Tryptophan rich foods

Tryptophan is a substance that has gotten a bad reputation lately. However, it is essential for good health and normal growth. The bad reputation came from contaminated supplements. However, eating foods rich in tryptophan is perfectly safe. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is necessary for normal growth and the biosynthesis of serotonin and niacin. It is found in small amounts in most proteins. The tryptophan in milk is what helps people to sleep if taken before bedtime. Tryptophan helps to regulate your appetite and elevate your mood as well. People who are deficient in tryptophan may experience depression, anxiety, irritability, impulsiveness, inability to concentrate and impatience. People may also experience unexplained weight gain can carbohydrate cravings. Insomnia and poor dream recall is also the consequence of not eating enough tryptophan rich foods. Slow growth in children can also be attributed to not eating enough tryptophan rich foods.

When the right foods are eaten the typptophan is converted by the liver into niacin. When the right kinds of foods are not eaten a niacin deficiency develops. You also need to eat enough tryptophan rich foods to keep your serotonin levels high. Seratonin regulates appetite, sleep patterns and mood. Mild insomnia and depression can by helped by using tryptophan therapeutically. Deficiencies can include the development of a rare condition called pellagra, however this is rare in the U.S. This is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death.

Supplementing with tryptophan can lead to toxicity. It is better to eat natural foods high in tryptophan. A serious condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome {EMS} can result when toxic amounts of supplemental tryptophan is taken. EMS is characterized by shortness of breath, swelling in the arms and legs, fever and weakness. More than 30 deaths have been linked to taking tyrptophan supplements and EMS. Tryptophan supplements were banned by the United States Food and Drug Administration because it has been determined tryptophan supplements to be unsafe.

Howeer, tryptophan rich foods should be consumed. These foods include all red meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, bananas, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish, and turkey. Foods highest in tryptophan are: shrimp, soy sauce, raw mushrooms, baked cod, yellow fin tuna, baked snapper, baked halibut, mustard greens, roasted chicken breast, baked scallops, boiled spinach, roasted turkey, tofu, beef tenderloin, calf’s liver and cooked soybeans. Other good food sources of tryptophan include; asparagus, broccoli, mustard seeds, mozzarella cheese, cauliflower, turnip greens, eggs, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, kidney beans, black beans, lima beans and split peas.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommends that people who are 1 year old and older should consume 7 milligrams of tryptophan for every gram of food protein that they eat a day. Children who are 1 – 3 years of age need to consume enough tryptophan rich foods to get 91 mg a day. Children 4-8 years need 133 mg of tryptophan. Young boys 9-13 years of age need 238 mg of tryptophan a day. Males who are 14-18 years need 364 mg of tryptophan. Males who are19 years and older need to consume enough foods that are high in tryptophan to get 392 mg of tryptophan. Females 9-13 years need 238 mg of tryptophan. Females 14 years and older need 322 mg of tryptophan and pregnant or lactating females need 497 mg of tryptophan a day. By eating tryptophan rich foods daily it is easy to meet this requirement. The best way to increase the absorption of tryptophan is to eat the foods that are high in tryptopahn by themseleves and on an empty stomach. You should not eat other proteins or amino acids when eating foods high in tryptophan to get the maximum benefit.

Last updated on May 11th, 2011 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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