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NutriVals is a free database of Nutrition Facts.

Tryptophan

What is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissues in the body. It is one of the nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own and must be obtained through diet or supplements. Tryptophan is also a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep.

Why do we need Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is necessary for the body to synthesize proteins, and it also plays a key role in the production of serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin is involved in the regulation of many physiological processes, including mood, appetite, and sleep, and low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Where is Tryptophan found?

Tryptophan is found in a wide range of protein-rich foods, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soybeans, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. Plant-based sources of tryptophan are often less bioavailable than animal-based sources, meaning they are less easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

Daily requirements

The recommended daily intake of tryptophan is 3.5 mg per kilogram of body weight for adults. This means that an average-sized adult requires approximately 250 to 350 milligrams of tryptophan per day.

Tryptophan deficiency

A deficiency in tryptophan can result in low serotonin levels, which may lead to symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. However, tryptophan deficiency is rare and is typically only seen in individuals who are severely malnourished or have an underlying medical condition that affects tryptophan absorption or metabolism.

Can you get too much Tryptophan?

While it is possible to consume too much tryptophan, it is unlikely to occur through dietary intake alone. Excess tryptophan is usually excreted in the urine. However, taking high doses of tryptophan supplements can cause a condition known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), which can cause severe muscle pain, skin rash, and other symptoms.

Should I get Tryptophan supplements?

Tryptophan supplements are available, but they are typically not necessary for individuals who consume a well-balanced diet. However, in some cases, such as in individuals with certain medical conditions that affect tryptophan metabolism or absorption, supplementation may be recommended. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

Fun facts

Tryptophan is often associated with the drowsiness that occurs after eating a large Thanksgiving meal, but this is a common misconception. While tryptophan is found in turkey, it is not present in significantly higher amounts than other protein-rich foods.

Tryptophan is used to produce the blue color in some cheeses, such as Roquefort and Stilton.

Tryptophan is the rarest of all the essential amino acids, making up only about 1% of the total amino acid content in proteins.

Food high in Tryptophan

This list shows food that are top sources of Tryptophan and the quantity of Tryptophan in 100g of food

Tryptophan
RDA
0.436 g
156%
0.383 g
137%
0.369 g
132%
0.289 g
103%
0.287 g
103%
0.287 g
103%
0.261 g
93%
0.254 g
91%
0.244 g
87%
0.237 g
85%
0.228 g
81%
0.2 g
71%
0.185 g
66%
0.182 g
65%
0.177 g
63%
0.167 g
60%

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Food
Fruit Vegetables Meat Dairy Eggs Bread Superfood Legumes Cereals Nuts and Seeds Seafood Other Spices and Herbs
Macronutrients Carbohydrate Fat Protein Water Fiber
Vitamins Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine (B6) Folate (B9) Cobalamine (B12) Ascorbic Acid (C) Vitamin A Vitamin K Vitamin E Vitamin D
Minerals Calcium (Ca) Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn) Iodine (I) Selenium (Se) Fluoride (F)
Amino acids Arginine Histidine Lysine Aspartic Acid Glutamic Acid Serine Threonine Asparagine Glutamine Cysteine Selenocysteine Glycine Proline Alanine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylalanine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine