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Drug Interactions

L-tryptophan can interact with several medications (see L-Tryptophan Drug Interactions).

What If I Take an Overdose?

People who take too much L-tryptophan could experience several different problems, including serotonin syndrome (a dangerous group of symptoms associated with the use of drugs or supplements that affect serotonin levels), eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), or any of the usual side effects of L-tryptophan.
If you think you may have taken too much, seek immediate medical attention.
(Click Tryptophan Overdose for more information.)

How Does L-Tryptophan Work?

L-tryptophan is an amino acid, which is important for building proteins. The body also uses it to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in depression and anxiety. The body also uses it to make niacin (a vitamin) and melatonin (a hormone).

Is It Still Available?

Despite what you may read on the Internet, L-tryptophan is not currently "banned" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For a while in the early 1990s, the supplements were banned in the United States due to safety concerns, but changes in the laws during 1994 allowed for their reintroduction. According to one law, known as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, manufacturers of supplements do not need FDA approval before marketing their products and do not need to prove that their products are safe. This is why L-tryptophan supplements are once again available (it is not because they have ever been shown to be safe).
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L-Tryptophan Supplements

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