L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is present in plant and animal protein sources. Tryptophan is absorbed by the body, then converted into 5-hyrdoxyltryptophan, or 5-HTP. Both substances have the ability to readily cross between the blood-brain barrier. 5-HTP is converted into serotonin which is crucial to the body in many ways.
L-tryptophan should not be combined with antidepressants, CNS depressants, dextromethorphan, meperidine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), pentazocine, or tramadol due to an increased risk of serotonin syndrome and additive serotonergic effects. It is not recommended that l-tryptophan be used with either benzodiazepines or phenothiazines.
Some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects when taking l-tryptophan. These side effects include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, belching, flatulence, diarrhea, headache, dry mouth, lightheadedness, impaired vision, ataxia, drowsiness, and anorexia.
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