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Tryptophan: properties, uses and contraindications of this amino acid

Molecular structure model chemical formula tryptophan molecule

What is tryptophan and what is it for? Let's see what are its properties and contraindications to keep in mind.

An essential amino acid, tryptophan contributes to the psychophysical well-being of the human body. Generally, it is not synthesized by humans and is ingested through food . When this is not possible, there are many supplements on the market. Let's see what are the properties, uses and contraindications of tryptophan.

Tryptophan: properties and uses

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is not synthesized in the body. Therefore, it must be taken in through the diet. Fortunately, it is found in many foods, both plant and animal. The foods that contain it in higher doses are: cereals (such as spelt and oats ), legumes (such as beans , lentils and peas), some vegetables (such as asparagus and spinach) and highly protein foods (such as almonds and eggs). If you are not getting it through your diet, tryptophan can be taken in supplement form.

In any case, this amino acid is the precursor of important molecules, such as serotonin , melatonin and vitamin B3 . Therefore, it is essential for the regulation of mood, sleep-wake rhythms and for the regulation of the narrowing and dilation of blood vessels. Not only that, it also acts on appetite, sexuality, intestinal motility and mental well-being.

Tryptophan: side effects and contraindications

Tryptophan brings many benefits, so it is important to introduce it through nutrition. Where the diet is not balanced, it is recommended to take it in the form of a supplement. Before including it in your daily life, however, it is good to know tryptophan and its contraindications . Those following antidepressant therapies must be careful because the amino acid could interfere with the drugs.

Likewise, those with kidney or liver problems, eosinophilia sufferers, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from it. Among the most common side effects we have: drowsiness, heartburn and pain in the stomach, belching, abdominal swelling, nausea, vomiting , diarrhea, loss of appetite, headache, feeling light-headed, dry mouth, blurred vision, muscle weakness and problems in the sexual sphere.

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