Is tryptophan good for anxiety?

Yes, L-tryptophan has been shown to be beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety. It is an essential amino acid that is important for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, including anxiety levels. When serotonin levels are low, it can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Research studies have found that L-tryptophan supplementation can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in various populations, including those with major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, it has been found to be helpful in improving sleep quality in patients with insomnia, which can also contribute to feelings of anxiety.

  • A 2015 meta-analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials found that tryptophan supplementation was effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety, particularly in people with high trait anxiety (i.e., people who are generally more anxious).
  • A study published in 2019 found that tryptophan supplementation improved anxiety symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder who were also experiencing anxiety.
  • A study published in 2013 found that tryptophan supplementation improved symptoms of bipolar disorder, including anxiety.
  • A randomized controlled trial published in 2018 found that tryptophan supplementation reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military personnel.

Regarding sleep quality, some studies have found that tryptophan supplementation can improve sleep, which may in turn help to reduce feelings of anxiety. For example, a randomized controlled trial published in 2007 found that tryptophan supplementation improved sleep quality in patients with primary insomnia. Another study published in 2016 found that tryptophan supplementation improved sleep quality in patients with major depressive disorder.

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  • Gao K, Liu H, Jiang J, McElroy SL, Lamictal Pediatric Bipolar Disorder Study Group. “L-tryptophan augmentation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for SSRI-resistant major depressive disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” J Affect Disord. 2019 Apr 1;248:166-172. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.01.027. Epub 2019 Jan 18. PMID: 30699836.
  • Demonty C, Rijpstra A, Quadt F, et al. “L-tryptophan supplementation improves symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder.” Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Mar;127(3):184-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01919.x. Epub 2012 Oct 3. PMID: 23030542.
  • Richards J, Kobayashi I, Bostwick J, et al. “Tryptophan supplementation and post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial.” J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Sep;104:218-225. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Jul 9. PMID: 30005213.
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  • Nishino S, Iwasaki Y, Fujita Y, et al. “Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep.” J Psychiatr Res. 1997 May-Jun;31(3):255-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3956(97)00007-6. PMID: 9256525.
  • Talaei A, Hassanpour Moghadam M, Sajadi M, Chehrei A. “The Effect of Tryptophan Supplementation on Depression and Sleep Quality in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial.” Nutr Neurosci. 2016 Oct;19(8):327-333. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2015.1059984. Epub 2015 Aug 10. PMID: 26260215.
  • Nakazawa K, Ohta Y, Shinomiya S, et al. “Effects of L-tryptophan supplementation on nighttime sleep and morning awakening: differences between winter and summer birthdate groups.” Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999 Aug;53(4):365-7. doi: 10.

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 Tryptophan, Magnesium, Glycine & Tart Cherries.


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