Search

Tryptophan

Definition

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

Information

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:

Tryptophan can be found in:

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

References

. Washington, DC. US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture: 2005.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.