Tryptophan is an essential (essential for life) amino acid. These amino acids are building blocks of proteins. And proteins build blocks of proteins. And proteins build muscle fibres, skin and other cells, and as enzymes they perform various functions in the human body - for example, an enzyme called lipase is responsible for breaking down fatty acids. It is best known and used for being a precursor of serotonin. It is from tryptophan that our body can produce serotonin.
Serotonin (5-HT) is one of the "happy hormones", we don't know all the effects of this hormone, but it plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, sexuality, sleep, pain and the reward system.
Serotonin deficiency has been linked to a number of neurological disorders:
- Bipolar disorder
- Fibromyalgia (chronic, body-wide pain)
In today's world we are exposed to a huge amount of stress. This can lead to persistent tension and constant nervousness. It can even cause illness.
So serotonine hormone stimulation is important in stress management. This is where the amino acid tryptophan can help. Studies have confirmed that tryptophan intake can stimulate serotonin levels, leading to a better mood and better quality sleep. This can also help combat depression and other mental illnesses.
Foods rich in tryptophan:
- Dried dates
- Milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese
- Red meat, poultry, fish, eggs
- Sesame seeds, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds, peanuts