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The Most Trusted L-Tryptophan On the Market

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Not all amino acids are essential…but can you afford to ignore one that is?

In 1901, Sir Frederick Gowland discovered L-Tryptophan – an essential amino acid that Gowland showed was absolutely necessary to sustain life.  Now, over one hundred years later, the need for L-Tryptophan continues to grow. It is still absolutely necessary to sustain life. And, in today’s intense, high-stress world, L-Tryptophan may be even more essential. Only L-Tryptophan can increase your body’s supply of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that lets your mind be calm in the face of overwhelming tension, anxiety and uncertainty. Only L-Tryptophan promotes the natural, restful sleep that comes when you have enough serotonin. And only L-Tryptophan is the essential building block for many life-giving biomolecules, including structural proteins, enzymes and the neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin.

Tryptophan Supplement product image

Outstanding Benefits of L-Tryptophan

  • Relieves occasional sleeplessness
  • Soothes nervous irritability
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise
  • Reduces premenstrual symptoms
  • Supports a good mood
  • Helps relieve the craving for carbohydrates.

What Physicians Know about L-Tryptophan

Because L-Tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in our diet, it should be no surprise that L-Tryptophan supplements have been widely used to correct deficiencies for more than a quarter of a century by doctors in the United States and Europe. Psychiatrists, medical doctors, and nutritionists, alike, have long recognized the importance of pure L-Tryptophan for maintaining good health, relieving poor mood and irritability, reducing the craving for carbohydrates and normalizing sleep.

New Evidence of Cell-to-Cell Communication

Recent research has shown that the communication between cells of your body is far more intricate and important than ever imagined. Everything from your mood to your appetite is based on the free-flow of information between these cells. Serotonin is one of the most abundant cell-to-cell communicators, called neurotransmitters, in your body, and only L-Tryptophan is the essential amino acid that makes serotonin. Since serotonin is one of the most abundant neurotransmitters, and L-Tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid, supplementation is often required to maintain optimal health.

How Do Physicians Recommend Taking L-Tryptophan?

For occasional sleeplessness, many respected physicians have their patients take two 500 mg capsules an hour before bedtime – sometimes adding an extra capsule right at bedtime for those who have trouble staying asleep. L-Tryptophan can also help those who fall asleep readily, but occasionally wake-up too early. A capsule or two by the bedside, that can be easily taken, has been a real life-saver for those nights when you’re stirred awake at three A.M.

To support a good mood, L-Tryptophan can be taken at any time of the day, but it’s most commonly taken in the evening. After all, a good night’s sleep is often the crucial first step towards chasing away depression. For a great mood, to relieve premenstrual symptoms and to break the cycle of muscle pain from exercise, knowledgeable physicians suggest starting with two capsules, then increasing the dose to one capsule for every 50 pounds of body weight.

Getting the Most from L-Tryptophan

Many patients get a great night’s sleep or “knock-out” the blues with L-Tryptophan without giving diet a second thought. For those of you who want to fine tune these benefits, a little juice or carbohydrate snack helps push L-Tryptophan into the brain where it can do the most good. Another trick is for the patient to avoid proteins within an hour of taking L-Tryptophan capsules. because proteins compete with L-Tryptophan for absorption, more L-Tryptophan will pass the blood-brain-barrier if patients avoid eating proteins at the same time.

Highest Quality L-Tryptophan

Absolutely the finest, pharmaceutical-quality

Tryptophan Supplement product image
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein, but unlike some amino acids, L-Tryptophan is considered essential because the body cannot manufacture its own.  L-Tryptophan plays many roles in animals and humans alike, but perhaps most importantly, it is an essential precursor to a number of neurotransmitters in the brain.  As such, L-Tryptophan is the only substance that can be converted into serotonin.  Since serotonin, in turn, is converted in the brain into melatonin, L-Tryptophan clearly plays a role in balancing mood and sleep patterns.

Originally developed to treat depression in humans, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and others are now being prescribed for a much wider variety of disorders, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, migraine headaches, sleep disturbances, weight loss, PMS, obesity, and back pain, and the number of prescriptions for animals is growing at a similar rate.

All of these drugs work along the same principle.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI’s as they are known, work by increasing the level of serotonin (chemically called 5-hydroxytryptamine) by blocking its reuptake by adjoining neurons.  Blocking the uptake of serotonin thereby leaves more in the synapse to act as a neurotransmitter.

It is a fact, however, that serotonin can also be elevated in the way nature intended, namely, by elevating serotonin’s building blocks in the diet.  L-Tryptophan is the best known and most widely used nutritional supplement for this purpose.  The conversion of L-Tryptophan to serotonin is a two-step process.  First, L-Tryptophan is converted into 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan, or 5-HTP, and 5-HTP is then, in turn, converted into serotonin.  This is the process by which serotonin is produced from food.  Unfortunately, L-Tryptophan is also the least abundant amino acid in foods.  The good news, though, is that research conducted at MIT years ago established that serotonin levels can be increased by supplemental, dietary L-Tryptophan.

While animal studies are commonly used to predict the benefits of a new drug or nutrient to humans, human studies also help to point the way to improved treatments in animals.  In studies done with humans on two continents by Lehman, Braverman, and Pfeiffer, depressed patients were found to have very significantly lower plasma levels of L-Tryptophan than normal controls.  By way of contrast, changes in thirty other amino acids were not significant.  To list just a few potential applications, human studies have also demonstrated L-Tryptophan’s benefits in treating Down’s syndrome and aggressive behavior.  In parallel to human studies, a survey of horse owners reported that horses fed soy meal, which has nearly five times the level of L-Tryptophan as oats, seem less aggressive than those horses fed oats.

The question remains, how does L-Tryptophan compare with SSRI’s in treating clinical conditions?  A study done by a team of Swiss and German psychiatric researchers comparing the L-Tryptophan metabolite, 5-HTP, with the SSRI, Fluvoxamine, found that depression was alleviated more predictably with 5-HTP, and while side effects are commonly reported for Fluvoxamine, the Physician’s Desk Reference does not list any for 5-HTP.  The researchers went on to conclude that the L-Tryptophan metabolite actually treats a broader range of symptoms known as “serotonin deficiency syndrome,” which may manifest as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, aggression, nervousness, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and migraines … many of the same symptoms that are being treated today in humans and animals alike with SSRI’s.

While both L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are building blocks for serotonin, they are not identical in their action.  5-HTP, for example, is one step closer in the biochemical pathway to serotonin than is L-Tryptophan, but 5-HTP is also much more expensive to produce and narrower in its action.  L-Tryptophan, in addition to being a precursor to serotonin, is also a precursor to niacin and can be used in the treatment of pellagra.  It is really L-Tryptophan rather than niacin that acts as an essential vitamin. Furthermore, L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays a role in structural proteins and enzymes found throughout the body.

Whether or not deficiency symptoms exist, L-Tryptophan is clearly an essential amino acid that supports the nutritional and dietary requirements of pet and equine health.  Furthermore, in the treatment of deficiency disorders, natural L-Tryptophan has clear advantages over the SSRI’s, Prozac, Zoloft, Praxil, and others, for which severe side effects continue to be documented.

Do you know where your L‑Tryptophan is tonight?

Actually, L‑Tryptophan travels down several very beneficial pathways. Most-importantly, though, to sufferers of insomnia, depression and eating disorders, if all the proper cofactors/coenzymes are present, L‑Tryptophan travels from the blood stream to serotonin-sensitive neurons where it converts to serotonin. Brain messages of satiety (fullness) and well-being can then be sent without interruption. On the other hand, if certain enzymes are inactive – due to a lack of cofactors and coenzymes – L‑Tryptophan can be diverted down the kynurenine pathway and converted to niacin or to the mildly-toxic quinolinic acid.

For the scientists among you… inside the serotonin-sensitive neuron, L‑Tryptophan and tetrahydrobiopterin (abbreviated BH4) combine to form 5-Hydroxy L‑Tryptophan, the first step in the L‑Tryptophan-to-serotonin pathway. Well-funded researchers in university laboratories have found that BH4 actually increases the flow down the serotonin pathway. Although it doesn’t take much BH4, the astronomical cost of $4 million per kilogram will keep BH4 out of the reach of nutritional supplements. Fortunately, the researchers at LIDTKE have found a combination of nutrients that increases the natural levels of BH4 at a far more affordable price.

The second step to serotonin production requires Vitamin B6… but not just any, cheap Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (HCl) will do the job. Serotonin-producing enzymes can only use Vitamin B6 in the form of Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate (P5P). While pure P5P costs far less than $4 million per kilogram, it is still ten times more expensive than the Pyridoxine HCl usually found in nutritional supplements.

Although most individuals can convert some dietary Pyridoxine HCl to P5P, knowledgeable researchers have voiced concern that incompletely converted Pyridoxine HCl may actually block the benefits of the true form of vitamin B6. Hence, LIDTKE L‑Tryptophan Complete uses only genuine Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate, the kind your body uses.

In short, the full complex of cofactors and coenzymes included in L‑Tryptophan Complete maximizes the conversion of L‑Tryptophan to serotonin, but at LIDTKE that is not enough. Very recent research shows that curcumin, the same curcumin that reduces cancer risk in experimental animals, also helps reduce the breakdown of serotonin into inactive metabolites. Curcumin in L‑Tryptophan Complete, then, helps ensure that the serotonin your body creates will be available when your body needs it.

L‑Tryptophan Complete maximizes serotonin both coming and going. By increasing production of serotonin directly within serotonin-sensitive neurons and by reducing the break-down of serotonin, L‑Tryptophan Complete becomes a powerful, fast-acting agent for the relief of insomnia, depression, anxiety and a multitude of stress-induced maladies of our age. Whether you are overcome by the stresses of home or the business world, whether your individual biochemistry is ideal or whether you suffer from an imbalance, L‑Tryptophan Complete is the finest answer on the market. Feel better, sleep better. Be at peace in body, mind and spirit.

The Serotonin / L‑Tryptophan link

Serotonin has been a key focus of pharmaceutical companies and the pharmaceutical-approach to depression for years. First, MAO inhibitors came along. MAOI’s slow the breakdown of serotonin, but also increase blood levels of tyramine, creating the risk of a severe increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke.

Building on the laundry list of side effects, the Tricyclics and much later the “miracle drug” SSRIs (such as Prozac/Zoloft) hit the market. Both classes of drugs recycle serotonin over and over. L‑Tryptophan, on the other hand, is the natural precursor to serotonin, and the only such nutrient that normally occurs in your diet. Just as important, and in stark contrast to “miracle drug” chemicals, is the fact that your body was born with the biochemical machinery to process L‑Tryptophan completely and without side effects.

Hundreds of research papers emphatically prove that supplemental L‑Tryptophan increases serotonin levels in the brain. Less well-known, though, is the fact that only a small percentage of ingested L‑Tryptophan goes down the brain serotonin pathway. Increasing that percentage even a fraction can provide a dramatic boost to brain serotonin levels. A simple boost in serotonin has helped millions experience restful sleep and brighter, happier moods than many have enjoyed in years.

How do we know which co-factors and co-enzymes to take?

L‑Tryptophan, like all other amino acids, follows biochemical pathways that consist of dozens of steps. With this in mind, research conducted at LIDTKE has mapped nearly all of the L‑Tryptophan pathways, their respective enzymes, and the cofactors and coenzymes that make those enzymes work. We have found that the proper addition of specific nutrients to L‑Tryptophan can not only enhance the production of desirable metabolites, but also reduce the production of incompletely metabolized waste products.

Is your L‑Tryptophan working?

A favorite buzz-word in the nutrition field is “enzymes.” What is seldom mentioned, though, is the fact that different enzymes work in different parts of your body. Digestive enzymes work in the gastrointestinal track, but digestive enzymes do nothing to keep your cellular furnaces burning and producing energy. The fires in these furnaces are ignited by cellular enzymes. It is cellular enzymes, then, that keep every one of your trillions of microscopic locomotives running.

The second fact that is largely ignored is the importance of “cofactors” and “coenzymes.” An enzyme is helpless without them. Cofactors and coenzymes are small molecules – often vitamins or minerals – that attach to an enzyme and are as essential as wheels on a car. An enzyme will just sit and do nothing without them.

This brings us to an important principle: It is simply impossible to supplement the many thousands of enzymes that produce all of your energy and create all of your neurotransmitters (such as serotonin). So, we need to look for other ways to boost these enzymes. The good news is that by scientifically combining cofactors and coenzymes in a supplement, we can greatly enhance the effectiveness of our own enzymes.

How are your serotonin levels?

With so many articles being written about the importance of serotonin and the use of serotonin-mimicking drugs, not everyone knows that L‑Tryptophan is the only, natural building-block of serotonin, the natural brain chemical that helps you remain calm, yet focused.

Countless research articles document the fact that serotonin reduces anxiety, promotes a cheerful mood, promotes restful sleep, and reduces the craving for carbohydrates, sweets, and other fattening foods.

L‑Tryptophan, being an essential nutrient, provides so many benefits, in fact, they are hard to number. For example, one metabolite of L‑Tryptophan may increase zinc absorption. Patients with zinc and vitamin B6 deficiency often experience severe inner tension, anxiety and phobias. According to Dr. Eric Braverman in The Healing Nutrients Within, “These patients do well with L‑Tryptophan supplementation.”

Dr. Braverman continues: “A sixteen-year-old boy came to us with a history of vandalism, violence and aggression. We started him on 2 gm of L‑Tryptophan am and pm… One month later, the patient returned, having been transformed from a wolf to a lamb. Slowly, for the next two months, we tapered his dose to 2 gm daily, without reappearance of symptoms.”

With American’s consuming so much protein, it might seem unlikely that L‑Tryptophan could be in short supply, but it is true. Furthermore, as established in Research done by Richard and Judith Wurtman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), high-protein diets actually interfere with L‑Tryptophan absorption by your brain, where it is most needed for mental and emotional health.

According to an article in the journal, Psychosomatics, the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets so common today may actually be aggravating anxiety disorders, such as panic disorders. Unfortunately, anxiety disorders are frequently treated by doctors unfamiliar with nutrition, who prescribe drugs that only mask the problem, rather than solve it.

If you have ever been under the dark cloud of “mood-enhancing” drugs, you already know some of the side effects. Dr. David Sussman, quoted in Clinical Psychiatry News, lists the short-term side effects of nausea, diarrhea, headache, and agitation. Long-term side effects – even more important due to the often long-term nature of such disorders – include, among others, “insomnia, weight gain, sexual dysfunction…”

As noted by Dr. Linus Pauling, PhD, two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, our first approach to healing should be to find the right molecule or nutrient to repair health, not a drug to hide the problem.

The problem may be as simple as not enough L‑Tryptophan reaching your blood stream.

Remember that L‑Tryptophan is not a drug and does not work like a drug. L‑Tryptophan is a natural, building-block of health that thousands of consumers around the world supplement their diet with every day.

Patients who have been misdiagnosed and are experiencing the side effects of SSRI’s or other serotonin-mimicking drugs should know that they have a natural alternative.
Many who are deficient in L‑Tryptophan and who suffer anxiety disorders may experience improvement in just a few weeks… although we do recommend allowing sixty days for full benefits. In either case, you receive the same, no-questions, LIDTKE 100% money-back guarantee.

To try a no-risk, one-month supply of L‑Tryptophan or L‑Tryptophan Complete (we recommend L‑Tryptophan Complete for anyone who may not be receiving a full range of vitamins and chelated minerals) simply click below and order.

LIDTKE L‑Tryptophan Complete is a patent-pending formula designed to ensure that you receive the most benefit from L‑Tryptophan. You cannot buy better quality than LIDTKE.
Remember the LIDTKE guarantee, and give L‑Tryptophan Complete a try… from the people who care enough to do it right!

Dr. David William newsletter “Alternatives”

Dr. David William, who writes the popular health newsletter, Alternatives, brought L‑Tryptophan to the attention of his subscribers way back in 1996. And just as his loyal fans have grown, so have the many thousands who take L‑Tryptophan on a daily basis.

If you are unfamiliar with L‑Tryptophan, it is naturally found in protein and has been recommended by nutritionally-educated doctors in America and Europe for over thirty years.

To show you the importance of this critical amino acid, L‑Tryptophan is commonly added to baby formulas because it is essential for growth. Moreover, L‑Tryptophan is added to hospital intravenous solutions (IV’s) where it is absolutely essential to life.

You should be aware that your body does not make L‑Tryptophan, and you cannot live without it.

Many of our clients: Psychiatrists, medical doctors, and nutritionists, alike, have long recognized the value of L‑Tryptophan for maintaining good health, promoting a cheerful mood, relieving irritability, reducing the craving for sweets and carbohydrates, and encouraging normal, healthy sleep.

Although L‑Tryptophan is an essential amino acid commonly found in protein, it is important to understand that L‑Tryptophan also is the amino acid most lacking in your diet. Plasma amino-acid analysis of hundreds of patients demonstrates that L‑Tryptophan is the amino acid most deficient in the American diet.

As demonstrated by Dr. Charles Jarowski, former head of Research and Development at Pfizer, Inc., when an essential amino acid such as L‑Tryptophan is in short supply, a host of health conditions begin to surface, often emotional ones, first.

Remember, because L‑Tryptophan is an essential nutrient, no other amino acid, protein, vitamin, mineral, herb or drug can take the place of L‑Tryptophan.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

My anxiety started many years ago very mildly and very seldom. At that time I would get a little dizzy and my heart would race, not really understanding what it was. When I went to the doctor(s), I informed them about what I was experiencing, so they put me on Xanax.

I was taking Xanax for quite a few years, before I would go out in public and sometimes before bed. It was actually helping me a lot; I didn’t experience any major anxiety for a long time. Unfortunately, there came a time in my life that I stopped taking the Xanax and stopped caring about myself. I just gave up on everything and anything that I ever cared about. When times got really bad, I experienced some things that turned my anxiety into full blown panic attacks.

Experiencing a panic attack for the first time was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. You do not even feel it coming on and all of a sudden you feel like you are going to die. The dizziness, the blurred vision, the rapid heart beat and the hyperventilation were all signs that I was about ready to faint. After I started having these panic attacks, I finally made it back to the doctor. That is when they put me back on drugs.

The drugs worked, but they weren’t good for me. Xanax is highly addictive, and with my addictive personality I had to choose another route.

About 11 months ago, I started taking 2 L‑Tryptophan Complete before I went to bed and weaned myself off of my prescribed meds. Immediately my mind stopped racing and I could fall asleep right away. My night terrors were limited and I could finally sleep without waking up in fear.

My anxiety was still pretty bad throughout the day, and I didn’t want to take the L‑Tryptophan Complete because I figured it would make me tired, and I wouldn’t be able to get things done. Finally, after many weeks of my heart racing and constantly coughing, I decided to try taking 1 L‑Tryptophan Complete. About 10 minutes after taking it, my coughing was gone and my heart rate slowed down. I was slightly tired, but it was no where near what a drug made me feel like, and I seemed to actually focus better, since I was more relaxed. It is truly a great feeling to know that I have a solution for my anxiety when it creeps up on me. Drugs are not an option for me today.

Thank you for reading my story, and I wish you all the best!

A few benefits of L‑Tryptophan Complete

A few benefits of L‑Tryptophan Complete™:

  • Powerful and fast acting
  • Promotes deep and restful sleep
  • Reduces anxiety and calms nervous irritability
  • All natural support for a great mood
  • Relieves muscle pain
  • Reduces the craving for sweets and carbohydrates

L‑Tryptophan Complete takes L‑Tryptophan a step further. In recent years, our research has revealed the importance of numerous biochemical pathways that are part of L‑Tryptophan metabolism.
There are many steps to L‑Tryptophan metabolism, and each of these steps is controlled by an enzyme within your cells. Each enzyme, though, is as useless as a car without wheels if it lacks the critical coenzymes and cofactors that make it run.

Our job has been to identify and quantify these coenzymes and cofactors, and combine them in L‑Tryptophan Complete to ensure your cellular enzymes work, and you receive all the benefits of L‑Tryptophan that Nature intended.

L‑Tryptophan Complete was inspired by the fact that many peoples around the Earth are so poorly nourished they fail to get proper benefit from the food or supplements that they do receive. Even in prosperous countries, genetic variations and unwise diets can interfere with your metabolism of essential nutrients.
Understanding many of these human differences, our intention at LIDTKE for many years has been to create an L‑Tryptophan formula that works even when a host of health issues and deficiencies may be present.

The fact is, thousands of health-conscious consumers are now benefiting from L‑Tryptophan Complete. They use it and depend on it for better health.


Although L5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has been used widely in Europe for many years, and all the major manufacturers are located in Europe, it’s popularity has grown rapidly in this country as consumers learn more about this unique nutrient through word-of-mouth and published research.

According to this research, several seemingly unrelated symptoms, ranging from anxiety to learning difficulties to excessive appetite, in both animals and man, may be tied to a common biochemical condition. This condition is a deficiency of the neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin, (5-hydroxy-tryptamine or 5-HT), is a downstream metabolite in the biochemical pathway that begins with the precursor amino acid, L-tryptophan. By definition, L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that must be part of the diet because the animal body cannot manufacture its own. Once in the body, L-tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP, and from there serotonin is produced. Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome, (SDS), was first identified through studies by Poldinger et al., who noted that a majority of subjects experiencing depression, appetite insatiation, obsessive/compulsive behavior, and/or learning difficulties, or any combination of the above, in large shared the underlying condition of profound deficiency of serotonin in the brain. Although a common practice of the modern medical community is to pharmacologically alleviate symptoms associated with SDS, logic would dictate that restoration of 5-HT (serotonin) through nutritional supplementation would more aptly correct the underlying deficiency.

Recently, the first metabolite of L-tryptophan, 5-HTP, has become available in the United States under the aegis of the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA). Although 5-HTP cannot replace L-tryptophan in the diet, and, unlike L-tryptophan, is not a building block of structural and enzymatic proteins in the body, 5-HTP is one step closer to the production of serotonin, and, hence, less is typically needed to elevate serotonin levels. Typical dosages recommended by health practitioners are about one third to one fifth those previously recommended for L-tryptophan.

About the same time that L-tryptophan was removed from the market for human consumption, prescription antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) began to emerge. These SSRI’s were touted as a revolution in the correction of Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome. Basically, the SSRI’s work by taking what little serotonin might be available in a presynaptic neuron in the brain and allow it to recycle over and over again in the nerve synapse. No additional Serotonin is provided; rather, the naturally occurring reuptake of serotonin is inhibited, thus prolonging its effect on adjacent neurons. Studies by Poldinger et al., however,
established that the manufacture of new Serotonin via L-tryptophan, or 5-HTP, is probably a better and more practical solution to SDS. If one elects to make use of SSRI’s, such as Prozac and Luvox, in order to elevate Serotonin levels, however, it should be noted that if there is little utilizable serotonin available in the nerve synapse, very little will be accomplished by administering an SSRI. Furthermore, when levels of serotonin are low, higher dosages of the SSRI will be required, possibly resulting in more serious side effects.

In order to directly compare the effectiveness of SSRI’s with 5-HTP, the Poldinger study separated SDS patients into experimental treatment groups: one receiving the SSRI, Luvox, while others took 5-HTP. Symptoms were alleviated equally between the two groups, with virtually no difference being found in the alleviation of depression between Luvox and 5-HTP. But while both achieved substantial and similar benefits, Luvox recipients suffered a variety of uncomfortable side effects. An additional benefit of 5-HTP is that symptoms other than depression associated with SDS were also significantly improved. Furthermore, 5-HTP may be converted to serotonin not only in serotonergic neurons, but also in catecholaminergic neurons. Thus it may act as a “false transmitter”, and enhance different facets of neural messaging.

Another merit of 5-HTP is its ability to naturally satisfy the appetite and possibly permit weight loss. A study was conducted which linked a class of peptides called cholecystokinins (CCK’s) to serotonin production in the brain. As the amount of manufactured serotonin in the brain is increased, the release of CCK’s is induced in the duodenum where they operate as hormones. Upon reception of this stimulus, several effects occur, including intestinal and biliary smooth muscle contraction, pancreatic enzyme secretion, and ultimately appetite satiation. Studies conclude that nerve signals generated by the CCK release are sent to the brain, allowing a conscious recognition that the gut is full.

Additional research conducted by Flood and Morley, involving peripheral administration of CCK’s in rats, ascertained that the hormone also enhanced spatial memory and learning. Therefore, it can be said that 5-HTP may indirectly improve mental function and appetite control by way of serotonin inducing the release of CCK’s.

The ramifications of serotonin deficiency may turn out to be even more far-reaching than previously seen. In view of the fact that stress and depression repeatedly have been shown to adversely affect cardiac function and hypertension, a likely avenue of research would be whether hypertension and coronary disease, as well as the symptoms of SDS, may be alleviated through the administration of the serotonin precursor, 5-HTP.

Today, 5-HTP can be readily obtained as a natural plant extract from Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant grown in parts of Africa that is used as a source of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry.

Finest Grade 5-HTP

5-HTP Helps:

  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Depression

Mood disorders, sleep problems, anxiety, headaches, and/or weight problems can all result when you suffer from a deficiency of Serotonin (SDD). Clinical studies demonstrate that many individuals with SDD benefit from supplemental 5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP), usually one to three capsules per day.

Always best taken with meals, BIOS 5-HTP is the finest available… extracted in Switzerland, from wildcrafted African griffonia simplicifolia, and fully tested for impurities.Better Mood, Better Sleep, Quality Counts – and What About L-tryptophan?

5-HTP and L-tryptophan are closely related biochemically, yet for some people L-tryptophan works better. Others may receive more benefits from 5-HTP. Learn why that is so, and how to tell which is best for you.

What does it mean that 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan are closely related?

The key to the benefits of 5-HTP and L-tryptophan is a neurotransmitter called “serotonin.” An adequate supply of serotonin is often the key to relief from:

  • Mood Disorders
  • Cravings
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Sleep

If 5‑HTP and L‑tryptophan are so closely related, why do people respond so differently?

Some might mistakenly suppose that because 5-HTP is closer to serotonin, it might be more effective. Actually, the key to the benefits are more closely related to where the conversion to serotonin takes place. Since serotonin will not cross “blood-brain barrier,” a protective barrier that tightly controls what can pass from the blood to the brain, the only way to get serotonin to the brain is as 5-HTP or L-tryptophan.

Clinically, I see a wide variety of responses to 5-HTP. Some people achieve great benefits, while others receive little or none. While we do not yet have a complete answer, some recent research, at least, sheds some light on reasons for the different responses.

Major depression inhibits transport of 5-HTP across the blood-brain barrier

Recent research using PET scan technology has found that patients who have ever had major depression have impaired transport of 5-HTP across the blood-brain barrier. These patients may do better using L-tryptophan. It may be that the patients who do better with 5-HTP may have a similar impairment of transport for L-tryptophan. In either case, a clinical trial of 5-HTP vs. L-tryptophan may be the easiest way to determine what is best for you.

How does 5‑HTP help with improving mood?

Serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter of what some scientists call the “satiety center” of the brain. This part of the brain is where messages of satisfaction are received. These messages can vary greatly, and include:

  • Satisfaction with life (when a person is not satisfied with life, we typically call the person depressed)
  • Satisfaction with a meal (cravings cease, you feel satisfied)
  • 5-HTP, taken as a dietary supplement increases serotonin levels which, in turn, helps ensure proper function of the satiety center. The end result is improved mood and fewer cravings.
  • 5-HTP helps with sleep

In addition to increasing serotonin levels, 5-HTP is also a precursor molecule to melotonin, a substance with definite sleep-enhancing properties. This can help you to feel less fatigued, and since there are few things that improve mood better than a good night’s sleep, it can also help you have a brighter mood.

Works great with True B6

Since the enzymes that convert 5-HTP to serotonin require pyridoxal 5-phosphate (P5P). Supplementation with Lidtke TrueB6 (Pure P5P) can improve your results. Improve mood, reduce cravings, reduce fatigue. Try BIOS 5-HTP today!

Tryptophan and Weight Loss

It’s a familiar story, recycled again and again, all across the globe. Yet it might be too familiar to those who can’t seem to break that cycle. It sounds something like this:

Another long day, and things didn’t go quite as you hoped. A bit down in the dumps, you look for a snack. It might just be a cookie or two, a bag of chips, or some good, old-fashioned comfort food – maybe some macaroni and cheese, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or biscuits and gravy, or… You get the picture. Just a little something to “pick you up.”

Along the way, you also pick up a lot of calories, plus more carbohydrates than you really need in one meal. Alternating between bliss and guilt, you swear to yourself that it won’t happen again. At least not anytime soon!

Well, you don’t have to beat yourself up anymore. While slim advisers have been smug in their certainty that you just don’t have any willpower, researchers who specialize in biochemistry have made an amazing discovery: People who reach for carbohydrates when they are stressed, or feeling depressed, are really self-medicating.

“Stress eating is not about hunger, it’s about emotions and using food as a way to cope with those emotions,” says nutrition expert, Dr. Susan Mitchell. Mitchell has appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, CNN, and the Health Network, and is co-author of three books – Fat is Not Your Fate, I’d Kill for a Cookie and Eat to Stay Young.

Meanwhile, Judith Wurtman, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has discovered that certain foods can actually change your mood – at least temporarily – by influencing the chemicals in your brain. Along with MIT researcher Richard Wurtman, she has also proved that high-
carbohydrate meals help tryptophan rocket to your brain.

What Is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is a building block that your body uses to construct proteins for muscle, hair and skin. As an amino acid, tryptophan is absolutely essential to your survival.

Unlike plants, which can synthesize all the amino acids they need, your body cannot produce tryptophan; you must obtain it from food or supplements. Unfortunately, tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in your diet. The best sources of dietary tryptophan are high-protein foods, such as fish, eggs and dairy products. But even if you eat all those foods, they provide less than 1.5 grams of tryptophan in a single day.

It gets worse. After the tryptophan finally enters your body, it’s still an ordeal to transport the chemical inside your brain. That’s because of the vigilant blood brain barrier, which constantly guards against intruders. Nutrients must be screened, then ferried across the barrier by transport molecules, much like a group of commuters who cram into a single cab.

While this barrier protects your brain against toxins, it also requires tryptophan to ride along with five other amino acids (tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, leucine and isoleucine). Thus, tryptophan is often out-numbered as it competes for transportation into the brain. That means your brain receives less than one percent of all the dietary tryptophan that you manage to ingest!

Surprisingly, the only dietary strategy that increases the supply of tryptophan to your brain is a high-carbohydrate diet. When your body secretes large amounts of insulin to lower your blood sugar – as when you eat a lot of carbohydrates – the insulin also removes most of the competing amino acids.

Essentially, insulin clears the way – as if laying down a red carpet – so that tryptophan can reach your brain more effectively. This preferential treatment comes at a high price, however, since insulin also enhances the conversion of fats and carbohydrates into stored body fat.

Luckily, there is another solution. L-tryptophan is available as an inexpensive supplement, so that you can easily increase your levels of this essential amino acid… Without reaching for another cookie!

How Does Tryptophan Work?

When the Wurtmans discovered the connection between food and mood, they determined that sugar and starch in carbohydrate-laden foods can boost “serotonin,” another powerful chemical in your brain. An organic compound, serotonin promotes feelings of well-being, calm, relaxation, confidence and security. Additionally, serotonin is needed to induce and maintain sleep.

Tryptophan is a “precursor” for serotonin, which means your body uses a series of chemical reactions to convert tryptophan into the serotonin it needs. (Enzymes convert the tryptophan to serotonin, which scientists call 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT. Then the 5-HT is transported into cells.) Thus an increase in L-tryptophan tends to increase brain serotonin production, even in individuals who generate very little serotonin on their own.

In turn, the serotonin regulates your mood. This explains why carbohydrate abuse is common among overweight individuals. They are instinctively trying to elevate their mood by loading up on high-carbohydrate snacks.

Coincidentally, the anti-depressant called Prozac – as well as drugs such as Paxil and Zoloft – attempt to enhance serotonin levels in your nervous system by blocking chemicals that remove serotonin. (These drugs are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.) Since tryptophan does not have the side effects of many drugs, this naturally occurring amino acid is a simple and effective alternative to SSRI drugs.

According to James South, author of L-tryptophan – Nature’s Answer to Prozac, this is definitely a case where less is more. “The lowest tryptophan dose that successfully alleviates serotonin-deficiency symptoms is the most effective,” South says. The resulting serotonin, he adds, “counterbalances obsessive-compulsive actions and over-eating,” especially carbohydrates.

South does advocate supplementing low or moderate tryptophan doses with certain B vitamins. Similarly, research by Eric Braverman and Carl Pfeiffer, authors of the book The Healing Nutrients Within: Facts, Findings and New Research on Amino Acids, suggests that amino acids such as L-tryptophan – along with vitamins B6 and Niacinamide (vitamin B3) – can alter the brain’s biochemistry, thus prompting positive changes in behavior. (L-tryptophan helps produce Niacin and other B vitamins. Similarly, B6 activates the enzyme that converts 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan to serotonin.)

But is tryptophan truly effective? You bet, says Dr. Elisa S. Lottor, of Pacifica Women’s Health Care in Los Angeles. The California nutritionist says L-tryptophan really works well for her patients with eating disorders. She relates the experiences of one overweight patient, whom she describes as “highly compulsive about watching her weight.” “A note just arrived,” says Dr. Lottor, “And the woman wrote that she loves what I’ve done to help her lower and maintain her weight.”

Tryptophan and Dieting

Scientists now understand that traditional dieting can actually hinder weight loss, because it reduces tryptophan and serotonin levels. Study after study links diets with low levels of serotonin. For instance, Barbara Wolfe, Eran Metzger, and Carol Stollar – of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital – determined that dieting behavior diminishes the body’s ability to synthesize serotonin.

Among its other attributes, serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is associated with satiation, or how much you must eat until you are satisfied. “Neurotransmitters are like cell phones,” explains nutritionist Catherine Christie. These “chemical messengers” transmit information from cell-to-cell, whether inside your brain, or from your brain to other parts of your body.

When we eat various foods, Christie says, “these chemicals can change our mood or performance.” In fact, scientists say that low levels of certain neurotransmitters – particularly serotonin – can cause depression. Serotonin deficiency has also been implicated in cases of obesity, as it is associated with the brain’s perception of hunger and satiation.

A University of Oxford study determined that low-calorie diets significantly reduce plasma tryptophan, or tryptophan levels in the blood. The researchers noticed that this reduction was especially heightened in women.

“Women may be more sensitive to changes in serotonin than men,” explains food/mood specialist Christie. When estrogen levels fall, serotonin levels can also drop. “We postulate that this drop is why women crave carbohydrates during the menstrual cycle. If serotonin levels fall, appetite increases, particularly for carbohydrates.” She reports that dieting women often experience “carbohydrate craving and reported weight gain. This may also be related to changes in serotonin,” she said.

The Oxford scientists also determined that dieting reduces tryptophan’s ability to “compete” against other amino acids for passage to the brain. South agrees with those studies: “Eating a high-protein diet worsens the problem; it increases the intake of the five competing amino acids.”

While it’s bad enough that a serotonin deficiency can sabotage your diet, it’s even scarier to understand the implications to your emotional health. Oxford scientists Katharine Smith, Clare Williams, and Philip Cowen studied women who were recovering from depression, and how those women were affected by dieting-induced tryptophan depletion.
The researchers proved that women with a history of depression are especially sensitive to the mood-lowering effects of acute tryptophan depletion (caused by dieting). In fact, Smith, Williams and Cowen determined that low levels of tryptophan can actually cause a relapse of acute depression!

Nada Stotland, of the American Psychiatric Association, expresses concern about such findings that dieting itself may trigger the recurrence of depression. “Both depression and obesity are prevalent among women,” says Stotland, and “given the value society places on being thin, a large population who have experienced depressive illness may be attempting to diet.”

Tryptophan – Your Dieting Supplement

We’ve seen that most dieting behavior lowers your levels of tryptophan, causing a deficiency in serotonin levels. This means that dieting can make you cranky and obsessive, to the point where you think of nothing but food. (Sound familiar?) Yet we know that the food-mood response is short-term, and carbohydrate binges have long-term implications that we want to avoid.

So what’s the solution? The only reliable way to increase brain tryptophan – and your serotonin levels – is with dietary supplements. Unlike tryptophan that is obtained from a food source, concentrated tryptophan supplements can compete against other amino acids, so plenty of tryptophan can cross into the brain. Consider the natural supplement, L-Tryptophan, which boosts your serotonin levels, without the risks that are associated with prescription drugs.

But remember that not all L-tryptophan is made the same way. For instance, medical researcher Morton Walker says he is concerned that “a flood of inferior ingredients is pouring into our country, from unmonitored manufacturing plants around the world.” Stuart Freedenfeld, medical director of the Stockton Family Practice in New Jersey, agrees. Freedenfeld says he only uses L-Tryptophan from Lidtke Technologies, citing their “high standards of quality.”

Only Lidtke Technologies produces L-Tryptophan that is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Not only do Lidtke Technologies’ products exceed all European and United States Pharmacopeia standards, they are Kosher, pyrogen-free, and free of EBT.

Using L-tryptophan is also endorsed by numerous scientific studies. A Princeton microdialysis study of serotonin and ingestive behavior determined that tryptophan increases extracellular serotonin in the hypothalamus. (The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates body temperature and certain metabolic processes, including satiety and feeding reward.)

Similarly, Jason C.G. Halford and John Blundell, of the University of Liverpool, determined that serotonin helps control satiation both during and after meals. “Hypothalamic 5-HT receptor systems inhibit neuropeptide Y (NPY),” they said, “a potent stimulator of hunger and food intake.” (NPY is an amino acid neurotransmitter.)

John Blundell and AJ Hill also studied how serotonin helps regulate eating patterns. The scientists at the University of Leeds demonstrated that 5-HT not only helped their patients reduce the size of their meals, but also curtailed the rate at which they ate.

So talk to your doctor for ideas about a healthy diet and a sensible exercise routine. And instead of reaching for that cookie, grab a bottle of L-tryptophan and consider the words of Dr. Mitchell: “Healthy living and eating is not about deprivation, where the word ‘diet’ takes on a new meaning – drop the ‘t,’ and you feel like you’re going to die!”

The Restoration of L‑Tryptophan With Its Numerous Physiological Benefits

by Morton Walker, DPM

It is therapeutic for illnesses relating to serotonin deficiencies including depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis, neuropathies, estrogen/progesterone imbalance, premenstrual syndrome, alcoholism, carbohydrate addiction, plus other mental and emotional difficulties. This amino acid’s effectiveness for insomnia is relatively high as well.

Use of L‑Tryptophan Therapy for Insomnia by Abram Ber, MD

“I am personally using L‑Tryptophan to relieve insomnia, which for over two decades has been a source of health difficulty for me,” says Abram Ber, MD, of Scottsdale, Arizona. “Tens of millions of Americans suffer from insomnia today, which was not the case when I began medical practice 25 years ago. It’s no longer a problem of elderly people but does present itself in all age groups, most likely resulting from electromagnetic pollution coupled with heavy metal poisoning. Electromagnetic toxicity is getting worse because of cellular telephone towers, wireless telephones, TV satellite dishes, and other electronic devices of convenience. A major epidemic in which people are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, I call their condition “malignant insomnia.”

“At the present time, there is no prohibition against the sale of L‑Tryptophan as a dietary supplement.”

– Pat Hallman, N.M.D.

“L‑Tryptophan is a primary therapeutic agent for my patients with malignant insomnia. The most effective brand of this amino acid is the product packaged and distributed by Lidtke Technologies. I’ve witnessed absolutely no adverse effects from use of it. Of all the items I’ve dispensed for the treatment of insomnia, including melatonin, calcium, magnesium, herbs such as valerian, only the Lidtke Technologies brand of L‑Tryptophan works well because of its carefully controlled quality.Melatonin fails to be a major player for insomnia relief because of its variable side effects such as nightmares and a lingering grogginess after some fitful sleep,” continues Dr. Ber. “The electrodermal testing I perform routinely indicates that of the 15 different components used by me against this sleep disorder, L‑Tryptophan turns out a winner nearly every time. This food supplement brings about benefits for a minimum of one in three patients to whom I dispense it. While a 33.33% statistic of success may seem

A Winner

“L‑Tryptophan turns out to be a winner every time.”

– Abram Ber, M.D.

unimpressive, my wish is to avoid the several adverse side effects from prescribing sleep-producing drugs such as Ativan® and Ambien®. “Most insomniacs need to take two capsules of 500 mg L‑Tryptophan just before retiring. The 1000 mg-dosage works, and any higher dosage does not seem to produce any better sleep result,” states Dr. Ber. “This is the evening amount I take myself. I have dozens of patients who acquire L‑Tryptophan from my dispensary. Moreover, patients sometimes combine L‑Tryptophan in a kind of synergistic ‘cocktail’ with melatonin, magnesium, or some other sleep-inducing nutrient.”

Insomnia Studies Using L‑Tryptophan

A series of published clinical journal articles beginning in 1974 pointed out that the extent of sleep latency (length of time to fall asleep) could be significantly reduced by taking as little as 1000 mg of L‑Tryptophan per day. Nine experiments conducted at the Sleep and Dream Labortatory in Boston showed that insomnia is eliminated when blood plasma levels are elevated by L‑Tryptophan nutritional supplementation.1-4

Unlike hypnotics, this amino acid produces no distortions in sleep physiology either when it’s first administered or on long-term administration or after withdrawal. L‑Tryptophan induces sleep best when accompanied by small doses of niacinamide (the amide of vitamin B3) or pyridoxine (vitamin B6). They tend to increase the incidence of REM or dream sleep. In fact, both L‑Tryptophan and niacinamide metabolism are metabolically dependent on vitamin B6.5

L‑Tryptophan metabolism involves a hydroxylase enzyme which also starts the conversion of tyrosine, phenylalanine, and the other amino acids to neuro-transmitters. Dietary intake of L‑Tryptophan directly influences the amount of serotonin in the plasma, brain and throughout the entire body so that neurotransmission more readily takes place.6

Low dose melatonin ranging from 0.5 mg to 1 mg combined with L‑Tryptophan taken at 500 mg to 1500 mg is known to be effective for providing relief for those with serious insomnia.7

Carol Van Zelst Cites L‑Tryptophan Benefits for those with Mental/Emotional Difficulties

The administrator of natural medicine at the Anew Skin & Wellness Center in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Carol Van Zelst, PhD, MS, FD (Functional Diagnostic Medicine), advises that her patients benefit from taking L‑Tryptophan for their mental / emotional problems. “For three years I have been utilizing L‑Tryptophan as therapy for increasing levels of serotonin…in disorders of the mind and emotions. This nutrient is useful for helping a patient overcome various illnesses connected to serotonin deficiency syndrome such as manic depression, obsessive compulsion, insomnia, mood suppression, and nutritional deficiencies to the gut,” states Dr. Van Zelst.

“For instance, I was visited by a 28-year-old woman, a music teacher, who before she consulted me had attempted suicide five times. I did specific testing of the patient’s urine, stools, and saliva to exactly determine which nutrients she was deficient in,” Dr. Van Zelst explains. “From amino acid testing of her urine I discovered that the music

“SSRI’s do not replace the essential amino acid, L‑Tryptophan .”

– Pat Hallman, N.M.D.

teacher’s level of L‑Tryptophan was almost nonexistent. Then, in reviewing her medications, as reported by the attending physician, I learned that this young woman had been prescribed lithium. Now, it has been well established that lithium prescribed in the presence of physiologically absent L‑Tryptophan tends to increase one’s tendency to commit suicide.

“For the patient’s safety, I did tell her about the danger she was in; thereafter, her lithium dosage was eliminated and with other nutrients, 1000 mg of L‑Tryptophan was prescribed to her,” affirms Dr. Van Zelst. “Within three weeks this woman improved remarkably. She returned to working full time, performed well in a functioning job with the local symphony orchestra, found a boyfriend, and has remained productive, happy and healthy for over two years.

“Working with L‑Tryptophan as a main therapy has been a golden pursuit for me,” Dr. Van Zelst says. “While employing L‑Tryptophan therapy, I recommend taking niacin, pyridoxine, and glutamine to develop the patient’s normal physiological metabolism of L‑Tryptophan. It’s standard procedure for me, and I see excellent responses from patients right away. Any symptoms of serotonin deficiency syndrome are overcome this way.

“Also, L‑Tryptophan with taurine and tyrosine in combination has been a godsend for Parkinson’s Disease patients. Taking L‑Tryptophan, patients affected by neurological tremors experience nearly total elimination of their tremors. Such results have me completely enthusiastic about use of this amino acid,” says Dr. Carol Van Zelst. “I have never experienced a single negative side effect from L‑Tryptophan by any patient. For that health professional who wants to aid his or her patient, this is the number one product to use.”

The Psychobiology of Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome

Existing as among the most common and widespread disorders of human psychobiology in Western industrialized countries, Serotonin DeficiencySyndrome (SDS) manifests as a broad array of emotional and behavioral problems. Such problems include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, obsessive-compulsive actions, fear, anger, over-arousal, violence, aggression, and the inclination to commit suicide as occurred with Dr. Van Zelst’s patient. A chronic deficit of serotonin in the nerves that use it as their neurotransmitter is the pathology.

Dysfunctional L‑Tryptophan metabolism or L‑Tryptophan deficiency are the primary sources of SDS. Of all the 22 amino acids, L‑Tryptophan is one of the eight essentials that must be acquired from food or nutritional supplements. A person’s usual diet of animal- or vegetable-based protein provides an average of just 1.25 grams per day of this essential amino acid – not quite enough for many individuals suffering from sleep or mood disorders. It is the least plentiful of all 22 amino acids.

Taking L‑Tryptophan as a nutritional supplement is the most natural and effective means of increasing the brain’s serotonin production.

Should It be L‑Tryptophan or 5-HTP?

After the tragedy of contaminated L‑Tryptophan brought on by Showa Denko K.K. in 1989,8-11 it was believed that another precursor for serotonin would be a viable substitute. The health professional community and nutrient distributors who supply it turned to 5-Hydroxy-L-TryptoPhan (5-HTP) as the alternative supplement. In fact, the 5-HTP has been effective therapy for some, but according to Joan Mathews Larson PhD, author of the book, Depression Free Naturally, 5-HTP has been somewhat troubling as a therapeutic agent. Because it bypasses the body and brain’s regulatory control mechanisms, 5-HTP may put patients at risk for the same heart-valve problems caused by the pharmaceutical diet drug Fen-Phen®. As with 5-HTP, Fen-Phen® also promotes uncontrolled creation of serotonin. L‑Tryptophan, unlike 5-HTP, is an essential amino-acid, which the body also uses to create proteins, vitamins (niacin), and enzymes. L‑Tryptophan can be readily converted to 5-HTP as needed, but 5-HTP is no substitute for L‑Tryptophan.

Since research has shown that 5-HTP is poorly absorbed across the blood-brain barrier in patients who have ever had major depression (See Diagram 1) these individuals would more likely respond to treatment with L‑Tryptophan than to 5-HTP.

Uncontrolled or excess serotonin levels can also be a factor in an illness related to the overabundance of serotonin, known as Serotonin Syndrome (SS). Though serotonin syndrome can occur with any substance that manipulates serotonin levels, the greatest risk for SS occurs in patients taking MonoAmine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitors which produce an antidepressant effect. Thus MAO inhibitors should be strictly avoided in combination with any prescription or natural depression therapy such as Tryptophan. To reduce the risk of SS, other natural or pharmaceutical antidepressants should only be combined with the approval and close supervision of the patient’s health-care provider.

Experience with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

The lead author of Healing Nutrients Within,12 Eric Braverman, MD, is Medical Director of the Place for Achieving Total Health (PATH) Medical Inc., located in New York City. Dr. Braverman uses L‑Tryptophan therapy for relieving serotonin deficiency syndrome and L‑Tryptophan depletion syndrome. “Whenever I might employ Zoloft®, Paxil®, Prozac®, or other SSRI’s [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors], my preferred product of choice is to substitute the nutrient, L‑Tryptophan,” says Dr. Braver-man. “And I succeed with the patient as indicated by blood level tests for L‑Tryptophan. If I find an imbalance from mapping a person’s brain and do observe that the workings of its left and right sides are uncoordinated, a tryptophan deficiency becomes recognizable as the pathology. Therefore, my prescribing an SSRI becomes unnecessary.”

(Please note: See Diagram 2 which shows that the SSRI’s decrease serotonin levels in the brain over time and cause this neurotransmitter’s receptors to atrophy. In contrast to the actions of SSRI conventional drugs, L‑Tryptophan increases serotonin levels and enhances the number of serotonin receptors.)

As Medical Director of the Stockton Family Practice in Stockton, New Jersey, Stuart Freedenfeld, MD, says, “For treating depression, anxiety syndrome, serotonin deficiency, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia, I use quite a bit of the Lidtke Technologies L‑Tryptophan. I see excellent results from it. I generally start dosing at 1500 mg daily and go up to 3 grams a day or even higher. Since it is costly because of Lidtke’s high standards of quality, I try to keep the dosage down out of consideration for my patient’s pocketbook. And the reduced dose seems to do as good a job as the more elevated dosage.

“My preference is to dispense L‑Tryptophan, not for insomnia alone but only when this condition is associated with anxiety, depression, or some other mental dysfunction,” says Dr. Freedenfeld. “Because there is more serotonin made in the gastrointestinal tract than in the brain, my observation is that irritable bowel syndrome responds very well to L‑Tryptophan. It calms down the anxious and irritable bowel.

“My patient’s symptoms were eliminated by his taking L‑Tryptophan instead of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)”

– Stuart Freedenfeld, M.D.

“After visiting lots of other doctors, a 55-year-old male patient consulted me. He reported numbers of symptoms such as loss of libido, nightmares, and a sense of being drugged from taking prescribed SSRI’s,” Dr. Freedenfeld says. “Subsequently, my substituting L‑Tryptophan for the patient to take, returned him to once again feeling like his old self. My patient’s symptoms were eliminated by his taking L‑Tryptophan instead of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.”

Naturopathic Physicians Enjoy Using L‑Tryptophan

Naturopathic physicians, Alan Christianson, PhD, ND, Medical Director of Integrative Health Care in Scottsdale, Arizona and Pat Hallman, NMD, describe their success in using L‑Tryptophan therapy with their patients.

Dr. Pat Hallman confirms: “L‑Tryptophan is the precursor for serotonin, a shortage of which leads to a variety of neuro-transmitter illnesses including clinical depression, insomnia, anxiety, aggression, and a lack of satiety or “fullness” in overeating disorders. SSRI drugs, on the other hand, force serotonin to remain in contact with its neural receptor. Over time, receptors decrease and SSRI’s can cease to be effective. In contrast, L‑Tryptophan brings about an increase in serotonin recirculation. It’s enjoyable to see this happen, for the patient then thrives over time.Dr. Alan Christianson states: “Because it is exceedingly helpful for treating starch cravings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and for those patients with markers indicating low Tryptophan levels, I prescribe the Lidtke Technologies L‑Tryptophan product. My patient, Alice P., age 16, had suffered with bulimia and took lots of different antidepressants as treatment. Nothing helped. I performed an amino acid test and followed up with a separate dosing using L‑Tryptophan. Four months later she exhibited a remarkable improvement. The young woman’s food binges had reduced substantially and weight was stabilized at normal for her. Such good results make it very enjoyable to utilize L‑Tryptophan in this manner.”

Better Sleep

“She finally agreed to try L‑Tryptophan and by the fourth night was ‘sleeping better then I have in years.'”

– Pat Hallman, N.M.D.

“I usually recommend that insomnia patients start with one capsule an hour before bed and increase the dose if needed. This works well for most patients, but some have to experiment with other amounts and time of day. A computer programmer, for example, who drinks tea to keep alert during his late-hour shift found that swishing the L‑Tryptophan powder in his mouth helped him fall asleep more quickly,” says Dr. Pat Hallman in his concluding remarks. “One patient’s wife spent a year trying different drugs for sleep without success. She finally agreed to try L‑Tryptophan and by the fourth night was, ‘sleeping better than I have in years.’”“Many of my patients need relief from the side effects of prescription antidepressants, which include anxiety, fatigue, and even seizures,” Dr. Hallman continues. “Food avoidance is a problem with taking the SSRI’s, and food cravings are troublesome with the tricyclics. Some also complain that the prescription drugs that once helped no longer work. An effective therapy for mood disorders includes L‑Tryptophan with P5P, the active form of B6; niacin, and in some patients, melatonin. A few patients have commented: ‘Tryptophan doesn’t fatigue you,’ ‘Never any side effects occur,’ and ‘It worked so well I bought some for my neighbor.’

Tryptophan for Eating and Digestive Disorders

California naturopath, Elisa S. Lottor, PhD, ND, conducts her nutrition practice at Pacifica Women’s Health Care in Los Angeles. Dr. Lottor, author of Female and Forgetful, published in 2001 by Warner Books, describes the success she experiences from using L‑Tryptophan for a variety of patients’ health difficulties. She states: “I do feel excitement using L‑Tryptophan for patients with eating disorders such as bulimics and anorexics plus digestive problems including GI problems like acid reflux and gastric ulcers. L‑Tryptophan really works well for these conditions.

“A note just arrived from one of my eating disorder patients who is highly compulsive about watching her weight which had been rising steadily. I put her on tryptophan, and the woman wrote that she loves what I’ve done to help her lower and maintain her weight,” says Dr. Elisa Lottor.

Loves Lower Weight

“I put her on tryptophan, and the woman wrote that she loves what I’ve done to help her lower and maintain her weight.”

– Elisa Lotter, Ph.D., N.D.

A Cautionary Note Regarding the Quality Control of Supplements

One of the most serious problems facing the nutrition industry today is the fact that a flood of inferior ingredients is pouring into our country and into nutritional supplements from unmonitored manufacturing plants around the world. Raw materials from these com-panies typically cost a fraction of the price of nutrients produced by established and responsible “high-end” manufacturers. The dangerous part is that manufacturing plants in developing regions of the world sometimes exercise the same primitive level of quality control that Showa Denko exercised when it became responsible for contaminating L‑Tryptophan about fourteen years ago. There are extremely high-quality products available, but now, just as then, some supplement producers – pressured by the marketplace – often seek out the cheapest raw materials and take the position that someone else will have to pay if there is a problem.

Samples of nutrients received from “cheap” manufacturers are often badly contaminated with organic solvents used in the manufacturing process. These Organic Volatile Impurities (OVI’s) include solvents such as acetone, toluene, hexane, and ether.

Although there are many steps a health professional or consumer can take to ensure the safety and quality of one’s nutritional supplements, your chances are better if:

  • Your supplement manufacturer does business with the most respected (and usually most expensive) producers/suppliers of raw materials.
  • Your supplement manufacturer tests every batch of ingredients that comes through their door.
  • Your supplement manufacturer employs the most advanced techniques and reference standards for identifying impurities.
  • Your supplement manufacturer utilizes clean facilities and well-trained personnel in the encapsulation and bottling processes. You would be amazed how many companies are lax in this regard, with the unnecessary handling and exposure to contaminants of food supplements.

Perhaps the most important factor that drives manufacturers to cut corners is the economic pressure placed on them by consumers. When consumers rush in droves to purchase their supplements at discount prices, the entire industry is forced, as a matter of survival, to follow the whims of the consumer. Thus, through your purchasing power and vigilance, there are many ways that consumers can signal manufacturers to adhere to quality standards.


For more information about a highly purified L‑Tryptophan, USP at 500 mg per capsule in containers of 60 servings or 120 servings, please visit the Lidtke website, Lidtke products are distributed by BIOS Biochemicals Corp., 800-404-8185 or 480-858-0502; Fax: 480-858-0547; email: [email protected]


  1. Hartmann, E. L‑Tryptophan: A rational hypnotic with clinical potential. American Journal of Psychiatry 134:4, April 1977.
  2. Hartmann, E. L‑Tryptophan as an hypnotic agent: a review Waking and Sleeping 1:155-161, 1977.
  3. Hartmann, E. and Spinweber, C.L. Sleep induced by L‑Tryptophan: effect of dosages within the normal dietary intake.Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 167(8)d, 1979.
  4. Wurtman, R.J.; Hefti, F.; Melamed, E. Precursor control of neurotransmitter synthesis. Pharmacological Reviews 32(4):315-330, 1981.
  5. South, J. L‑Tryptophan: nature’s answer to Prozac. International Antiaging Systems, 2002, p. 6.
  6. Ibid, p. 2.
  7. Herrera R, Manjarrez G, Nishimura E, Hernandez J. Serotonin-related tryptophan in children with insulin-dependent diabetes.Pediatric Neurology 2003 Jan;28(1):20-3
  8. Smith KA, Williams C, Cowen PJ. Impaired regulation of brain serotonin function during dieting in women recovered from depression. British Journal of Psychiatry 2000 Jan;176:72-5
  9. Maes M, etal. Serotonin-immune interactions in major depression: lower serum tryptophan as a marker of an immune-inflammatory response. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience 1997;247(3):154-61
  10. Agren H, etal. Low brain uptake of L-[11C]5-hydroxytryptophan in major depression: a positron emission tomography study on patients and healthy volunteers.; Acta Psychiatr Scand 1991 Jun;83(6):449-55
  11. Braverman, E. Healing Nutrients Within, Third Edition (New York City: Basic Books, 2003).

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2003 issue of the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.

Used with permission

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