Tryptophan is an amino acid, which is a constituent of proteins. Among the 22 existing amino acids, tryptophan is one of the nine so-called “essential”: it cannot be manufactured by the body and must imperatively be supplied each day by the diet.
What are the roles and benefits of tryptophan?
Tryptophan is a precursor of a neurotransmitter, the serotonin, that is to say that he participates in its production. This brings serenity (fight against anxiety and stress) and well-being. It thus allows to take a step back on the events and intervenes in the emotional hunger control mechanisms and is, itself, a precursor of melatonin, which makes it easier to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep.
Tryptophan also allows the synthesis of vitamin B3 in the liver. This vitamin is involved in particular in the production of energy, helps fight against hypercholesterolemia and helps reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood.
What are our daily tryptophan needs?
The National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) considers that an adult needs 4 mg of tryptophan per kilo of body weight per day, or 200 mg if you weigh 50 kilos.
However, actual requirements could be up to 500 mg per day in some cases. deficit situations : period of significant stress, restrictive diets, intestinal malabsorption, vegetarianism, intensive sport, excess alcohol, taking certain oral contraceptives, etc.
How to cover them?
With a reasonable consumption of foods rich in protein: eggs, ham or cheese for breakfast, meat or fish for lunch and dinner, a portion of legumes at noon and a handful of almonds with dark chocolate around 5 p.m.
In consume at the end of the afternoon is particularly interesting because it makes it possible to optimize the synthesis of serotonin in the evening and, thus, to avoid the sweet urges and the difficulties of falling asleep.
Which foods are the richest in tryptophan?
Plants are the best sources of tryptophan, but it is also found in animal products. Many foods contain it: dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, legumes, nuts, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa… However, it is often present in limited quantities.
© Health Magazine
When to supplement with tryptophan? Contraindications?
ANSES recommends do not exceed 220 mg per day, a contribution which, according to her, is easily covered for part of the French population. However, supplementation at 500 mg per day may be necessary in case of:
- of proven deficit manifested by sugar compulsions at the end of the day,
- of difficulty falling asleep,
- mood disorders,
But before it is essential to refer to a nutritionist doctor because there are many contraindications, including:
- chronic inflammatory disease,
- from digestive disorders (diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel …),
- taking antidepressants,
- pregnancy and breastfeeding,