Tryptophan is best known as an amino acid that helps to improve mood as well as bettering sleep quality. For serious trainers, good quality sleep is absolutely essential for recovery and muscle growth. In terms of mood enhancement, Tryptophan works by raising serotonin levels. Serotonin is known as the 'happy hormone'. If you're in the middle of an intense training period, Tryptophan may be of benefit. Tryptophan is one of eight essential amino acids found in the diet. It is a precursor of serotonin, melatonin and niacin. Where to find Tryptophan: Tryptophan sources include protein-containing foods such as meat, fish, dairy products, seeds and nuts. Tryptophan can also be referred to as: L-Tryptophan, L Tryptophan. Tryptophan has a variety of health benefits, including: IMPROVING MOOD AND WELL BEING Serotonin plays a vital role in regulating mood, anxiety and depression. When serotonin levels are low, this can lead to a feeling of depression, anxiety and general irritation within an individual. Supplementing with tryptophan (or consuming foods containing tryptophan) increases serotonin levels, thereby having a positive impact on that person's mood and stress levels. IMPROVING SLEEP Being a precursor of melatonin, tryptophan promotes regular sleep patterns and a better quality of sleep. APPETITE CONTROL When we feel depressed, anxious or stressed, we often turn to food for comfort. Food increases cerebral serotonin levels and provides a temporary feeling of improved mood and well being. That being said, it also means we consume unnecessary calories that will be stored as fat. Supplementing with tryptophan helps achieve the same results but without the excess calories. PROMOTING HEALTH As a precursor of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, tryptophan helps keep both the nervous and digestive systems healthy. It also elevates the amount of good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) in our blood. Tryptophan is ultimately an amino acid. Amino acids are the 'building blocks of muscle', so in this respect supplementing with tryptophan has a direct effect on muscle repair and growth. In its role of increasing niacin (vitamin B3) levels, tryptophan plays a vital role in metabolism by helping produce energy from the foods we eat. This helps ensure that we have sustainable energy levels for optimal performance.