Tryptophan: Eat Your Depression Away!

Tryptophan is one of the amino acids in our body. Tryptophan, also called l-tryptophan, is praised for the positive effects it has on mood and depression. Tryptophan is converted by the body into 5-HTP, which is then converted into the so-called happiness chemical serotonin.

Nutrition and Health

It has been known for some time that nutrition has a direct influence on our health. There are even entire guidelines for what certain nutrients you should consume in a day and in what quantities. However, particular attention is paid to physical health. But what about mental health?


Depression or depressive disorder is a mental illness characterized by a depressed mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure for at least two weeks. In addition, there may be complaints such as an irritable mood, loss of energy, concentration problems and recurring thoughts of death.
At any given time, approximately 6% of the population suffers from depression. Viewed over a lifetime, approximately 15% of people develop depression. In addition, a large part of the population regularly or occasionally suffers from a depressive mood or a dip. Depression is therefore a serious condition that affects many people.


Tryptophan, often abbreviated to TRP, is one of 20 amino acids that occur naturally in the body. Tryptophan belongs to the category of essential amino acids.
Tryptophan plays an important role in the production of serotonin , one of the many neurotransmitters in our body. Serotonin is a brain chemical associated with mood, sexual activity, appetite, sleep and emotion. Tryptophan is converted in the body into 5-hydroxytryptophan , abbreviated to 5-HTP , which is then converted into serotonin. Increasing the amount of tryptophan in the body therefore indirectly increases the amount of serotonin in the body.

What does tryptophan contain?

The natural version of trypotphan is called l-tryptophan and occurs naturally in certain foods, including:

  • Bananas
  • Milk
  • Chickpeas
  • Chocolate

Nutritional supplements are available at drugstores and pharmacies that contain l-tryptophan and therefore increase the amount of tryptophan in the body. In addition to its effects on mood, tryptophan also affects sleep, has a calming effect and has a positive influence on muscle building, making it a popular substance among bodybuilders.

Tryptophan side effects

In addition to all the positive effects, tryptophan can also have some side effects that are experienced as unpleasant by most people. These generally occur within the first few weeks of use and then disappear. For example, tryptophan can cause dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue.
In addition, tryptophan should not be used at the same time as certain medications, including antidepressants.

Tryptophan: eats away your depression?

But is tryptophan really such a miracle drug?
Tryptophan therefore increases the amount of serotonin in the body, indirectly. But scientists have not yet figured out exactly how depression is caused. Some depressed people do have sufficient serotonin in the body, but for them the available serotonin is broken down too quickly by cells in the brain, meaning that the substance cannot do its work long enough. Then you can increase the amount of serotonin, but it will not solve the problem. Tryptophan will therefore not improve the mood of everyone.
In addition, depression is often caused by external events, such as stressful events such as the loss of a partner or too much stress at work. However, these problems will not disappear when you take a pill. That is why it is advisable, in addition to taking a medication or tryptophan, to always contact a psychologist who can teach you how to deal with the problems.

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