L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid important for the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin which are hormones that regulate mood and stress response. L-Tryptophan helps support relaxation, sleep, positive mood and immune function. L-Tryptophan is the precursor to Serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is deficient in people who have depression. L-Tryptophan also supports immune functions because it is the body's precursor to the kynurenines that regulate immunity. If needed, L-tryptophan converts to niacin in the body, which supports circulation, a healthy nervous system, the metabolism of food, and the production of hydrochloric acid for the digestive system. As an essential amino acid, it is not synthesized by the body and must be obtained from the diet.
During dieting, L-Tryptophan levels and serotonin levels drop dramatically. These low serotonin levels in overweight and obese patients are known to cause carbohydrate cravings and the resultant binge eating. Because brain and blood levels of serotonin, rise and fall depending on the amount of L-Tryptophan you consume, many health practitioners use L-Tryptophan to stop the cravings and help diets succeed. Numerous clinical trials on overweight patients have demonstrated food cravings decrease, and food intake decreases when serotonin levels are high. Tryptophan is necessary for the production of niacin. It is used by the brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that transfers nerve impulses between cells and is responsible for normal sleep. L-Tryptophan helps to combat depression and insomnia and to stabilize moods. It helps to control hyperactivity in children, alleviates stress, is good for the heart, aids in weight control by reducing appetite, and enhances the release of growth hormone. It is good for migraine headaches and may reduce some of the effects of nicotine.