Tryptophan (L-tryptophan)

Tryptophan is one of the eight essential amino acids found in the human diet. Essential amino acids must be received in the diet from food or dietary supplements; non-essential aminos (of which there are 14) can be made from the essential aminos or from other non-essential amino acids.

In any normal diet, protein based tryptophan is believed to be the least plentiful of all 22 amino acids. A typical diet provides only 1 to 1.5 grams a day, yet there is quite a bit of competition in the body for available tryptophan. It is used to make various proteins, and in people with low to moderate intakes of vitamin B3 (niacin/ niacinamide), tryptophan may quite possibly be used in the liver to make B3 at the expensive ratio of 60mg tryptophan to one mg B3.

One of the most important roles of tryptophan is the production of 5-HTP. However, eating food that contains L-tryptophan (tryptophan) does not significantly increase 5-HTP levels. Supplemental 5-HTP is naturally derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant.