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L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, therefore it is not synthesized by the body and must be obtained from the diet. L-Tryptophan is critical for the production of serotonin and melatonin, which help to support a positive mood, healthy sleep patterns, and proper immune system function.
Tryptophan is one of many amino acids found in foods that contain protein and once in the body, amino acids are used to make proteins among many other functions.
For example, amino acids are necessary to produce several important molecules that help transmit signals. In particular, tryptophan can be converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which is used to make serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin affects several organs, including the brain and intestines. In the brain specifically, it influences sleep, cognition, and mood. Meanwhile, melatonin is a hormone that’s most notably involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
Overall, tryptophan and the molecules it produces are essential to the optimal functioning of the body.