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Tryptophan

 

Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. It is an essential amino acid. This means your body cannot produce it, so you must get it from your diet.

Function

The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood.

In order for tryptophan in the diet to be changed into niacin, the body needs to have enough:

  • Iron
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B6

Food Sources

 

Tryptophan can be found in:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Turkey

 

 

References

Murray MT. 5-Hydroxytryptophan. In: Pizzorno JE, Murray MT, eds. Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2013:chap 98.

United States Department of Health and Human Services; United States Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. Updated December 2015. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed January 15, 2016.

 
  • Amino acids

    Amino acids - illustration

    Amino acids are either "essential", which must be supplied by food, or "nonessential", which are made in the body.

    Amino acids

    illustration

  • Food guide pyramid

    Food guide pyramid - illustration

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's newest food guide, called MyPlate, encourages consumers to make healthier food choices. The guide encourages you to eat less and avoid oversized portions. Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. At least half of your grains should be whole grains. You also should switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

    Food guide pyramid

    illustration

    • Amino acids

      Amino acids - illustration

      Amino acids are either "essential", which must be supplied by food, or "nonessential", which are made in the body.

      Amino acids

      illustration

    • Food guide pyramid

      Food guide pyramid - illustration

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture's newest food guide, called MyPlate, encourages consumers to make healthier food choices. The guide encourages you to eat less and avoid oversized portions. Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. At least half of your grains should be whole grains. You also should switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

      Food guide pyramid

      illustration

    Self Care

     

       

      Review Date: 1/31/2016

      Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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