While many associate tryptophan with helping you get some sleep, there’s more to this amazing essential amino acid (EAA) than just that which we will get into. Tryptophan is not produced by the body, yet serves as a precursor to 5-HTP, serotonin, and melatonin. You can, however, find tryptophan naturally in foods we consume such as cheese, chicken, milk, peanuts, turkey, bananas, oats, chocolate, and more. However, to get efficacious dosages, a supplement should be considered.
When you are putting in the time in the gym and nailing your nutrition, you expect to see results. Yet, when you aren’t getting enough rest, you aren’t able to properly recover to allow your body to make the necessary changes to your physique. One thing to remember is that our body does not make change while we are exercising, but rather, it takes place when we rest and recover properly.
Why should you consider tryptophan?
We all live hectic lives – constantly on the go, constantly trying to squeeze out every last second in our day. Yet, when it’s time to unwind and get some rest, many find it difficult to shut down and fall asleep. Many will turn to prescriptions when in reality, their sleeplessness can be managed through natural supplementation.
Supplementing with tryptophan has been found to reduce the amount of time it takes individuals to fall asleep. This includes helping those who suffer from insomnia. In fact, tryptophan can help increase deep sleep and allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized. This can help you stay productive all day long regardless if it’s in the office, at school, or in the gym.
By increasing melatonin naturally through the supplementation of tryptophan, you have yourself a powerhouse that can improve the metabolism of nutrients you consume in your meals as well as the capability to boost your immunity. When you are better able to break down food into a usable form, and then shuttle those nutrients out to the body, you give yourself the best opportunity to improve your recovery and allowing the muscle fibers to grow back bigger and stronger. Additionally, the better your immune system, the healthier you are, the less you get sick, the harder you can train, and the faster you can see results from your training.
If you look at some of the research regarding tryptophan and weight loss, it has been shown that supplementing with this particular amino acid has the ability to help individuals consume anywhere from 19-20% fewer calories per meal by reducing your appetite.
When it comes to physical performance, the research is quite astounding. It has been shown that supplementing with tryptophan can actually improve pain tolerance and allow an individual to push themselves harder (such as in the gym training) than without tryptophan. Also, one study showed that when athletes were given a tryptophan supplement, their total exercise time was 49% greater than when without. From a muscle building perspective, supplementing with tryptophan has been shown to increase certain hormones in the body such as growth hormone and prolactin.
Having low tryptophan levels can lead to many mood disorders that can be detrimental to not only your success from training, but also your life. When tryptophan levels are normalized, many find they are less anxious, less depressed, have a reduction in nervousness, feel less tension, and feel less aggressive.
Another reason to consider tryptophan is for the mental performance benefits. Those who had lower levels showed a decline in memory over the long-term, yet when the levels were elevated, memory was enhanced as well as overall cognition and learning.
When you factor in all of the benefits from supplementing with tryptophan, you prep yourself for success by putting the building blocks in place to improve your mood, sleep, mental performance, and well-being. The easier you can unwind, relax, and get good quality sleep, the better off you are in allowing the recovery process to take place and help allow your body to make the physical changes needed to see the health and fitness results you desire.