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Tryptophan Feedback and Side Effects

I took this amino acid years ago and it seemed to help with anxiety. I tend to obsess and worry. It helped. THe only thing that I am not sure of is the possibility of toxicity. You can buy it at your health food store, but I would do some research before you rely on it solely.

Posted by: at June 23, 2004 10:19 PM

I have been taking 1000 mg. of Tryptophan for the past 6 weeks and have developed abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and loss of appetite. Don't know if it is related to the Tryptophan or just coincidence. I have been sleeping better since taking it. I am going to see a doctor this week to get her opinion.

Posted by: Ann Rivers at August 22, 2006 4:38 PM

Ive been takin tryptophan nightly for the past week and it gives me really strange and livid dreams which i interpret as my brain trying to work out my strange and depressed feeling, it deffinitly helps me sleep better but then i cant get up in the morning, i cant get anything done.

Posted by: Justine at August 23, 2006 4:45 PM

I have been off antidepressant meds for four months now and every day i am really suffering. I feel so overwhelmed with despair and hopelessness and i am fatigued and lethargic. I took tryptophan for the first time the other night because i initially had great and wondrous results when i first started taking the antidepressant meds...then it stopped working, however i feel like i have really low levels of serotonin and tryptophan is suppose to take care of that. I felt soooooooo drowsy the next morning and for most of the next day. Does anyone know how long it takes to work and does the drowsy feeling subside after awhile?

Posted by: Lindsay Barrett at September 19, 2006 9:00 PM

Lindsay Barrett,
You definetely need to make sure you take it before bed. You also can try lowering the dosage to relieve you of most of the drowsiness that you experience during the day. Best of luck.

Posted by: Eric Puette at October 8, 2006 5:15 PM

I started taking Tryptophan a week ago because I have been feeling depressed and stuck emotionally- feeling hopeless and lethargic for a couple of weeks. I have never taken medication. I sleep very deeply now, but feel drowsy and tired during the day and have a loss of appetite. Also I have had some sudden skin rashed come up, which don't last very long. I am not sure weather to continue taking it or if it is too strong.

Posted by: Jaya at January 6, 2007 3:51 PM

I have suffered from severe insomnia for last three months, Tryptophane is helping, but I need to take it at 9 pm with food and give it time to work (500 ml). I have been on it for two weeks now. Since this last Sunday I am having heart palpitation for hours on end. The doctor says it is not related. Has anyone else experienced this condition after taking T.?
Ms.S (age 47)

Posted by: S. at February 9, 2007 9:28 PM

To MS. S.

I have also begun experiencing palpitations after 2 weeks on l'tryptophan. I wake up suddenly after 4-5 hrs of deep sleep feeling sedated but also feeling very anxious --racing thoughts and heartbeats and I'm sweating. Please continue to post. As an aside, I often have odd reactions to most meds and non-meds. A friend suggested I look for a different mfg to see if it's in the compounding.


Posted by: Dale T. at January 13, 2008 9:10 AM

I have been taking Tryptophan for a couple of years. i used to take only 100 mg at night on an empty stomach and the anxiety got way lessend. for the past year I've been taking 100 mg X2/day also on an empty stomach. my anxiety comes every couple of weeks still but at least I feel better most of the times. I wonder if taking tryptophan onthe long run is bad and make your body stops producing serotonin.

Posted by: Mohamed at March 30, 2008 8:35 PM

Has anyone experienced hair loss after starting taking Tryptophan?
i am , and it started soon after I started Tryptophan, i take 500 mg a day
please any feedback?

Posted by: Lena at August 4, 2008 3:27 PM

Has anyone had a problem with trytophan causing headaches?

Posted by: Judith Reedy at September 18, 2008 10:50 AM

ive been prescribed vyvnase which is good but makes u a little jittery just picked up the tyrptophan take 500 mg during the day and 1 gram at night def increases seratonin you can feel your brain getting drowsy. this works well with the vyvnase not too tired and not to wired, also its a eaa essential amino acid so it cant hurt at all just be careful and learn how you react to something. Without stimulant this might make you fall asleep so be careful with it during the day!

Posted by: mike at November 16, 2008 1:28 PM

I started taking trytophan to help me sleep. It did help me relax. But I noticed I started to have anxiety attacks during the day. Has anyone else noticed and increase in anxiety taking trytophan. I am relaxed soon after taking it; it's during the day when I don't take it that I seem to be having this problem.

Posted by: Donna at April 9, 2009 1:14 PM

I took 5htp Tryptophan--woke up after several days of taking it,and I could not walk,was very dizzy,sick to my stomach. I felt weak for many days after--had same problem with Tryptophan. I would never take these again.

Posted by: RO Schiller at August 20, 2009 11:19 PM

I've had insomnia for 20 years and take zopiclone (immovane) for 20 years but because I have a high pain and drug tolerance the docs use it for my rhuematoid and fibromyalgia so still not sleeping this new doc gave me a prescription for L-tryptophan 1gram it's pharmacy grade not health food grade and I am suppose to take 1 gram and increase to 3 grams over 3 wks but haven't had to...whatever else I've tried have not worked but this at just 1 gram (which is surprising since I have a high drug tolerance) has really helped me not only sleep but real side effects and I found that strange vivid dreams usually aren't just a med alone but what is going on in your life and whether you are depressed or anxious or what not...I have to give it a good review (I'm 5'3" female 115 lbs and they have to give me the amount of a morbidly obese person just to put me out during surgeries or I'll wake up not fun) so maybe try the 1 gram available by prescription only in Canada anyways

Posted by: Annette at October 26, 2009 3:32 AM

Please never take L-tryptophan. I took it and now have disabling pain in my shoulders and hips.

Never touch that stuff

Posted by: Elaine Hendren at February 12, 2010 11:46 AM

I have been taking L tryptophan for about 7 weeks (1000mg) on an empty stomach at bedtime. It does seem to help with sleeping but this past week I have woken up between 4 or 5 a couple of times with anxiety and heart palpitations. My anxiety has gotten significantly worse over this period of time, to the point of needing other medication to deal with it

Posted by: kc at February 13, 2010 8:11 PM

has any body else reported water weight gain from taking l-tryptophan?, Ive been taking it for 9 days now, and cant zip up my jeans, my face is looking fuller also. I dont know if its causing these symptoms, but it has to be. also having vivid dreams.

Posted by: lisa felkel at March 19, 2010 10:38 PM

I took Tryptophan once and had a terrible reaction. I woke up feeling like I'd been beaten in the head with a baseball bat. I had terrible dreams and I felt like my brain was having an electrical storm. It was so severe I seriously wondered if I'd severely hurt my brain. The terrible pain in my head lasted throughout the day and I still felt a little bad the next day. I never took it again. The bottle I bought was 500 mg. For me, I feel like taking it was dangerous.

Posted by: Mimi at April 10, 2010 12:53 AM

I've taken it for anxiety and similar serotonin-shortage symptoms for several years with consistently good results.

I take because I'm low on or missing certain digestive enzymes that would pull the tryptophan from my diet.

I've researched it, and brain chemistry problems, and found little to be concerned. There are other groups of chemicals the brain needs for healthy synaptic processing; ie tyrosine and glutamine, so if tryptophan doesn't help those amino acids can be tried safely - with the usual precautions.

Of course, it should not be taken with any psychosomatic prescriptions; depression etc. without consulting a physician (an MD who is also a ND (naturopathic) is best)

Posted by: pga99 at July 23, 2010 11:04 AM

In a discussion with a friend I wrote this about my research and experience with tryptophan;

There are other amino acids that the brain uses in its synaptic functions that can be low. Again, normally we would get enough from our food, but food factory processing may be removing them or the digestive enzymes we need to properly digest them. Or, a person could be genetically unable to digest or assimilate the amino acid through the blood-brain barrier.

Tryptophan might help in some cases or in some situations, but if an area of the brain that requires one of the other amino acids becomes more active than usual then a negative symptom could come up. Iíve tried tyrosine with mixed results, but didnít take it regularly so that wasnít fair. Plus, if a personís negative emotions or thinking is partially or fully from brain chemistry it still can change depending on daily environment and situations. Some people get panicky with cognitive demands on the brain (detailed thinking demands like doing math) that could be caused by a shortage of one of the other brain amino acids, but that person might not have a problem in emotional situations that usually means their serotonin levels would be fine Ė tryptophan is particularly used to provide serotonins.

The best we can do is learn as much about ourselves as possible first; what do we feel or think or act when under this kind of situation or that; personal conflict, criticism, work demands, being disliked or treated dismissively or condescendingly, or legal threats (property dispute or taxes etc). By analyzing ourselves we might see a pattern to what is causing negative emotions or thoughts and then try the nutritional supplements first to see if there is any benefit. If not, or if not enough, then I would try therapy first, then medical consultation, then psychiatric counseling last. But, thatís me.

Posted by: pga99 at July 23, 2010 11:22 AM

I am taking Tryptophan for sleeping, im quite anxious as there is so much conflicting information about it. Is it best to speak to GP, I dont want them to ruin it though as I have heard it does wonders for sleeping.


Posted by: Helen at August 8, 2010 4:22 PM

The doctor wants me to stop all estrogen due to being progesterone dominate and start taking Tryptophan and rub on testosterone while my body adjusts. I'm readying your notes about Tryptophan here and this is pretty scary. The over dosing of progesterone was said to cause the deep depression I have been in and my hormones are out of balance now. Hot flashes, not sleeping and anxiety is my exchange while all hormones are leaving my body? I had a hysterectomy when I was 27. I'm 63 now. Any advise out there? Careful on the progesterone cream ladies. Hairless arms and legs & thinning hair isn't all due to getting older.

Posted by: Valerie at September 19, 2010 4:19 AM

I've had to get the L-Tryptophan on line from the U.S as its not sold here anymore in Australia. I took it years ago when it was available here and I remembered it worked well. I might be taking too much at bed time even though the directions say to take 2-3 tablets at night (500mg). I'm finding that they make you sleep really well aty night..but I'm just sooo tired and feel confused during the day. I also have symtpoms of feeling 'edgey' which is an awful feeling . It feels as if my heart is racing or something. I also feel emotionally down the next I think I'll just have to tone down the dose. I don't have those symptoms normally (when I'm not taking the L-Tryptophan)

Posted by: Rose at October 15, 2010 1:13 AM

I have been taking L-tryptophan for a month now and it has helped me to sleep better but for some reason the anxiety doesn't go away. That's why I'm here, writing at 3 am. I just could not sleep today, I kept on waking up feeling like I wasn't breathing. I have also been taking some L-Glutamine.

Posted by: Juan at October 27, 2010 3:06 AM

Don't touch Tryptophan! This is really toxic stuff. I took 2x 500mg ONCE - Four weeks ago now, have been experiencing crazy anxiety, panic attacks, depression, weeping episodes, pains in my shoulders, heart palpitations, leg cramps and other muscle pains. Had no psychiatric problems prior to this, and the panic came on within 1 hour of taking the tablets - has lessened somehwt over the four weeks, but still unbearable a lot of the time - this stuff should be banned - hope to god I get better soon, doc thinks maybe an overload of serotonin, bloods came back all fine, but there sure as hell is some imbalance somewhere, and it's ruined my life for the last month, and will continue to until it clears up. I have been on Valium the last mont just to get through the days, takes the edge off but it's still hell - Stay clear of tryptophan - it's not worth the risk.

Posted by: Henryk Behr at October 31, 2010 4:31 PM

I have problems sleeping I stay awake worrying about not falling asleep. I can go for days being awake and in the wrong sorroundings have had hallucinations that last for days with no sleep. I had not slept for 3 days and had turkey to eat twice in one day and I found myself getting drowsie and that night I fell asleep and woke feeling refreshed which I NEVER feel.I am going to ask my doctor about it. I haave been severely depressed. I hope this helps.

Posted by: terry brooks at December 28, 2010 4:55 PM

Funny l-trytophan was found to have Ďproblemsí the same years as Prozac was marketed....

Posted by: BARCLAY REYNOLDS at December 29, 2010 10:21 AM

L-Tryptophan was taking on first night 1500 mg as directed on bottle and it helped so good the first night. However I noticed over the next few days Depression & Increased Heartrate & Stomach Pain. Last night and 4th day of taking L-tryptophan I noticed right away palpitations and couldn't sleep. I made sure this was causing my heart to race so I checked my heartrate before bedtime and after taking this it went to 100 bpm & I couldn't sleep. So I won't be taking this any longer. I have Insomnia but will find something else. Its not worth all these symptoms.

Posted by: Pamm at January 11, 2011 1:48 PM

I find pga99 post to be very informative and really would like to contact pga99 since it relates so well to my situation. How can I reach him or read more posts.

Regards - sunny

Posted by: sunny at February 6, 2011 9:55 PM

hi i have takek Tryptophan
for 30 day after i leran problem in 1999 and ck for sidefect i stop latly i fell pain in my joint when im goinig on sters un step is not comtribul this pain is any one can tell me what to do is this becuse i used Tryptophan
thank you

Posted by: dina gold at April 24, 2011 3:32 AM

I was taking tryptophan for depression and during this time period I had a urine analysis. The results came back stating that it is doing more harm than good by killing brain cells and giving me a major brain fog that could lead to the big "A" word later in life. I am now concerned about eating it in my foods and drinking it in my milk.

Posted by: Sheila Thompson at October 19, 2011 6:21 PM

I experienced shoulder twitching when I took L-tryptophan. I woke up feeling groggy and anxious after 4 hours. I had a hard time holding back tears the entire next day. On another occasion I slept for 6 hours after taking, but felt very foggy the entire day. I am very hesitant to give this supplement another chance.

Posted by: Karen at December 9, 2011 6:01 PM

I have read many comment's below on the use of Tryptophan, I don't see anyone saying its a magic pill, to the contary, most say it make's them feel worse. I have used many different type's of med's over the last 20 year's, the best I have had is Cipralex and Agomelatine. I suggest if you start to take any of the above get your Doc to give you Rivitol with them, Both have minor side effect's to start, if I feel a bit off, I take 1/2 a rivitol that's all you need, it is very mild but sort's out side effects in 20-30min including anxiety, breathlessness and assist with sleep. Rivitol is addictive , so use it as I have described, you will not need more than 5 - 6 half tablet getting on to either of the above drug's. Cipralex, take half a tablet, skip one day then 3rd day take half again, then continue for 5 day's on half a tablet, take one tab per day untill your at 15 days, increase to 1.5 tab's then two as you feel. Cipralex can give you a bit of a belly ach for 10 day's or so, then it normally go's. It can make you tired your body ajust's, after some month's. I felt fine on one tablet per day. Cipralex's, full effect is after 6 week's, however you feel good in as little as 12 day's. Agomelitine had no side effect's with me, it changed sleep pattens drastically, I used it for two month's and found it took my palpitation's and axiety attack's away, I have been on nothing for 6 months. I suggest you try Aglomelitine or Valdoxsan first, Valdoxan is the Generic. I hope this can be of help to someone.

Posted by: Arthur Eckert at June 19, 2012 10:02 AM

I'm totally lost , I got grave disease with hyperthyrodism , 3 month that all my blood level are normal, but depression, mood swing irritability, i tried first griffonia 5HTP impossible to sleep, awake at 3 am each time, and unable to sleep after, this was 4 month ago, now I tried yesterday L tryptophane exactly the same, it's important to say that I took it just before sleeping and I didn't have difficulty for sleeping just wanted to use it for depression. I feel like if I took an enery drink or a lot of coffee, very excited, totally awake!Maybe I should take it the morning? or take prozac!!!!Awful situation!

Posted by: fifi at September 21, 2012 12:51 AM

hi im taking 2000mg l-tryptophan for anxety can i take alpraxolam and if so when

Posted by: lynn at February 21, 2013 12:51 AM

I started taking tryptophan to help clear yeast motabolites from my body after reading that if you battle yeast infections, the liver will steal your tryptophan to break down metabolites. I slept well before taking it and last night, I felt my heart kick up like I had taken a hit of speed and I had trouble sleeping all night but felt groggy in the morning. My asumption is that I did not need tryptophan and it only revved up my serotonin higher than it should have. Initially I started to have a headache and I know that migraines are associated with high seratonin. I will probably break open a capsule and sprinkle a small amount into some yogurt at some point during the day while detoxing yeast. Not worth losing sleep over.

Posted by: karen at April 26, 2014 9:50 AM

I see a lot of symptoms that might be caused by serotonine syndrome. Taking 1000 mg a day tryptophan for 6 weeks might be too much. Don't take 5htp, it is very easy to cause serotonine syndrome because of this. I say, this is just my opinion, take 500 mg tryptophan a day in 2 doses, one during the day, one before sleep. I had symptoms of serotonin syndrome too, and yes I knew what is was and it went away after a couple of hours, never overdose on this stuff. I think tryptophan is safe, because it is found in chicken. But don't overdo it. And also don't combine it with other serotonine enhancers, this can literally kill you.

Posted by: michael at October 7, 2014 5:43 PM

I know that you're only supposed to take it until your serotonin levels get to normal and then stop taking it, Im on day two and I feel nothing, sad, mad, nothing, I have lost my drive, I don't know but it did stop my anxiety but at what cost?

Posted by: Shane at February 2, 2015 4:01 PM

taking 300mg for a few days, severe rash came up, then after that subsided, increased fatigue, anxiety. Still happening 10 days after quitting. I remember a tv show saying everything is a poison, it just depends on the quantity. Positive effects were insignificant compared to horrendous potential side effects. Ban this poison or sell in extremely small quantities.

Posted by: kramdrol at October 14, 2015 4:20 AM

I took tryptophan for two days and it made me feel crazy. I was incredibly depressed and it made me feel angry too. I felt like I was in the pits of hell. I will never take the stuff to sleep again..... wow not good!

Posted by: Dottie at April 12, 2016 8:00 PM

I don't understand all the negative comments. Tryptophan has been a wonderful gift from G-d to me. Not only does it help me sleep, but it completely relaxes me and I feel balanced for the first time in my life. I have been taking 500-1000 mg every day for nearly a year now with no side effects other than being a little bloated,but I actually I think that is from something else and not the tryptophan.

Posted by: Lana at December 1, 2016 3:18 AM

L-tryptophan has helped me more than anything and everything else I have tried. Reading some of these comments shocked me as I have had nothing but great success. I feel calm and balanced for the first time in my life. The crushing anxiety that assails me as I wake each day is gone. I feel capable. Nothing is an issue. I have Leaky Gut and was diagnosed with depression at 13. They tried meds, I threw them away. 17 years on and events occurred that left me with ptsd and high level trauma, and still no meds. Just L-tryptophan and a good quality magnesium supplement. If you're deficient due to gut health, pyrrole, or poor diet, I think it's good for you. Not sure that it treats mental illness exactly but it seems to be the exact right thing for my system. Thank god for L-tryptophan

Posted by: Mila at March 5, 2017 6:47 AM

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