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What are the uses and risks of tryptophan supplements?

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Quick Answer

Tryptophan supplements are used in treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. Some of the risks associated with these supplements include trembling, twitching, confusion, diarrhea and high body temperature. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that assist the body in the manufacture of proteins and some brain-signaling chemicals, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Individuals that are dealing with depression may find relief by taking tryptophan supplements. These supplements may equally help in dealing with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder. Certain studies indicate that the supplements may be helpful in dealing with conditions such as seasonal affective disorder and obstructive sleep apnea, according to WebMD.

These supplements should be taken with a low-protein, carbohydrate-rich meal to prevent stomach upset, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals that take tryptophan may experience certain side effects. While some are not serious, others may warrant a visit to the doctor.

Some individuals may go through spells of drowsiness or dizziness after taking these supplements. Dryness of the mouth is another common side effect. Chewing sugarless gum, ice or saliva substitute can help remedy the situation.

Overdosing on tryptophan may lead to symptoms such as talking or acting with uncontrollable excitement, impaired coordination, restlessness, agitation, overactive reflexes, trembling, headaches and loss of appetite.

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