~ 121007 A New / Old Product: L-Tryptophan is Available Again

L-Tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino-acid, is the precursor of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter produced in the brain and linked to sleep and relaxation. While it is a plentiful protein in many foods, it is largely destroyed through cooking and processing. L-Tryptophan acts to stimulate production of serotonin and has been found to be helpful in pain, anxiety, stress, depression, alcohol withdrawal, weight loss, and PMS.

Until the fall of 1989, when the FDA recalled it, L-Tryptophan was a major dietary supplement. Unfortunately L-Tryptophan manufactured by a Japanese company, Showa Denko, was found to cause a rare and deadly flu-like condition, Eosinophilic-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). In March of 1990 the FDA completely banned the sale of L-Tryptophan supplements. Though the cause of the EMS outbreak was found to be a manufacturing anomaly that contaminated the Showa Denko product, the FDA refused to withdraw its ban. Interestingly, the FDA never required the removal of L-Tryptophan from baby food produced and sold in the U.S.

It is no coincidence then that, during the spring of 1990, the new anti-depressant wonder drug, Prozac, was brought to market. The actions of both Prozac and L-Tryptophan increase levels of serotonin, though in very different ways. While Prozac works as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, increasing serotonin levels by inhibiting its breakdown, L-Tryptophan is a precursor that acts to stimulate serotonin production. In other words it was a safe, relatively cheap competitor to Prozac.

Finally, in 2005, the FDA withdrew the ban on the importation of L-Tryptophan making it available once again for sale as a dietary supplement in the U.S.

L-Tryptophan should always be taken on an empty stomach. Take one or two capsules daily as a dietary supplement for relaxation. In more severe conditions, increase to six or more capsules daily. Avoid combining L-Tryptophan with other serotonin increasing supplements such as 5HTP or with serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs such as Prozac.
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