Tryptophan as a sleep aid, antidepressant, and for chronic pain relief

Clinical research has tended to confirm tryptophan’s effectiveness both as a sleep aid and for other conditions typically associated with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It has shown value as an antidepressant, and as an “enhancer” or “augmenter” of antidepressant drugs. Other promising indications include relief of chronic pain.

For dosing recommendations, see NYBC product entry for Tryptophan

As a sleep aid, Melatonin also has good evidence to support its use. Note that 5-HTP, which is closely related to Tryptophan, has also been studied as an antidepressant.

Citation: Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C (2002). “Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression”. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (1): CD003198.

Tryptophan for chronic pain: Seltzer S, Dewart D, Pollack RL, Jackson E. The effects of dietary tryptophan on chronic maxillofacial pain and experimental pain tolerance. J Psychiatr Res 1982-83;17(2):185-6.

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