TRYPTOPHAN – THE MAGICAL AMINO ACID

Amino acids are essential compounds required by the body. Tryptophan is one the twenty essential compounds called standard amino acids. These cannot be produced by the body and hence it is important that it has to be acquired through food or other dietary sources. It is very important in maintain the well being of the humans. They are required for processing of the biochemical reactions taking place in the body. They are needed for the building blocks in protein biosynthesis. And therefore these amino acids are needed by the body from external sources and supplements.

FUNCTION OF TRYPTOPHAN

Tryptophan is a biochemical precursor of serotonin, a very important neurotransmitter used for cellular signaling. In this process, the information acquired by the sensory neurons is sent to the brain for getting the action based information from the brain. Niacin is another biosynthetic intermediate which depends largely on the tryptophan for the normal functioning. It has also shown lot of benefits for people who have sleep problems. By increasing the serotonin levels, tryptophan helps people who have been facing insomnia. It is also helpful in treating other disorders like dysphonic disorders, seasonal disorders and depressive disorders. It has almost zero risk of overdose.

FOOD SOURCES

Tryptophan is available in various foods. Some of the various sources are egg white, cod, soybean, cheese, caribou and sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pork, turkey and chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, perch, milk, potatoes and banana. It is advisable to have these foods early and on an empty stomach.  The dietary supplements were prepared in such a way that whatever was lacking in the normal diet should be made available through these supplements.

Since this tryptophan is not available in the body and has to be obtained from other sources. A large amount is also excreted in the urine so it has to be replenished regularly.

Tryptophan gets converted to nicotinamide, and gets hampered in case there is vitamin B6 deficiency. Deficiency causes various diseases and causes various imbalances such as nitrogen imbalance. Eating whole grain bread can boost the levels of serotonin and elevate one’s mood. The metabolites of tryptophan are excreted in urine and faces. The tryptophan undergoes bacterial putrefaction in the intestines leading to formation of toxic substances. These are further detoxified with the help of acids in the liver.

The food sources of tryptophan work wonders for those suffering from insomnia and emotional disturbances. For normal functioning of the digestive juices and for blood clotting, it is very essential. It also has an added advantage of delaying the ageing process and also prevents the signs of ageing visible on hair, eye and teeth. It also can be used for relieving pain in various cases. By slowing the rate at which starch is decomposed in the body, it helps in protecting the teeth from decaying.

The recommended dietary intake of tryptophan suggested by experts is 3.3mg for children and 3.5mg per kg body weight for adults.

Common food sources also include bajra, ragi, soyabean, Bengal gram dal, spinach, sweet potato, nuts, mango, papaya, eggs and milk.

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