dried parsley (170%), chia seeds (170%), pan-fried bacon (145%), cooked chicken breast (144%), roast goose (144%), gouda (126%), dried sunflower seeds (124%), cooked octopus (119%), roast duck (117%), roasted ham (116%), canned anchovies (116%), dried spearmint (109%), flax seeds (106%)
Health risks, side effects and dosing
You shouldn’t have any problems with covering the recommended daily intake (4 mg / kg per day according to the WHO). This value may vary based on a person and activity. But for instance it is enough for an average person to cover this value by eating 100g of roasted chicken breast or 50g of parmesan cheese.
The safest form of tryptophan is in food and you should consult a specialist if you want to supplement this amino acid (there were lots of reports about adverse side effects like diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunctions or headaches).
Tryptophan deficiency can lead to mood swings, memory decline, increased irritability and anxiety and can even make you more aggressive.