Best L-Tryptophan products contain Ajinomoto TryptoPure™. Tryptophan is
an essential amino acid readily converted by the body to the neurotransmitter
serotonin. Able to cross the blood-brain barrier,
L-tryptophan is altered by enzymes to first form the intermediate amino acid
5-HTP and then serotonin. It is also the metabolic precursor to melatonin and to
the B vitamin niacin. Supplementing the diet with pure L-tryptophan like
TryptoPure™, found in Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan products, can
improve sleep and enhance mood, and may also be beneficial in reducing
carbohydrate cravings. *
What is Ajinomoto TryptoPure™?
TryptoPure™ is pure,
pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan produced by the world's leading maker of amino
acids—Ajinomoto. The global leader in the research, production, and sales of
amino acids, Ajinomoto was one of the first to make pharmaceutical-grade amino
acids; they literally invented the process.
Ajinomoto TryptoPure™ is
considered the purest, most trusted L-tryptophan available.
It is manufactured via fermentation strictly from vegetable sources, not
animal, and it is between 99% and 100% pure. The level of impurities in
tryptophan from other makers can be much higher.
In fact, from 1989 to 2006 the
FDA was so concerned about the quality of tryptophan coming into the U.S., that
it instituted an import ban with one exception: Ajinomoto's TryptoPure™. In
1989, the importation of L-tryptophan was banned in the United States after
cases of an autoimmune illness called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome were traced
to an improperly prepared batch of tryptophan. The FDA limited L-tryptophan
availability to prescription drugs, infant formulas, and enteral feeding
products. Because the FDA recognized the unsurpassed quality Ajinomoto’s
TryptoPure™, it was excepted from the ban, but its use was limited to those few
products. Today, it is available over-the-counter in Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan
Promotes Normal, Healthy Restful Sleep*
Adequate sleep is a necessity for maintaining
proper health. Sleeping well enhances our ability to function during the day.
The body requires sleep as downtime to regenerate and repair essential bodily
functions and allow us to feel refreshed. L-Tryptophan is a potent nutrient that
has been found to enhance restful, peaceful sleep via a number of mechanisms.
L-tryptophan is best known for its ability to decrease the amount of time it
takes to fall asleep (George et al. 1989; Hartmann 1982). It has also been shown
in studies to enhance total sleep time, decrease intermittent wakening, and
decrease early morning wakefulness (Schneider-Helmert 1981; Wyatt et al. 1970),
allowing the body to feel rejuvenated.
The clinical efficacy of L-tryptophan is due to
its ability to support normal production of serotonin in the brain (Demisch et
al. 1987b; Hartmann 1982) (Demisch et al. 1987a). Serotonin has been implicated
in the regulation of sleep, mood, appetite, and temperature, among other roles
that it plays in the body (Birdsall 1998). In a review article summarizing
findings from over fifty studies conducted between 1970 and 1985, researchers
concluded that L-tryptophan enhances overall sleep quality and also effectively
provides a remedy for occasional sleeplessness. * It does this without dangerous
side effects and without any feelings of next-day drowsiness. (Leiberman
Enhances Mood and Sensations of Well-being*
Clinical studies show that
L-tryptophan supplementation can positively affect mood and emotional
well-being. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of 115
individuals found that the administration of L-tryptophan was significantly more
effective than placebo for enhancing mood and affect (Thomson J et al. 1982).
The subjects took 1 gram of L-tryptophan or an identical placebo capsule three
times per day for 12 weeks. Mood and affect were assessed using a standardized,
clinically recognized rating scale. Scores in the group supplementing with
L-tryptophan were significantly better than placebo at the end of the trial
period, indicating L-tryptophan’s success at supporting healthy mood.
Further studies suggest that in healthy
individuals, L-tryptophan has positive effects on mood, behavior, and emotional
processing. For example, in a recent study of healthy females with normal moods
and no history of depression, L-tryptophan supplementation alters the processing
and perception of emotional stimuli towards a more positive bias.
Supplementation with one gram three times per day caused an increase in happy
facial expressions, a decrease in negative and disgusted facial expressions, and
a decrease in the attention paid to negative words (Murphy et al. 2006). A
second study conducted in 2006 with a double blind crossover design indicated
that the same dose of L-tryptophan (1 gram three times per day) significantly
decreased quarrelsome and aggressive behaviors while enhancing agreeable
behaviors in everyday social interactions. In this study, participants reported
more positive and less negative emotions and rated their interactions as more
pleasant (aan het Rot et al. 2006).
A number of other studies point to the ability of
L-tryptophan supplementation to balance mood. A study published in 1990
suggested that individuals with seasonal variations in mood responded well to
supplementation with L-tryptophan (McGrath et al. 1990). Furthermore, compared
to standard light therapy, the mood enhancement associated with L-tryptophan
supplementation lasts longer after discontinuation than the effects seen after
stopping light therapy (Ghadirian et al. 1998).
An additional double blind placebo-controlled
study found that two grams of L-tryptophan administered three times a day, from
the day of ovulation to the third day of menstruation (the luteal phase) in
healthy women, significantly relieved the most prominent mood symptoms
associated with PMS. After three months of use, women taking L-tryptophan
experienced statistically significant control of extreme mood swings, sadness,
irritability, and tension. It also improved their perceived quality of life
(Steinberg et al. 1999).
Decreased Carbohydrate Cravings to Support Weight Management Efforts*
L-tryptophan may play a supportive role in
helping individuals who are currently involved in weight management programs and
diets by helping to reduce carbohydrate cravings. During dieting, serotonin
levels drop dramatically. Serotonin plays a role in controlling appetite, and
eating carbohydrate-rich foods increases serotonin levels in the brain. This may
explain carbohydrate cravings and resultant binge eating in some dieters. While
no human trials have examined L-tryptophan supplementation directly, a number of
clinical trials have used supplemental 5-HTP, the amino acid produced in the
body from L-tryptophan. Results of these trials have shown decreases in overall
food intake and a subsequent reduction in weight in individuals taking 5-HTP. (Birdsall,
1998). The majority (75%) of the decreased food intake was from carbohydrates,
suggesting decreased cravings for carbohydrates in individuals on 5-HTP (Cangiano
et al. 1991). It is likely that L-tryptophan supplementation would have similar
Use: Take 1 scoop daily, or as directed by a health practitioner. For
optimum absorption, take separately from protein-containing foods and dietary
supplements containing protein or amino acids. Take with water or juice.
Uncontaminated L-tryptophan has a thirty-year
history of safety and absence of adverse effects at levels commonly consumed by
humans. When administered in abnormally high dosages of 7 grams (for a 150 pound
human) per day, potential side effects include gastric irritation, vomiting, and
head twitching (2006). Use during pregnancy or lactation has not been studied as
of yet and is, therefore, not recommended. L-tryptophan should not be used by
individuals taking antidepressant drugs without close medical supervision.
Contain: milk, egg, wheat, corn, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or
Monograph. Altern Med Rev 11: 52-6.
aan het Rot, M., Moskowitz, D. S., Pinard, G.
and Young, S. N. 2006.
Social behaviour and mood in everyday life: the effects of tryptophan in
quarrelsome individuals. J Psychiatry Neurosci 31: 253-62.
Birdsall, T. C.
1998. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective
serotonin precursor. Alternative Medicine Review 3: 271-280.
Cangiano, C., Ceci, F., Cairella, M., Cascino,
A., Del Ben, M., Laviano, A., Muscaritoli, M. and Rossi-Fanelli, F.
1991. Effects of 5-hydroxytryptophan on
eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects.
Adv Exp Biol Med 294 ("Kynurenine and Serotonin Pathways"):
Demisch, K., Bauer, J. and Georgi, K.
1987a. Treatment of severe chronic insomnia
with L-tryptophan and varying sleeping times. Pharmacopsychiatry
Demisch, K., Bauer, J., Georgi, K. and Demisch,
L. 1987b. Treatment of
severe chronic insomnia with L-tryptophan: results of a double-blind cross-over
study. Pharmacopsychiatry 20: 242-244.
George, C. F., Millar, T. W., Hanly, P. J. and
Kryger, M. H. 1989. The
effect of L-tryptophan on daytime sleep latency in normals: correlation with
blood levels. Sleep 12: 345-53.
Ghadirian, A. M., Murphy, B. E. and Gendron, M.
J. 1998. Efficacy of
light versus tryptophan therapy in seasonal affective disorder. J
Affect Disord 50: 23-7.
Hartmann, E. 1982.
Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep. J
Psychiatr Res 17: 107-13.
McGrath, R. E., Buckwald, B. and Resnick, E. V.
1990. The effect of L-tryptophan on seasonal
affective disorder. J Clin Psychiatry 51: 162-3.
Murphy, S. E., Longhitano, C., Ayres, R. E.,
Cowen, P. J. and Harmer, C. J. 2006.
Tryptophan supplementation induces a positive bias in the processing of
emotional material in healthy female volunteers. Psychopharmacology
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1981. Interval therapy with L-tryptophan in
severe chronic insomniacs. A predictive laboratory study.
International Pharmacopsychiatry 16: 162-173.
Steinberg, S., Annable, L., Young, S. N. and
Liyanage, N. 1999. A
placebo-controlled clinical trial of L-tryptophan in premenstrual dysphoria.
Biol Psychiatry 45: 313-20.
Wyatt, R. J., Engelman, K., Kupfer, D. J., Fram,
D. H., Sjoerdsma, A. and Snyder, F. 1970.
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